Dog Bites Lawyers in Greenville, South Carolina Helping Injured Clients Receive Fair Compensation
Over 4.5 million people in the United States are estimated to be bitten by dogs every year. While most pet dogs are a source of joy and happiness to their families, any dog can bite and cause serious injuries, and children are the most frequent victims. In South Carolina, individuals injured by a dog may receive compensation for their damages. Learn how dog bite claims work in South Carolina and see how an attorney can help you hold a negligent dog owner financially responsible for your injuries.
Does South Carolina Have a “One-Bite Rule”?
Many states have what is commonly called a “one-bite rule” for dog attacks, meaning the dog owner may not be liable for any injuries unless the dog has previously bitten someone. However, South Carolina dog owners are subject to a strict liability rule that makes them responsible for any injuries their dog may have caused.
Because of the strict liability rule, the victim of a dog attack in South Carolina does not necessarily have to prove that the dog is vicious and has previously bitten or injured someone else. It is worth mentioning that the strict liability rule generally applies to any type of injury resulting from a dog attack, and not just bites. If, for example, a large dog jumps on an older person and causes them to lose their balance, fall, and break their arm, the dog owner may be held responsible because it is understood that they should have adequately restrained the dog to prevent it from causing injuries.
When Is a Dog Owner Liable for Damages Resulting From a Dog Bite?
In South Carolina, a dog owner may be held financially liable for damages caused by a dog attack whenever the dog injures or bites someone lawfully present on their property. That means if the victim was trespassing when the dog bite occurred, that person may be unable to initiate a claim against the owner.
In addition, the dog attack must be unprovoked. If the dog bite victim was teasing or threatening the dog or behaving in a way that caused the dog to attack them, they may not be able to receive compensation. Finally, you must be able to show that your injuries and damages are a direct result of the dog bite or dog attack.
What Kind of Damages Can a Dog Bite Victim Recover?
A dog bite is a type of personal injury claim in which a plaintiff (the dog bite victim) seeks compensation for damages caused by a negligent dog owner (the defendant). In this case, the plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant acted with negligence by failing to properly restrain or control the dog, which resulted in injuries and damages to the plaintiff.
Dog bite victims may be eligible for compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are direct financial losses resulting from the injury. These often include medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.
For example, if you suffered a severe dog bite that resulted in significant soft tissue damage to your hands and arms, you may require surgery. Because of that, you may need to spend a few days or weeks at the hospital. In addition, the severity of your injuries meant you could not return to work for two weeks, resulting in lost wages. In addition, you were carrying a brand-new laptop in your backpack, which ended up being destroyed because the dog attack caused you to lose your balance and fall, landing on your back. These are examples of economic damages you may be eligible to recover as a part of your dog bite claim.
Furthermore, dog bite victims may be eligible to recover compensation for non-economic damages. Being hurt by a dog can be a traumatic experience, and recovering from a dog bite can be painful and cause a lot of emotional trauma, often resulting in physical and psychological scars that can affect the victim for a lifetime. Pain and suffering are a few examples of non-economic damages a dog bite victim may be able to recover.
In some cases, the victim may be eligible to receive punitive damages in addition to standard damages. Punitive damages may be awarded in cases where the court determines that the plaintiff acted with gross negligence. This category of damages is meant to work as a punishment for the defendant’s reckless behavior (such as failing to restrain and control a vicious dog, for example) and to prevent similar behavior in the future. Punitive damages are not a part of every case, so it may be best to consult a personal injury lawyer to determine what type of damages may be available for your case.
How Much Money May I Be Eligible to Receive for My Dog Bite Case?
If you have been hurt by a vicious dog, you may be wondering how much money you will likely receive for your claim. This may be especially true if you have been unable to work and are worried about the growing stack of medical bills you keep receiving.
In general, the amount of compensation a dog bite victim can receive varies depending on the severity of their injuries and damages. In other words, the more serious your injuries and the more significant your economic and non-economic damages are, the higher your compensation may be. However, the only way to truly know the value of your case is to speak to a skilled dog bite and personal injury attorney who can give you a proper estimate, as every case is unique and outcomes may vary. By having an attorney on your side, you may also increase your chances of receiving maximum compensation for your injuries.
How Can You Recover Compensation for a Dog Bite in South Carolina?
There are a few different ways to seek compensation for a dog bite in South Carolina. The most common option is to file an insurance claim. This option may apply when the dog bite occurs on private property, such as a private residence or place of business. In this case, the property owner’s liability insurance may be able to cover your damages.
If no insurance is available, your next option is to seek the help of an attorney and initiate a personal injury lawsuit in court. While litigation may take longer to deliver a settlement, the amount you may receive may be higher than an insurance claim settlement. In both cases, be sure to consult with a dog bite attorney to discuss your case and learn your options. At Armada Law, our legal team has helped countless victims get top compensation for their dog bite injuries. Contact our office in Greenville, SC, at (864) 633-3739 to learn more and request a no-commitment consultation.