Dog Bites and Liability in South Carolina

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Spring is coming and that means more and more people out and about in the parks and maybe along the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Everyone will be out including runners, walkers, cyclists and skaters. Tagging along with all of those folks will be their loyal companions: dogs and other pets.
But more dogs also means more dog bites. Under South Carolina law, if you have been bitten by a dog, you are entitled to recover money damages for your injuries from the owner or from the dog’s handler. Dog bites are serious. The Centers For Disease Control reports that in 2001 — the most recent year for reported statistics — an estimated 368,245 persons were treated for dog bites in hospital emergency rooms. And, tragically, dog attacks can be fatal. Just last month in December 2017, a toddler was killed and another boy was injured when . See here. Two of the dogs attacked sheriff deputies and another dog attacked a neighbor.
If you have been bitten by a dog in Greenville, here is what you should do.
 
Greenville SC Personal Injury Lawyers: What Should You Do If Bitten?

dog bite attorney greenville
Under South Carolina law, there is strict liability for dog bites. In other words, there is no provision for a dog that has a history of being “good dog.”

As always, the first thing to do if you are injured is to seek medical care. If there is time and your injuries are not life-threatening, then take other important steps including:

  • Contact the proper authorities;
  • Get information on the animal, its owner and/or handler — be able to describe the dog;
  • Get the names/contact information of any witnesses;
  • Take photos at the scene if you can;
  • Photograph your injuries and the progress of recovery;
  • Take notes of what happened and otherwise document the event;
  • Keep other tangible evidence such as torn or bloodied clothing;
  • Keep receipts and medical invoices and other evidence of costs and damages; and
  • Contact talented Greenville SC personal injury attorneys experienced with dog bite cases.

 
Greenville SC Personal Injury Lawyers: Dog Bite Legal Principles — Strict Liability
Under South Carolina law, there is strict liability for dog bites. In other words, there is no provision for a dog that has a history of being “good dog.” South Carolina Code § 47-3-110 states:
“If a person is bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog while the person is in a public place or is lawfully in a private place…the dog owner or person having the dog in the person’s care or keeping is liable for the damages…”
Some place like Swamp Rabbit Trail would be considered a “public place” under the statute. Strict liability does not apply if (i) the victim was provoking the dog or if (ii) the victim was trespassing or breaking the law in some other way or if (iii) the victim is bitten by a law enforcement canine while being controlled/directed by law enforcement.
Dog bites can result in serious liability verdicts against the owners. In one reported case from 2006, a dog bite resulted in serious injury and, after trial, a jury returned a verdict against the dog owners in the amount of $50,500 in damages. See James v. Horace Mann Ins. Co., 638 SE 2d 667 (S. Car. Supreme Court 2006).
 
Greenville SC Dog Bite Attorneys: Call David R. Price, Jr., P.A. Today
If you have been bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog, call the proven and courtroom-tested Greenville SC dog bite lawyers at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. Contact our office today via email or by phone today.

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