The Myrtle Beach personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm represent victims of dog attacks and their families. Our lawyers understand the impact that a serious dog bite can have on your life. You may suffer both physical injuries and emotional trauma and never look at “man’s best friend” the same way again. These injuries can prevent you from returning to your job and enjoying life in general.
When dog owners fail to restrain their animals or keep them under control, they can be held responsible for their carelessness or disregard for public safety. Dog bite victims need trusted legal guidance and answers to their questions after an attack.
For 50 years, the attorneys at Joye Law Firm have been dedicated to serving injured people across South Carolina. Our Myrtle Beach dog bite lawyers can explain your legal rights and dog owners’ responsibilities under South Carolina civil law. Our attorneys are prepared to fight for full compensation for dog bite victims injured by others’ negligence. Schedule your free consultation today by calling (888) 324-3100.
What are the Most Common Dog Bite Injuries in Myrtle Beach?
When a dog bites someone, the victim could suffer from an array of injuries including flesh wounds, nerve damage, disfigurement and, in extreme cases, death. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 4.7 million dog bites happen across America every year, with 800,000 of those bites requiring medical care.
Dog bite injuries in Myrtle Beach can happen in many ways, although the most common injuries include:
- Bites to the face, which can cause permanent scarring or disfigurement;
- Serious infections when cuts, scratches, or bites are left untreated;
- Permanent nerve damage, tissue wounds, and severed tendons;
- Psychological harm, such as post-traumatic stress and depression;
- Potential to contract rabies which could be deadly, especially to children;
- Loss of limbs if bites are too deep to treat;
- Severed arteries in upper leg or neck region; and
- In extreme cases, death.
Proving Liability for Dog Bite Injuries in Myrtle Beach
When an innocent person is attacked by a dog without provocation in Myrtle Beach, the dog’s owner may be held liable for the injuries the dog causes.
The state of South Carolina has a strict liability law, meaning that dog owners may be liable for unprovoked attacks, even if the owner did not have prior knowledge that the dog was dangerous or had violent tendencies.
Victims must produce evidence that:
- The dog owner had a legal duty to control the dog so as not to endanger others;
- The pet owner, by not keeping the pet restrained, breached that duty;
- The dog bite injuries the victim sustained were directly caused by that owner’s breach; and
- Economic and noneconomic damages were sustained in the form of financial, emotional, and/or mental losses.
South Carolina requires dog bite lawsuits to be filed within three (3) years of the date of the injury.
What are Myrtle Beach Dog Owners’ Responsibilities?
South Carolina law addresses the responsibilities of dog owners. The law specifies the rules apply to any breed of dog, although extra care must be given to those dogs with violent tendencies.
Myrtle Beach dog owners’ responsibilities include:
- Dangerous dogs are to be confined outdoors or remain indoors if visitors not known to the dog are to frequent the owner’s residence;
- When outside, dangerous breeds are to be secured within a fenced area or locked pen, with signage that indicates the dog is dangerous;
- A dog must be safely restrained with a harness and leash when walked by its owner;
- All dangerous dogs are to be registered with local authorities, which requires showing proof of liability insurance of at least $50,000;
- Pets are to be regularly checked and vaccinated for rabies.
Dog bites may not only land the owner in civil court, but could lead to jail time for subsequent offenses.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Myrtle Beach Dog Bite Lawsuit?
A dog bite victim may demand compensation for medical expenses for treatment of injuries, lost income from days of missed work and other expenses related to the dog attack. Our dog bite attorneys will review your medical bills and future medical treatment needs and come up with an estimate of your losses including:
- Wages lost at work during your recovery;
- Medical bills and associated expenses related to your accident;
- Expected future loss of wages based on your current salary or hourly rate;
- Any personal property that was damaged during the accident;
- Loss of companionship if you lost specific body parts that contributed to a positive relationship with a spouse;
- Punitive damages, which are designed to punish the dog’s owner for their negligence; and
- Pain and suffering, along with other emotional turmoil.
Our attorneys will review the details of the accident and identify the individual whose negligence or disregard for safety caused the dog attack. We also will determine the sources of insurance available to provide compensation. Dog bites and dog-related injuries accounted for more than a third of homeowners’ insurance claims paid in 2017, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Our attorneys are committed to holding the dog owner accountable and pursuing full compensation to help you move forward after a traumatic dog bite injury.
FAQS About Dog Bite Injuries in Myrtle Beach
Here are answers to some questions our attorneys have received over the years regarding Myrtle Beach dog bite lawsuits and premises liability.
I was bitten at my friend’s house. Should I still take legal action?
Injuries you sustained from a dog attack at a friend’s home may require legal action to protect your interests, especially if the attack causes you to miss work or incur costly medical expenses. If your friend has homeowners’ insurance, the compensation you receive would most likely come from a claim against the dog owner’s homeowners’ policy.
This is important to note, because many people are bitten by dogs that are owned by family members, friends, or neighbors. When this happens, it is understandably difficult to discuss legal action. When an injury claim is filed against a dog owner’s homeowners’ insurance policy, the insurer will be the one required to pay.
Does a dog have to bite me for me to seek compensation?
If an unrestrained dog dashes from their yard and knocks you over, any injuries sustained by that dog’s pounce may qualify for civil action. The law stipulates that pouncing, intimidation that causes injury, and physical attacks are covered under South Carolina dog bite laws.
My loved one died from a dog attack. What can I do for them?
A dog owner may be held liable if his or her dog causes fatal injuries in an unprovoked attack in Myrtle Beach. Premises liability laws generally cover dog attacks and the injuries sustained from them. South Carolina allows the close relatives of a deceased individual to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In South Carolina, wrongful death actions have a three-year statute of limitations. The head of estate, spouse, or family member can file this action against the dog owner.
Can I hold police K9 dogs responsible for injuries?
Police dogs are typically shielded from personal injury litigation, provided that the K9 dog was properly trained, certified by the state of South Carolina and was acting on command of the law enforcement officer. However, if (for example) that K9 jumped the officer’s privacy fence at their residence while off-duty and caused an injury, the owner would be liable under premises liability laws.
If I defend myself from an attack but kill the dog, am I liable?
According to the Code of Laws section 47-3-770, persons who are attacked or witness another being attacked may use reasonable force to repel that attack. No person will be held liable for such repelling. Contact our Myrtle Beach dog bite law firm immediately if you fear repercussions for killing a dog that attacked you.
Contact Our Myrtle Beach Dog Bite Law Firm Today
One out of five dog bites that happen each year require medical attention. If you were attacked without provoking the dog and the injuries were serious enough to require medical treatment, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills.
If we take your dog bite accident claim, we will not charge you until we’ve settled your case, or we win at jury trial. To learn more about how we can help you after a dog attack in Myrtle Beach, contact us today at (888) 324-3100.