South Carolina Dog Bite and Dog Attack Lawyer
The force of a dog bite can tear skin open, causing deep, jagged wounds and crushed bones. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that around 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year. Dogs bite most often because they feel threatened, or are scared. About 76% of dog bite victims are children. Other common victims of dog bites are postal carriers and elderly adults. A dog can attack you, your dog, or run at you causing you to fall down and break bones as well as other injuries. An unleashed dog can be especially dangerous. If you are not bitten, but are injured in a dog attack, the owner of the dog should be held responsible. Along with being extremely traumatic, dog bites and dog attacks can be very serious, even fatal.
If you or your child is injured by a dog, talk to an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can be a valuable advocate and almost always, recover far more for an accident than will initially be offered by an insurance company. South Carolina dog bite lawyer Mark Bringardner and his legal team understand animal attacks and dog bites don’t always involve strangers – they often involve friends. These cases are sensitive and emotional, and many people are hesitant to “sue” their friends or close relatives. It is important to distinguish that hiring a dog bite lawyer is different from suing. Most claims can be settled out of court with the insurance company. A lawyer can handle a claim as gently or as aggressively as desired. A claim against the dog owner’s homeowners insurance policy is not meant to destroy family or friend relationships or sue someone for everything they are worth. The focus after an animal attack should be based on a victim’s future physical, mental and emotional needs, with the goal of fair compensation for injuries.
Insurance companies process thousands of dog bite claims every year. State Farm said in 2016, they paid out $121 million as a result of $3,660 dog bite claims. The average claim payout was $33,000. Some breeds of dogs may not be covered under homeowners’ insurance. Even if a dog is mixed-breed, the homeowners insurance may try to deny insurance coverage. It is important to hire a personal injury lawyer immediately to gather the information necessary from animal control, veterinarians, and other sources.
Dog Bite and Dog Attack Liability in South Carolina
In South Carolina, the owner of the dog is liable for injuries caused by their dog. Although bite injuries come to mind when we think of injuries caused by dogs, the owner of a dog may be liable if their dog jumps on someone and knocks them over, causing them to break their hip.
Some states have a “one free bite” state, which essentially shields dog owners from liability the first time it bites someone. After that, the owner knows the dog may bite people, and is then responsible for injuries caused by their dog. South Carolina does not have this law. Owners are responsible for injuries caused by their dogs in almost all cases, with two notable exceptions:
If you are taunting, teasing, or abusing a dog and it bites you, it may effect your case. You could even be charged with animal abuse. Petting a dog is not considered provocation.
Bites from Police Dogs:
if you are bitten by a working law enforcement dog and the dog was under the command of a law enforcement officer, you may not be entitled to compensation in a personal injury claim.
Common Injuries from Dog Bites and Animal Attacks in South Carolina
About 800,000 dog bites each year require medical attention in hospital emergency departments and urgent cares. Because dog bites can transmit disease or lead to infection, getting medical treatment is important. If you have diabetes or are immunocompromised, you are at a heightened risk of infection.
Do You Need Stitches For a Dog Bite Wound?
Many dog bites are stitched, but doctors will consider the benefits and risks involved and evaluate each bite individual. Stitched wounds may heal faster and scar less,but carry an increased risk of infection. Whether or not a bite injury will need to be closed with stitches, skin adhesive, or staples will depend on:
- The location and size of the wound
- The number of bites
- The time that has passed since the bite occurred
- The type of animal that bit (typically cat bites are not stitched)
- The general health of the person bitten.
Medical professions recommend washing minor wounds with running water for at least five minutes and not applying ointments or disinfectants. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Dog Bite Personal Injury Claims
Dog bite injury claims are covered under premises liability claims and paid out through homeowners insurance policies. In 2018, 18,522 dog bite injury claims were filed, paying out $675 million in claims. Damages awarded in a South Carolina dog bite claim may include:
- Medical expenses
- Future cosmetic procedures for scarring and disfigurement
- Orthopedic surgeries for fractures
- Lost earnings if a dog bite requires you to take time off work to recover or care for your child.
- Therapy and medication for emotional trauma (PTDS, depression, anxiety).
The costs of treatment and future medical care for a dog bite injury can be staggering.
Get a Free Consultation
Attorney Mark Bringardner represents dog bite and dog attack victims in South Carolina personal injury claims. He understands the complexities of claims involving animal attacks and insurance. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and evaluation of your potential case. All dog bite claims are handled under a contingency fee agreement, which means there are never any fees or costs, unless we recover money for you.