Liability For Dog Bites in South Carolina

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greenville south carolina personal injuryEvery year, millions of Americans throughout the country are victims of some type of dog bite or attack. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year and half of the dog bites involve children. Some of the dog bites are relatively minor and do not inflict any serious injury; however, according to the CDC, about one in five dog bites are serious enough to require medical attention. This equates to about 885,000 victims each year. Furthermore, approximately 27,000 dog bite incidents are serious enough that the victims need to undergo reconstructive surgery.

South Carolina’s Dog Bite Statute
Many states, including South Carolina, have laws that hold dog owners liable for injuries inflicted by their dogs. States have varying laws regarding the liability imposed on dog owners for dog bites. Some states have what is known as a “one bite” rule, which requires that the owner have knowledge that the dog is dangerous before liability will be imposed on the owner. Other states impose a negligence standard on the owner, which requires that the owner must have failed to use reasonable care in controlling one’s dog before liability will be imposed.
South Carolina does not follow these standards. Rather, South Carolina’s dog bite law is a “strict liability” law. Under South Carolina law, a dog’s owner or handler is liable for a dog attack:
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, including the property of the dog owner or person having the dog in the person’s care or keeping.
Under the law, a dog owner or handler is liable for injuries caused by his dog, even if the dog’s owner or handler did not know or could not have known that the dog would inflict the injuries.  Further, liability is not limited solely to the dog’s owner, but extends to all who have the dog in their care or keeping at the time of the attack, including the person actually handling the dog at the time of attack.
Notably, the person injured must be “lawfully” on the property, either through express or implied consent of the owner. As such, the statute excludes trespassers who are not lawfully on the owner’s property.
Further, the statute does not apply if the person who was attacked provoked or harassed the dog and that provocation was the proximate cause of the attack. Therefore, a person injured by a dog cannot obtain compensation for his injuries when the dog attacked the person because it was reacting to his aggressive conduct.  However, the law is clear that you cannot provoke a dog attack simply by petting or approaching the dog.
Contact a Greenville Dog Bite Attorney
If you or a family member has been injured in a dog attack, a Greenville Personal Injury Lawyer can help you recover compensation for your injuries. David R. Price, Jr. is a Greenville, South Carolina dog bite attorney who has experience helping victims protect their rights in dog bite attacks. Contact David R. Price, Jr. for a free initial consultation and case evaluation. You can call us at 864-271-2636 or visit our office located at 318 West Stone Avenue in Greenville, South Carolina.


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