According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the U.S., and one in five bites becomes infected.
Add to that number the people who are attacked, but not bitten, by dogs...
Dog attacks that result in a person being knocked down, knocked off a bicycle, or a motorcycle crash also result in serious injuries and the dog's owner is still liable for the damage even though there was no bite.
I Was Attacked by a Dog, What Now?
If you are attacked by a dog:
- Seek medical care immediately;
- Take care to avoid infection;
- File a police report;
- Call your local animal services so DHEC can investigate the attack;
- Take photos of the location of the attack and of your injuries;
- Write down the contact information of any witnesses; and
- Contact an attorney immediately.
If you were injured by a dog bite or dog attack in SC, the owner (or custodian) may be responsible for any damages caused by the dog. Your personal injury attorney will help you to determine who is at fault and how to collect damages from them.
South Carolina Dog Law
South Carolina law requires dog owners to keep their animals under control.
When a dog is not on the owner's property, it must be leashed. When a dog owner does not meet these requirements and their dog injures someone, they can be held accountable.
In South Carolina, dog owners can be held liable for damage caused by their dog when the victim is in a public place or "lawfully in a private place." This includes the property of the dog owner if the victim was there lawfully.
South Carolina has strict liability for dog attacks, which means the owner of a dog is liable for injuries caused by an attack even if the owner did not know or could not have known the dog would attack.
SC dog bite laws apply not only to bites but to any situation in which a person is "otherwise attacked" by a dog. If a dog chases you while you are riding a bicycle and you fall, the dog's owner can be held liable. If you are walking on the sidewalk and a dog jumps on you and knocks you down, you can seek compensation from the dog's owner.
Defenses to Dog Bite Lawsuits in SC
A dog owner has no liability if the person who was attacked provoked or harassed the dog. So, if you were attacked after you kicked your neighbor's dog, or poked him repeatedly with a stick, the dog's owner can claim that you provoked the animal and caused the attack.
Also, if you are trespassing on someone's property, the dog owner may not be liable.
Myrtle Beach SC Dog Bite Lawyer
South Carolina's dog bite laws are more favorable to the plaintiff than some other states, and most dog bite victims have a good chance of being compensated by the dog owner or their insurance.
If you were attacked by a dog in the Myrtle Beach or Rock Hill areas, schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach dog bite lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.