You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog – Now What?

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A strong majority of American households have at least one dog as a pet. A sizeable number of households have two or more dogs. People bring dogs home as pets for any number of reasons: companionship, security, or a desire to provide a home and shelter for an abused or neglected animal. No reasonable person brings home a dog expecting that dog to bite them or their child. But dog bites can and do happen, as evidenced by the following statistics:

  • Over 4 million individuals suffer a dog bite injury each year;
  • Approximately 20% of dog bite injuries – 1 in 5 – require medical attention; and
  • Children are by far the most likely group to suffer dog bite injuries.Dog with stickDog with stick

Dog bite attacks can be particularly traumatic incidents that leave serious physical and psychological injuries, including:

  • Cuts and lacerations from the dog’s teeth and claws;
  • Puncture wounds from the dog’s jaws;
  • Crushing injuries from the dog’s mouth and/or dog’s weight if it is on top of the victim; and/or
  • Transmission of serious diseases such as rabies.

Compensation is available to Greenville citizens (as well as citizens of South Carolina in general) who are attacked by a dog belonging to another person. South Carolina’s dog bite statute is a “strict liability” statute, meaning that an owner is responsible for the injuries his or her dog inflicts regardless of whether the owner knew the dog to be dangerous.
This does not mean recovering compensation is always easy. In fact, there are several potential issues that can derail a South Carolina dog bite lawsuit. To prevent this, try to take the following actions immediately following a dog bite attack:

  • Seek immediate medical attention, even if you do not believe the injuries are severe. Dog bites can transmit rabies, and prompt medical attention is needed to successfully treat this disease. Not only this, but some injuries may worsen without immediate treatment. You may find it more difficult to receive full compensation if a court believes your actions were unreasonable and caused your injuries to be worse than they would have been had you sought prompt medical attention.
  • Try to recall the details of the incident. You should document these details along with potential witnesses who may have seen the attack. This is important because the dog bite statute does not apply in cases in which the victim was provoking the dog or was in an area that he or she did not have a legal right to be. Preserve any clothing you were wearing and photograph your injuries – preferably before medical treatment begins (although seeking prompt medical treatment is essential!).
  • Be certain that you can describe the dog and know who the dog’s actual owner is. If you do not bring suit against the dog’s rightful owner, you may not recover compensation from that person.

Dog bite lawsuits appear to be deceptively simple. But if you are not careful, a simple mistake or omission can result in your lawsuit being dismissed and you receiving no compensation. Not only this, but there may be local rules and ordinances that can affect your dog bite injury, making representation by local counsel vital. Contact Greenville dog bite lawyer David R. Price, Jr. after a dog attack or dog bite for assistance and legal representation. He has helped numerous dog bite victims recover the compensation they need for their injuries.

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