Approximately 4.7 million people, mostly children, suffer dog bite injuries in the United States each year, and about 10 to 20 die from their injuries. Children are more vulnerable to dog bites because they are less familiar with dogs’ behaviors and are less able to defend themselves. Their shorter stature also makes them likelier to be bitten in the face, which leads to serious injuries and is more likely to result in life-long scarring.
Adults also suffer from dog bites. In addition to physical injuries such as abrasions, puncture wounds, lacerations, tissue loss, crush injuries, fractures, sprains, strains, disfigurements and infections, dog bites can cause emotional distress, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumas, and phobias, such as the fear of dogs.
What to do if a dog bites you
You should not try to pull away or hit the dog, since it may clamp-on tighter. Try to find an object nearby that you can insert into the dog’s mouth. This may induce a gag reflex causing the dog to let go.
A less serious dog bite should be treated by first washing the wound with soap and water and then rinsing it with an antiseptic. Apply an antibiotic cream and cover the wound with a bandage.
You should see a doctor if:
The wound is deep
You are prone to infections (such as if you have liver problems, diabetes, HIV, or AIDS)
You have recently had major surgery
You are over 50 years of age
If you do not know the dog or its owner, you should also contact your local animal control board.
Who can be held liable?
You may seek compensation for your damages from anyone whose negligence resulted in the dog bite. Most states place responsibility for a dog bite on the dog’s owner, especially if the owner knew the dog has a history of aggression or if he or she was in violation of animal restraint and confinement laws. But dog bite liability laws do vary by state, and in some cases, landlords, previous owners of the dog, and even daycare centers can be held at least partially liable.
In the case of a child who was injured by a dog bite, the amount of compensation may be greater due to the possibility of long-term medical expenses and emotional trauma. Sometimes the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy will pay for the damages. Regardless of the circumstances, however, an experienced dog bite lawyer should be able to help you recover the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to.
The Actual South Carolina Dog Bite Law
SECTION 47-3-110. Liability of owner or person having a dog in his care or keeping.
Whenever 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.
For the purposes of this section, a person bitten or otherwise attacked 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, when the person bitten or otherwise attacked is on the property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this State, by the ordinances of any political subdivision of this State, by the laws of the United States of America, including, but not limited to, postal regulations, or when the person bitten or otherwise attacked is on the property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner of the property or of any lawful tenant or resident of the property.
If a person provokes a dog into attacking him then the owner of the dog is not liable.
You should also be aware that there is a statute of limitations or time limit by which you must begin a dog bite suit. For this and other reasons, if you are considering consulting with a dog bite attorney, it is in your interest to do so as soon as possible. Give us a call or send an email today so that we can evaluate your case. Our office in Anderson, South Carolina, Thomason and Pracht, LLP is ready to serve you. Call us today.