Dog Bite Lawyers in Myrtle Beach, SC
If you have been attacked by a dog in SC, the Myrtle Beach dog bite attorneys at Axelrod & Associates are here to help you recover the maximum compensation you are entitled to under SC law.
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.
The owners or caretakers of animals in SC or property owners may be liable for injuries that are caused by their animals or animals on their property, including:
- Dog bites,
- Dog attacks,
- Injuries caused by livestock,
- Injuries caused by dangerous pets, and
- Attacks by wild animals.
If you have been attacked, bitten, or hurt by any animal in SC, and you believe the animal’s owner or property owner may be liable, contact the SC dog bite lawyers on the Axelrod team for a free consultation to find out if we can help.
What Should You Do After a Dog Attack?
If you are attacked by a dog, you should:
- 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 your injuries;
- Write down the contact information of any witnesses; and
- Contact a SC dog bite lawyer 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 Myrtle Beach dog bite attorney will help you to determine who is at fault and how to collect damages from them.
Strict Liability for Dog Attacks in SC
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. If a dog is known to be dangerous, the owner has a duty to protect the public from it. 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 Code Section 47-3-110 says:
If a person is bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog while the person is in a public place or is lawfully in a private place, including the property of the dog owner or person having the dog in the person’s care or keeping, the dog owner or person having the dog in the person’s care or keeping is liable for the damages suffered by the person bitten or otherwise attacked.
If you were attacked by a dog, your dog bite attorney does not have to prove negligence on the part of the dog’s owner or caretaker. We need only prove:
- You were in a public place or lawfully in a private place,
- The defendant owns the dog, or the dog was in their care or keeping, and
- Their dog attacked you.
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 for your injuries.
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 after poking 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.
SC law also provides some protection for police dogs:
This section does not apply if, at the time the person is bitten or otherwise attacked:
(1) the person who was attacked provoked or harassed the dog and that provocation was the proximate cause of the attack; or
(2) the dog was working in a law enforcement capacity with a governmental agency and in the performance of the dog’s official duties provided that:
(a) the dog’s attack is in direct and complete compliance with the lawful command of a duly certified canine officer;
(b) the dog is trained and certified according to the standards adopted by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council;
(c) the governmental agency has adopted a written policy on the necessary and appropriate use of dogs in the dog’s official law enforcement duties;
(d) the actions of the dog’s handler or dog do not violate the agency’s written policy;
(e) the actions of the dog’s handler or dog do not constitute excessive force; and
(f) the attack or bite does not occur on a third party bystander.
Attacks by Other Pets and Wild Animals
If you are hurt by another type of animal, you may still be able to file a lawsuit depending on the circumstances.
If a person owns a pet that is prohibited by law or that is inherently dangerous – for example, a lion, tiger, or venomous snake, strict liability may apply when the animal attacks and injures someone.
If a property owner is aware of a threat from a wild animal like an alligator or bear, they might have a duty to remove the animal or warn visitors to the property. If they do not, and you are injured as a result, you may have a premises liability claim if you can prove negligence on the part of the property owner.
If there is a hazardous condition (the wild animal), and you were on notice of the dangerous condition, then you have a duty to either correct the condition (remove the animal or take measures to protect visitors) or warn visitors of the danger if you are unable to remove it.
If an alligator wanders onto your land and attacks a person, you probably won’t be liable if it’s the first time you’ve seen that alligator. On the other hand, if you notice an alligator in the pond in your backyard and don’t have it removed or warn visitors, you might be liable if it eats your neighbors’ children…
If you have been injured by a dog or other type of animal, the Myrtle Beach dog bite lawyers at Axelrod & Associates may be able to help you to get maximum compensation for your injuries.