Under South Carolina law, a dog’s owner could be held liable when someone is bitten by their pet, regardless of whether or not that dog has a history of aggression or biting. This is because South Carolina follows a strict liability law for dog bite cases, which means it differs from many other state laws regarding canine attacks.
South Carolina Does Not Follow the “One Bite Rule”
Each dog bite case is handled differently depending on the state where the incident occurred. Specifically, the primary distinction between must such cases is whether the state in question follows the “one bite rule” or instead adheres to strict liability.
Under the one bite rule, a pet owner is not liable for their dog’s first attack, essentially giving the dog and their owner one free pass. The only exception to this law is if the owner known or should have known that their dog was aggressive or prone to attack other people.
Strict liability, on the other hand, establishes that an owner is considered liable regardless of their dog’s history of aggression or their own knowledge of its potential for an attack. The only exceptions to this strict liability in South Carolina are outlined in South Carolina Code §47-3-110, which addresses circumstances where—for example—a claimant first attacked or provoked a dog prior to being bitten.
How Might Strict Liability Affect an Injury Claim?
The fact that South Carolina follows this strict liability law means that it might be more likely that an injured individual could seek compensation for their injuries here than in other states that follow the one bite rule. This is because a claimant would not have to show that a pet owner disregarded the necessary precautions to keep their dog from biting someone in order to be able to request compensation for their injuries.
Dog attacks or injuries from bites are unfortunately common in South Carolina. While a dog is never legally at fault for their actions, their owner might be held liable under the state’s strict liability laws. If you or someone you know has been injured by a dog bite or other animal attack, consider contacting an experienced lawyer to discuss your legal options for seeking compensation.