Dog Attack in South Carolina
We love dogs. Attorney Andrew Littlejohn Johnson has a rescue pit bull and a rescue hound. However, if his dogs bit someone without provocation, it would only be fair to pay for that person's damages. If a dog bit you, here are some helpful tips to remember about your potential claim.
South Carolina Dog Attack Laws
South Carolina used to have a "one free bite" rule but now has strict liability dog bite laws. Specifically, the statute states that "[w]henever any 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 owner of the dog or other person having the dog in his care or keeping, the owner of the dog or other person having the dog in his care or keeping is liable for the damages suffered by the person bitten or otherwise attacked." S.C. Code Ann. § 47-3-110. However, the law prohibits recovery if the victim provoked the dog into attacking them.
Therefore, if you are lawfully on property and are bitten by someone else's dog without provoking the bite/attack, generally, you may sue for damages against the person who was caring for the dog at the time.
Injuries from Dog Bites
When most people think of "dog bite," they think of teeth marks and some blood. This is not always the case. The most common injuries we see include:
muscle tears (from falling after attempt to run away from the dog)
Additionally, as with all other tort cases, your damages from a dog bite include more than just medical bills. Normally, dog bite victims start with the same three damages: (1) medical bills, (2) scars, and (3) bad memories of the event. However, the remaining damages are subjective. These can include pain, limitations, other changes in your appearance, permanent disfigurement, worry over diseases, and fear of future attacks. Each one of these creates an additional path to build on your recovery: you suffered these losses, so you should be compensated for them.
Who Pays for Dog Bite Injuries
Most dog bite victims have the same two general questions: "I was bitten by a dog in Columbia, South Carolina. Who is liable for my injuries, and who pays me for my injuries?"
Recovering for your injuries and other damages depends on who owns the dog and where you were bitten. For example, if you were bitten at a tenant's apartment, there may be liability coverage for the specific apartment, insurance coverage for the apartment complex, or general liability coverage for the apartment complex's company. If you are bitten at someone's home, the home owners insurance policy may cover the damages. Unfortunately, many house insurance policies have exclusions for dog bite insurance coverage.
Regardless, many situations exist where a deep dive into coverages and a thorough review of insurance policy terms are required. It is important to explore all avenues for insurance coverage; this could mean hiring an experienced dog bite attorney. Because, if no coverage exists, you may be left paying your own medical bills.
Attorney Andrew Littlejohn Johnson has seen the damage that can result from a dog attack, and navigating insurance coverages is not new to us. If you have questions after a dog attacked you, give Andrew a call today. We are here to help all tort victims in South Carolina.