Dog Bites Our Team Can Stand Up for You

Charleston Dog Bite Lawyer

Fighting For Dog Attack Victims in South Carolina

If you or someone you love were bitten, attacked, and/or injured by a dog, you may have grounds to seek legal action and a financial recovery of your damages.

South Carolina has important laws for injuries caused by dogs and creates powerful protections for victims looking to hold dog owners liable. However, dog bite lawsuits can make for complex and contentious cases, as dog owners and insurance companies often work to dispute claims and avoid paying victims. As such, enlisting the support of experienced attorneys like those at CR Legal Team can help you better navigate these challenges and position yourself for a positive outcome.

CR Legal Team is a nationally recognized trial practice with a passion for fighting on behalf of victims who’ve suffered harm and losses through no fault of their own. Backed by decades of experience, our Charleston dog bite attorneys can evaluate your options for legal action and discuss what we can do to fight for the compensation you deserve.

Have questions about a dog bite lawsuit anywhere in Charleston County or the state of South Carolina? CR Legal Team can help. Call at (866) 691-0607 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

South Carolina Dog Bite Laws

Every year, millions of Americans are attacked and injured by dogs. Often, these victims suffer considerable pain and suffering, and significant losses caused by medical bills and missed income. In the most serious cases, including attacks against children, the consequences can be devastating.

Fortunately, there are laws in South Carolina governing the liability of people who own dogs that bite and injure others. Here are some key details about South Carolina’s dog bite laws:

  • Strict Liability. In South Carolina, dog bite laws are governed by a “strict liability” doctrine, which means that a dog owner can be held liable if their dog bites someone, regardless of the dog's past behavior or the owner’s knowledge of its viciousness. In some states, owners are required to have knowledge about a dog’s aggressive behavior or a previous attack. This doesn’t apply in South Carolina.
  • When It Applies. Strict liability under South Carolina’s dog bite law is not limited to bites. It includes any instance where a dog’s behavior causes injury. This means that if a dog knocks someone over, scratches a person, or chases someone and an injury results, the owner might still be held liable.
  • Public or Private Place. In South Carolina, dog owners are responsible for maintaining control of their pets in both public spaces and on their private property. This means that owners can he held liable for bites and injuries that occur in a public place (such as a sidewalk or park) or while a victim was lawfully in a private place (such as when a person or even a contracted worker has been invited onto private property).
  • Comparative Negligence. Comparative negligence is a legal concept that might reduce or eliminate compensation if the injured party is found to share some responsibility for the incident. In South Carolina, if the victim is less than 50% responsible for the bite, they may still recover some damages, though this amount will be reduced according to their degree of fault. As such, it’s important for victims to work with legal counsel capable of handling any arguments raised by insurers regarding their alleged comparative negligence.

What Do I Need to Prove to Win a Dog Bite Lawsuit?

Because of the strict liability standard in South Carolina’s dog bite laws, you don’t need to prove an owner’s knowledge or negligence. Instead, you only need to prove the following:

  1. You were bitten by the dog.
  2. You were in a public place or lawfully on private property when the bite occurred.
  3. You did not provoke the dog.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Lawsuits in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, civil lawsuits are subject to a statute of limitations. If you have a potential case, it’s important to know the statute of limitations that applies, as failing to file a claim before the statute of limitations expires will result in you forfeiting the right to seek compensation.

Generally, the statute of limitations for dog bit lawsuits is three years from the date of the injury. In some cases, the statute of limitations may be different. This is true when victims are minor children, as the statute of limitations will be tolled (or delayed) until the child turns 18. There are other circumstances that may affect the statute of limitations or procedures required for filing as well, such as when claims are brought against government entities.

Because timely legal action is vital after a dog bit injury, you should seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Not only will prompt legal attention give you the best chance of filing a claim within the statute of limitations, but it can also help your attorney engage in meaningful investigations and gather evidence and secure witness testimonies while they are fresh.

Compensation For Dog Bite Victims

Victims of dog bites and attacks are entitled to a financial recovery of their resulting losses. Depending on the facts of a case, this can include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Costs associated with reconstructive surgery
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lasting disabilities or disfigurement
  • Lost income and future earnings
  • Other economic and non-economic losses

Fighting Back Against Dog Bite Defenses

Often, a dog owner's homeowner's insurance policy will cover liabilities associated with dog bites. But just as in the case of car accidents where insurers aggressively defend claims brought against their policyholders, homeowner’s insurance companies are also keen on paying as little as they possibly can.

As corporations that value profits more than people, these insurance companies are motivated to protect their bottom lines and will often engage in efforts to dispute claims, assign fault to victims, and do whatever else necessary in their attempts to deny and underpay.

At CR Legal Team, it’s our job to help clients level the playing field with powerful insurers and take the necessary steps toward building strong and compelling cases that give them the best chances for recovering the maximum compensation possible. In many cases, this requires us to fight back against some of the most raised defenses, including:

  • Trespassing. Because South Carolina’s dog bite law does not apply to individuals who are trespassing, owners and insurers may argue that victims were not lawfully on private property when an attack occurred. Defeating this defense will require a close investigation into where an attack took place and what the victim – whether they were a private person or a contractor – was doing at the time.
  • Provocation. Insurers and dog owners may argue that victims contributed in some way to their own injuries, usually because they provoked a dog in some way. Overcoming this defense will require victims to show that their actions were not provoking (i.e. taunting a dog, injuring it, or entering its space in a threatening manner) and that they did not negligently contribute to the attack.
  • Non-Coverage / Exemptions. There may be situations where defendants and insurers argue that strict liability does not apply, such as when a dog was working in a professional capacity (i.e. as a police dog). When these defenses are contended, a qualified attorney can evaluate the circumstances surrounding the incident and the prevailing facts to help victims assess their options.

Steps to Take After a Dog Bite or Dog Attack

If you’re bitten by a dog in South Carolina, it’s important to:

  • Seek Medical Attention. Get immediate medical attention for your injuries. This will ensure you receive the care you need and that you have documentation of your injuries.
  • Collect Information. Collect contact information from witnesses and the dog's owner. If you can, take photos of your injuries and the location of the attack.
  • Report the Incident. Report the incident to local animal control or law enforcement. This will help provide a record of the event from a neutral third party, which can prove beneficial should you choose to pursue a claim.
  • Cooperate with Authorities. Animal control officers may investigate the incident, which may involve interviewing witnesses, assessing the dog's behavior, and verifying vaccination records. Cooperate fully with authorities and provide any requested information or assistance.
  • Consult a Lawyer. If you’ve been injured in a dog attack, a qualified lawyer with experience handling dog bite lawsuits in South Carolina can evaluate your legal options and get you started on the path toward compensation. This includes handling all communications with the defendant and their insurance carrier, conducting investigations, and gathering evidence to support your claim.

Request a FREE Case Evaluation: (866) 691-0607

Dog bite lawsuits make for unique and challenging cases, and not every personal injury attorney has the experience or resources to effectively handle them.

At CR Legal Team, we’ve amassed a wealth of insight into South Carolina’s dog bite laws and have represented many victims who were bitten, attacked, and injured by dogs since opening our practice in 1989. If you have questions about your rights and options, our Charleston dog bite injury attorneys have what it takes to help.

CR Legal Team is backed by a record of success that includes millions of dollars in compensation recoveries and numerous testimonials from satisfied clients. Learn how we can help you by calling (866) 691-0607 or contacting us online.

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If you've been injured and would like legal help, call 1-800-288-1LAW today, or fill out the form below and we'll get back to you.

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