If this has happened to you, seek experienced legal guidance. The Joye Law firm has been in business 50 years and has offices in Clinton, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach. Our Clinton dog attack attorneys have the skill and resources needed to seek the full compensation needed to help you move forward with your life. We fight for those who sustained serious dog bite injuries due to the negligence of others.
An unrestrained dog can cause serious physical and emotional trauma if it bites or attacks. South Carolina law requires dog owners to maintain control of their dog. But some Clinton dog owners disregard the law and serious dog bite injuries occur. Irresponsible dog owners should be held accountable when their dogs cause harm.
The experienced Clinton dog bite lawyers of Joye Law Firm represent people who have been bitten by dogs in Laurens County and across South Carolina. In the aftermath of a vicious animal attack, you likely have questions about how you will pay for your medical expenses and recover lost wages from time you missed from work. You may be struggling with the emotional trauma of the attack and need surgery to address scarring and disfigurement.
Our goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of the people we serve. The initial case review is free and will provide you with an understanding of your legal options. Call (888) 324-3100 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.
Common Injuries and Other Losses in Clinton Dog Attacks
If you or someone you love has been bitten or mauled by a dog, it is crucial that you seek medical attention immediately. You want to minimize potential infection risks. A doctor’s evaluation of your injuries will be helpful in case you need to file an injury claim later.
Some of the injuries people may suffer because of dog bites include but are not limited to:
- Nerve damage
- Facial injuries
- Eye injuries
- Neck injuries
- Puncture wounds
Dog bites also may result in possible psychological consequences, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Victims may need to seek counseling or take medication for the mental effects of dog bites.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that children account for over half of the 4.7 million people bitten by dogs every year, and 1 in 5 dog bites require medical attention. Dog bites can result in serious infections including rabies.
What Types of Compensation Can You Receive in a Clinton Dog Bite Lawsuit?
Many dog bite victims have fears about filing injury claims because the dogs’ owners are friends, neighbors, or relatives. People worry that filing a dog bite claim will make their acquaintances personally liable and cause them financial stress.
Most dog bites are covered by a dog owner’s homeowners insurance policy. In fact, dog bite claims represent the largest share of homeowners’ insurance claims. The homeowner typically does not personally bear any costs for settling a dog bite claim. The insurance company, however, will do whatever it can to settle the case for the lowest possible amount.
Since South Carolina law provides a way for dog owners to avoid liability when a person did something to antagonize a dog, many insurers will have claims adjusters ask people about their actions leading up to a dog attack. Even if you are confident that you did not take any action that provoked a dog to respond aggressively, decline to make a recorded statement to an insurance company.
The insurer’s goal is to minimize their client’s liability and any payout. In some cases, an insurance company may offer you a lump-sum settlement to resolve your case. But the offer is likely to be a fraction of the fair value of the claim. It is the insurer’s goal to get you to accept a settlement for as little money as possible, relieving the insurer of legal liability.
Our Clinton personal injury attorneys are seasoned negotiators and are successful in resolving most injury claims without going through a trial. However, if the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, the victim may need to file a lawsuit to seek compensation.
If a dog bite case goes to trial, then you may seek compensatory damages for your injuries related to the dog attack. Compensatory damages involve economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages refer to costs such as medical expenses, lost income, and property damage. Noneconomic damages typically include awards for emotional distress, or pain and suffering.
South Carolina Dog Bite Laws
Under South Carolina Code § 47-3-110(A), a dog owner or a person with a dog in their care or keeping is liable for the damages suffered by the person bitten or otherwise attacked by the dog in a public place or lawfully in a private place. The dog owner will not be liable, however, if the victim harassed the dog or provoked the attack.
Dog owners or caretakers are not liable if a dog is working in a law enforcement capacity after being properly trained and certified. Under South Carolina law, a person has three years to file a dog bite claim.
In Clea v. Odom, 714 S.E.2d 542, 394 S.C. 175 (2011), the Supreme Court of South Carolina held that third parties could be liable for some dog bites. The court ruled that a landlord could be held liable for dog bite injuries inflicted upon invitees or licensees when attacks occur in common areas of apartment complexes. The Residential Landlord Tenant Act specifies that a landlord has an obligation to keep common areas in a reasonably safe condition.
Breeds Most Likely to Cause Dog Bite Injuries
Some breeds of dogs are associated with more dog attacks. DogsBite.org, a nonprofit organization and public education website, reported that fatal dog attacks on humans from January 2005 to March 2018 included the following breeds:
- Pit Bull — 284 (65.6 percent)
- Rottweiler — 45 (10.4 percent)
- German shepherd — 20 (4.6 percent)
- Mixed-breed — 17 (3.9 percent)
- American bulldog — 15 (3.5 percent)
- Mastiff/bullmastiff — 14 (3.2 percent)
- Husky — 13 (3.0 percent)
- Labrador retriever — 9 (2.1 percent)
- Boxer — 7 (1.6 percent)
- Doberman pinscher — 6 (1.4 percent)
- Malamute — 4 (0.9 percent)
- Golden retriever — 4 (0.9 percent)
- Heeler — 4 (0.9 percent)
- Cane corso — 3 (0.7 percent)
- Chow chow — 3 (0.7 percent)
- Wolf hybrid — 3 (0.7 percent)
- Presa canario — 2 (0.5 percent)
- Akita — 2 (0.5 percent)
- Australian shepherd — 2 (0.5 percent)
- Belgian malinois — 2 (0.5 percent)
In 2014, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reported that a range of studies showed the breeds found to be highly represented in biting incidents were:
- German shepherds
- Mixed breeds
- Pit bull types
- Jack Russell terriers
- Chow Chows
- Saint Bernards
- Labrador Retrievers
The AVMA noted that “increased popularity is sometimes followed by increases in bite reports in some large breeds.”
How Often Do Dog Bites Happen?
Dog bites occur with alarming frequency. Each year, approximately 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S., according to the CDC. Of these bites, 800,000 require medical care.
According to the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm, homeowners’ insurance companies paid over $686 million in liability claims in 2017 related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries.
The Insurance Information Institute reported that the $37,051 average cost paid out for a dog bite claim nationwide in 2017 was 90 percent more than the average in 2003.
Contact Our Clinton Dog Owner Law Firm
Dog bites are common injury claims. If you or your loved one has been seriously injured by a dog in Clinton, you should have an experienced attorney review the details of how the dog attack occurred and explain your legal options. It is important to have an attorney on your side who has successfully handled these types of claims.
If our attorneys handle your case, Joye Law Firm will conduct an independent investigation of the attack. We will collect important evidence and identify all the potentially liable parties. Our firm will calculate the full extent of your losses and demand full compensation for you. If the insurance company fails to offer you a fair settlement, we will not hesitate to take your case to court. Our experienced trial attorneys have successfully fought the insurance companies.
If you or your loved one sustained severe injury because of a dog bite in the Clinton area, it is critical for you to consult with a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. Let an attorney handle all the phone calls from insurance companies and the legal filings so you can focus on your recovery.
Joye Law Firm has an office in Clinton to serve clients in Laurens County and the surrounding areas. You can have our lawyers discuss your rights when you call (888) 324-3100 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.