As of 2016, about 78 million pet dogs could be found in the U.S. Many of these dogs are trusted companions. But the fact remains – they are animals. All animals have the capacity to attack humans. The injuries which they cause can be serious and life-threatening – especially if a child is the victim.
As a family-run personal injury law firm with decades of experience with helping dog bite injury victims and their loved ones in South Carolina, we understand the effect of those injuries on families. We want to help. Our attorneys can bring more than 120 collective years of legal experience to your case.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a dog attack in Manning or the surrounding community, contact Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., today. We will provide a free and private consultation.
How Serious Are Dog Bites in South Carolina?
The News & Observer reports that South Carolina ranks among the national leaders when it comes to the prevalence of dog bites. Many of these cases result in injuries that require more than just a few stitches to repair. Larger breeds of dogs can fracture bones when they attack, tear open arteries and leave victims with severe bleeding. Post-attack complications can also arise, including rabies and wound infections.
Your Legal Rights and Options After a Dog Bite In South Carolina
At Land, Parker & Welch, we are committed to exploring all available options for compensation after your dog bite. Section 47-3-110 of the South Carolina Code provides that dog bites are subject to strict liability. This means there is no need to prove the dog’s owner knew of the dog’s violence or past history of biting people. There is no so-called “one bite rule” in South Carolina. If your dog bites someone, you are responsible. Period.
There are a few minor exceptions, such as:
- The victim must have been in a place where lawfully permitted to be.
- The victim must not have provoked the dog.
It is important to work with law firm that will work hard to gather the evidence that establishes one’s right to compensation under South Carolina’s dog bite law and who will aggressively reject an insurance company’s attempt to shift the blame to you.
How a South Carolina Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help You
Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate your case by:
- Interviewing witnesses
- Gathering reports from animal control and the police
- Collecting your medical records
- Taking photographs.
Next, our team will work to evaluate and calculate your damages by:
- Reviewing your medical records
- Consulting with experts.
Finally, we will fight for full and fair compensation, whether through settlement or trial. If the insurance company won’t pay you fair compensation, our litigation attorneys are not afraid to take cases to trial. We will pursue compensation for your:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost income and wages
- Disfigurement and scarring.
Steps You Can Take if You or Your Child Suffers a Dog Bite
After a serious injury of any kind, your first step should be to get immediate medical care. Remember, your physical well-being is of paramount importance. Here are some steps to follow after a dog bite.
Continue your medical care. After you get emergency medical care, follow up and get ongoing treatment. You want to make sure that your wounds are not infected. Dog bites can lead to a host of complications. So, treatment usually includes at least some follow up visits. Be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations.
Gather contact information for everyone involved. If at all possible, get the names of witnesses, the person in charge of handling the dog at the time, and the owner’s name and contact information. This information is critical.
Report the incident to the authorities on the same day. You should file a police report and notify the animal control department in your county. They will want to quarantine the animal and test it for rabies. If the dog tests positive, you will probably need shots to prevent the spread of the disease.
Get photos. To the extent you are able, take photos of everything. This means:
- The wounds
- Clothing you were wearing (keep them)
- The dog
- The enclosure where the dog is usually kept
- Any fence, tether or other type of restraint that was being used
- The scene of the attack.
Keep a journal. From initial conversations with witnesses to conversations with authorities, you never know what information may be crucial to your case. There have been situations where it all came down to the specific stair or step on a front porch where a victim was standing. Keep copious notes about all conversations, details, and information you can think of. Your attorney will appreciate it, and it will almost always help in some way. It is far better to have too much information than none at all.
Absolutely never talk to the insurance company. Insurance claims representatives (or “adjusters”) have one goal – to avoid paying claims. They look for every excuse to deny compensation. Ultimately, it is best to let your dog bite lawyer handle discussions with insurance companies for you.
Get Help from Our South Carolina Dog Bite Attorneys Today
South Carolina law requires you to act within three years of the injury if you are going to attempt to recover compensation. This is known as a statute of limitations. The clock starts ticking as soon as you are injured. If you miss the window of opportunity to file your lawsuit, you will be prohibited from recovering compensation.
For this reason, even if you are not sure whether you have a valid claim, you should talk to a South Carolina dog bite attorney right away to determine your rights and make sure you understand your options. The personal injury attorneys of Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., serve communities throughout Manning, Bishopville, Mayesville, Summerton, Sumter and Turbeville. For more help and to schedule a free consultation, call or reach us online today.