Dogs have the potential to cause serious injuries when they feel threatened enough to bite another animal or person. Regardless of a dog’s size, South Carolina law is usually generous towards injured parties when demanding financial compensation from negligent dog owners.
That said, achieving fair restitution for your losses after a canine bite can be a deceptively complex process, as any experienced personal injury attorney could affirm. Therefore, when you are hurt by someone else’s pet, working closely with a Walterboro dog bite lawyer could be essential to securing the best possible result from your lawsuit or settlement demand.
Strict Liability for Dog Bites in Walterboro
South Carolina courts previously followed a variant of the “one-bite rule” that many other states still adhere to today. Under this rule, a dog’s owner generally will not be strictly liable—in other words, responsible for damages regardless of whether they were “negligent” or not—for bite-related injuries unless they knew their dog might injure someone based on a previous incident. However, pursuant to South Carolina Code § 47-3-110, the state now holds dog owners strictly liable any time their dog bites and injures someone else, regardless of whether it is the first time the pet has ever attacked or acted aggressively toward someone else.
There are two notable exceptions to this rule listed under this statute. First, dog owners are not strictly liable for injuries their dog causes to someone who, at the time of the bite, was harassing or provoking the dog. Second, strict liability does not apply to properly-trained dogs working in law enforcement that are performing official duties and are directed by a certified canine officer to attack someone. However, canines and officers cannot violate written agency policy regarding the use of dogs in law enforcement duties.
A knowledgeable attorney in Walterboro could explain strict liability laws regarding dog bite claims during a consultation.
What Damages Can Dog Attack Victims Recover for Their Injuries?
A dog’s owner may be financially liable for both economic and non-economic losses stemming from a canine bite or attack, including:
- Past and future medical expenses, including physical therapy and prescription medications
- Lost work income and diminished working capacity
- Personal property damage
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Psychological trauma and distress
- Other effects of permanent disfigurement or disability
Punitive damages are rarely awarded in cases of this nature. However, a court may impose these damages against at-fault parties if they acted egregiously negligent or intentionally malicious—for example, if they knowingly directed their dog to attack someone else without cause. A seasoned lawyer in Walterboro could help you collect evidence of a canine bite and demand maximum compensation for your injury.
Reach Out to a Capable Dog Bite Attorney in Walterboro Today
Canine attacks can be stressful experiences with long-lasting physical, financial, and emotional consequences. Although state law allows you to seek economic recovery from the owner of the dog that attacked you, doing so proactively and effectively can be challenging without professional legal guidance.
Fortunately, assistance is available from a compassionate Walterboro dog bite lawyer with experience helping people like you through similar situations. Call Whetstone Perkins & Fulda today to schedule a meeting and learn more about your legal options.