State law provides those bitten by a dog to hold the owner accountable in some cases, and a practiced personal injury attorney might be able to help.
It is important to note that not all canine bites lead to a claim for compensation. While state law takes a fairly broad approach to allowing these claims, there are potential defenses that could get the dog owner off the hook. A South Carolina dog bite lawyer could review the circumstances surrounding your attack and advise you if you have a claim.
What are the Laws Around Dog Attacks?
The laws surrounding dog attack injuries differ across state lines. In general, there are two approaches that jurisdictions take to determine whether the dog owner is at fault for a bite. The first, known as the “one bite rule,” only allows a plaintiff to recover damages in a dog bite case if the owner was on notice their dog was vicious. Typically, this requires the dog to have a history of biting.
The second, known as a “strict liability” standard, allows a person bitten by a dog to see compensation from the owner even if they were not aware the dog was dangerous.
How Does South Carolina Regard Canine Bites?
South Carolina Code of Laws Section 47-3-110 governs liability for injuries resulting from a dog attack. This section adopts the strict liability standard for dog injuries. In addition to bites, the statute also covers any injuries that occur when an animal “otherwise attacks” a person. This could include injuries from being scratched by a dog, or even wounds suffered from being knocked down.
While there is no requirement that the dog owner is on notice of their animal’s dangerous nature, there are some limitations on liability. An attorney in South Carolina must prove the victim was either in a public place or lawfully on private property when the canine attack took place. This statute does not provide compensation for trespassers bitten by a dog.
Strict liability is widely considered the easier of the two systems, given that it is difficult to prove whether a dog owner knew their pet was dangerous. That being said, there is no guarantee a strict liability claim will be successful. There are two important defenses in dog attack cases a lawyer should be aware of, as they could lead the court to rule against the injured person entirely.
Location and Provocation
The first defense involves the location where the attack occurred. A plaintiff may only recover damages when bitten in a location they have entered lawfully. If a defendant shows the plaintiff was trespassing, they could prevail at trial.
The second defense involves provocation. A person would have no right to compensation for a dog bite injury if it occurred as the result of provoking the animal.
Speak with a South Carolina Dog Bite Attorney
It is not always clear if you have a claim for damages following a dog attack. While state law is fairly liberal, there are multiple defenses that could upend your claim entirely.
A South Carolina dog bite lawyer could help you avoid the pitfalls related to these common defenses and build a winning claim. Call right away to learn more.