Dog Bites | Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I’m attacked by a dog in South Carolina?

  • Seek immediate medical assistance. If you are bitten by a dog in South Carolina, you should, as with any personal injury, seek immediate medical assistance. Dog bites pose a serious risk for infection and scarring, and a physician should be contacted immediately for treatment.  If the bite from a dog attack is serious and you or a loved one are in immediate medical distress, call an ambulance or go to an emergency room as quickly as possible.
  • Identify the Dog that bit you. You should try to write down all of the contact information of the dog owner, including their name, address, and telephone number. It might also be helpful to find out the name of their insurance company, as well as contact information for any witnesses to the dog bite incident. Also, be sure to take note of exactly where the dog bite occurred.
  • Have photos taken of the dog bit injuries. As soon as practical, take photographs of all visible injuries and any torn or bloody clothing. Additionally, if possible, take pictures of the dog itself and the location of the incident.
  • Any and all information that you collect can be helpful for your dog bite case. Your South Carolina dog bite attorney will then be able to evaluate the evidence and help you receive compensation for your injuries.

 

What should I NOT do if I am attacked by a dog in South Carolina?

Do not give the insurance company information about your dog bite or your dog bite injuries.  Do not give any statements to an insurance adjuster or insurance agent.  Do not sign any document without discussing it with your legal team first!  Insurance companies’ first interest is protecting themselves from expensive claims.  The information you give them can and will be used against you to defeat or minimize your claim.  Also, do not attempt to settle the case yourself.  You have a right to certain types of compensation for damages you may not know exist.  It costs nothing to talk to us first to help guide you.  Dog bite injuries in particular often result in scars requiring surgical procedures.  It is important to contact an experienced dog bite lawyer as soon as possible after the dog attack.  Effective dog bite lawyers can seek full compensation for all of the damages you are entitled to recover.

What kinds of dogs have a tendency to bite people?

Although in their minds, most people associate certain dogs with aggressive behavior and biting, but the fact is that all dogs could potentially bite someone. While it is true that some breeds of dogs are more likely to bite, there are situations in which any type of dog would likely bite a person. These instances where a dog might be more likely to bite are when they are startled, provoked, feel threatened, guarding something that they believe to be theirs, protecting their owners, or are in heat. If it appears a dog is displaying one of these characteristics, you should back away from the dog and try not to provoke it in any way.

Who can sue for dog bite injuries and who will be liable?

The injured victim can bring a claim or a lawsuit. When a minor child has been bitten by a dog the claim needs to be brought on behalf of the parents and by the parents on behalf of the minor child. A claim or lawsuit would be against the owner of the dog, or the person who is in control of the dog at the time of the bite.

What should I do if my child is bitten by a dog?

The first thing you should do if your child is attacked is call the police and seek medical treatment for the child. It is important to report the attack so that the police may report the incident. You should immediately seek medical attention for your child to ensure that he/she has not suffered a severe injury and that the dog was not rabid or infectious.

After your child receives treatment for their injuries, if you would like to pursue a personal injury claim against the dog owner, you should contact a South Carolina dog bite attorney. An attorney can help you to determine whether or not you have a case and what steps to take next in order to seek justice.

Is the dog owner covered by insurance?

Yes, generally under their homeowner’s insurance policy. Almost all homeowner’s policies cover for attacks and bites by pets. It is important that you review your Home Owner’s Insurance Policy when deciding whether or not to purchase a dog.

If I am bitten by a dog or other animal, who is my case against?

A lawsuit may be brought against the dog’s owner or keeper, or even against the homeowner of the dog if the dog’s owner did not own his or her property. The ultimate recovery usually comes from an insurance policy that covers injuries, such as the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy or renter’s insurance policy. An experienced dog bite attorney will be able to examine the insurance coverage available for the dog bite victim.

If I have a dog bite case, what am I entitled to recover for my injury?

If you are attacked by a dog, you are entitled to recover for the damages sustained, which includes medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, future medical bills, surgery costs, and possibly psychological damages resulting from the dog bite attack.

What should I do if my dog bites someone?

  • If your dog bites someone, act responsibly by taking the following steps:
  • Confine your dog immediately.
  • Check on the victim’s condition. Call for emergency medical help if necessary.
  • Provide the victim with necessary information, including the date of your dog’s last rabies vaccination and whether your dog has had any serious illnesses.
  • Cooperate with the animal control officials. Obey their directions about quarantining your dog in your home, a veterinary hospital, or an animal control facility.
  • Seek professional help to prevent your dog from biting again. Get a referral from a veterinarian, animal control agency, or humane society for a dog trainer or an animal behavior specialist in your area.
  • If you cannot control your dog’s dangerous behavior and decide to sell it or give it away, be careful about selecting a new owner. Tell that person about the past dog attacks and ask whether the individual is willing and able to prevent the dog from causing further harm.

How long does a dog bite case typically take to be resolved?

Not all dog bite claims are the same and therefore take different amounts of time to be settled. The more severe the injuries are, along with other aspects of the dog bite case, the more likely it will take longer to resolve. It is possible for some dog bite claims to be settled in as little as a few weeks; on the other hand, it could also last more than a year, depending on the circumstances. That is why it is important to contact an attorney immediately so that you can begin your dog bite claim while receiving treatment for your dog bit injuries.

Who’s responsible for the injuries of an owner when separating fighting dogs?

If a person intervenes to protect a pet or someone else from injury and the rescuer is injured, the owner of the dog may be held responsible for the injury.

Can posting a “Beware of Dog” sign help to offset any liability if the dog bites?

Possibly. The sign can help to alert others of the presence of the dog. But if an attack occurs, the specific facts will determine whether there’s any liability.

What do leash laws cover?

Most communities have local leash laws that require dogs to be on a leash unless confined to a house or fenced yard, even on your own property. Failing to follow the leash laws combined with the dog biting someone can greatly increase the potential penalties.

Is an owner responsible for injuries to a trespasser?

While you’ll want to discuss the specifics of the situation with a local lawyer, if an individual is trespassing when bitten, dog owners are often protected from being sued.

What does “strict liability” mean?

Many states have moved away from the “one free bite rule” and hold owners responsible for any injury, regardless of whether the animal has previously shown aggressive tendencies. This is referred to as “strict liability.”

Do state or local laws cover dog bites?

Both. In addition to the state laws, local communities often have animal laws covering bites, leash laws and vaccinations. Some local laws may ban ownership of a certain breed altogether.

Gamache Law Firm