According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1 in 4 people bitten by a dog require medical attention since dog bites are not only painful but can cause infection, leading to high medical bill costs and potential loss of income from missed days at work.

States differ on how they hold dog owners liable for the damages incurred by people bitten or attacked by their dogs. South Carolina’s dog bite statute has a strict-liability standard, meaning the victim does not have to prove that the dog was known to be violent or that the owner was intending to cause harm. However, several circumstances may reduce or eliminate the dog owner’s liability.

First, the victim must be either in a public place or lawfully in a private place, such as if the victim had permission to be in the dog owner’s backyard. If the victim had been trespassing at the time of the attack, strict liability does not apply. Further, the statute does not apply to a victim who provokes a dog to attack, such as by teasing or harassing, and thus victim would not be entitled to strict liability.

Individuals other than the legal owner of the dog may also be held responsible if the dog was in their “care or keeping”, such as a dog-sitter or walker.

Other possible ways to obtain compensation for a dog bite victim include a premise liability lawsuit against the dog’s owner or South Carolina’s “dangerous animal” statute, though trespassing can be a bar to both of these. Premise liability holds landowners and tenants responsible for injuries that incur on their property. The “dangerous animal” statute applies to dogs or cats that the owner knows or reasonably should know has an aggressive nature and requires the owner to confine the animal onto their residence, such as with a fence, and clearly mark that the residence contains a dangerous animal.

If you or a family member has been injured in a dog attack, please do not hesitate to contact our office by calling 888-748-KING (5464) or completing an online request for consultation form. King Law Offices is a full-service law firm with an outstanding team of professionals who work diligently, creatively and compassionately on behalf of our clients each day.  We serve the Upstate of South Carolina and Western North Carolina.

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