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    Dog attacks cause deep scars both physically and emotionally. Extensive cosmetic surgery and years of counseling may be necessary to address the psychological trauma and physical harm of a dog attack. To make matters worse, victims often find themselves stuck with costly medical bills that insurance companies unfairly refuse to cover.

    If you or your loved one has been bitten by a dog and suffered serious injuries in Charleston County or a surrounding area, don’t go at it alone.  A lawyer can help oversee your physical and financial recovery, so you move forward with your life.

    Our Lowcountry dog bite attorneys have extensive experience representing people seriously injured by dangerous dogs. We know how to obtain compensation for the physical and emotional consequences of a dog attack.

    Our Dog Bite Settlement Awards

    At Joye Law Firm, we’ve supported numerous victims in getting the compensation they need to get back on their feet after an attack. Among our notable achievements was obtaining $425,000 for a dog bite victim who suffered multiple fractures on a neighbor’s property.

    Brent Arant Circle

    Attorney Brent Arant won a $300,000 pre-lawsuit settlement for a young girl in Charleston who was bitten by a Rottweiler in her front yard. This settlement covers the child’s current and future medical needs, including treatments for emotional trauma and surgeries for permanent scarring.


    Joye Law Firm North Charleston Office Location

    5861 Rivers Ave
    North Charleston, SC 29406
    (843) 508-9015

    Facts and Statistics on Dog Bite Injuries

    Dog bites occur a lot more frequently than many realize. Here are some statistics to underline the gravity of dog bite incidents in the U.S.:

    • 6% of U.S. households own a dog, equaling 62 million.
    • 5 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the U.S.
    • 19% of dog bite victims require medical attention.
    • 3 of 5 bite victims are bitten by a family pet or a dog in the neighborhood.
    • The CDC reports that from 2011 to 2021, there were an average of 43 deaths per year due to dog attacks.
    • You are five times more likely to be bitten if you live in a house with more than two dogs than if you don’t own a dog.
    • In 2022, there were more than 17,597 insurance claims for dog bites, with an average payout of $64,555 each.

    One study found that children were especially susceptible to dog bit injuries and that:

    • Of pediatric injuries, 53.8% were male and 50% were less than 5 years of age.
    • Bites occurred more frequently in June (13.3%) and July (16.5%).
    • 9% of pediatric victims sustained facial injuries, and 26.6% to the scalp.

    What Are the Most Common Dog Injuries in Charleston?

    The most frequent injuries from dog attacks are to the face, arms, hands, legs, and feet, including:

    • Puncture Wounds: These injuries occur when a dog’s sharp teeth pierce the skin, leaving a deep wound. Depending on the bite’s depth and location, these wounds can be painful, prone to infection, and may harm nerves or muscles.
    • Cuts and Scrapes: If a dog bites, it can leave behind minor scrapes or deep cuts, which can bleed and later scar. Without proper care, there’s a risk that these cuts could get infected.
    • Avulsion Injury: This occurs when tissue is forcefully ripped from the body, leading to blood loss, intense pain, and potentially lasting scars or disability. It might require reconstructive surgery to repair.
    • Facial Wounds: Facial injuries can be incredibly distressing, frequently requiring surgery to reduce scars and regain functionality. Those affected might also suffer emotional and psychological effects due to the change in their appearance.
    • Neck Wounds: These can be life-threatening due to the proximity to the airway and major blood vessels. There is a high risk of serious complications, including bleeding, infection, and damage to vital structures.
    • Hand Wounds: Injuries to the hands can impair movement and functionality, affecting the victim’s ability to perform daily tasks. Rehabilitation may be needed to recover strength and dexterity.
    • Psychological Trauma: Dog bite victims might experience anxiety, PTSD, a fear of animals, and other emotional problems that can impact their daily lives. They may need counseling or therapy to help them deal with these issues.

    What are a Charleston Dog Owner’s Responsibilities?

    Throughout South Carolina, including in Charleston, Berkeley, Colleton, Beaufort, and surrounding counties, dog owners are strictly liable for any damage their pets inflict. If a dog owner violates any of that state’s dog bite laws, our skilled North Charleston attorneys can review your situation to determine whether you have the right to seek compensation following a dog attack.

    Below is an outline of the dog bite laws in South Carolina:

    Section 47-3-110
    ● The dog owner or the individual responsible for the dog at the time will be held accountable for any injuries if someone is bitten either in a public setting or legally on private property.

    ● Someone is considered legally on private property if they are there to carry out a legal duty or have been invited by the property owner or someone legally living there.

    ● This rule does not apply in cases where the individual provoked the dog or if the dog was on duty in a law enforcement role.
    Section 47-3-710
    ● An animal is deemed dangerous if it is known to show aggression or has been trained for fighting, except for animals used in farming or for protection against trespassing.

    ● An animal’s breed alone does not classify it as dangerous.
    Section 47-3-720
    ● Dangerous animals must be securely confined on the premises.

    ● Enclosures must prevent escape and public entry with clear markings.
    Section 47-3-730
    ● Dangerous animals must not go beyond the owner’s premises unless safely restrained and meeting the requirements of Section 47-3-760(E) (see below)
    Section 47-3-760
    ● If an owner violates these rules, they are responsible for costs for shelter, food, veterinary care, medical expenses for victims, and possible destruction of the animal.

    ● Owners of dangerous animals must register them with local law enforcement and provide proof of liability insurance or a surety bond of at least $50,000.

    ● Upon registration, the owner receives a metal license tag and certificate for the animal, which the animal must wear at all times.

    What Damages Can You Win After a Dog Bite Injury?

    After an attack, we can help you pursue financial compensation for your injuries. Since 1968, we’ve represented many dog bite victims, from injured children to those hurt during the course of their jobs, including delivery drivers, trash collectors, and postal workers.

    A dog bite victim may seek compensation for:

    • Medical bills
    • Surgery (including cosmetic surgery to address disfiguring scarring)
    • Physical therapy
    • Pain and suffering
    • Emotional trauma and psychological counseling
    • Permanent disability
    • Lost wages while you cannot work
    • Future lost income (if you are unable to return to work or have diminished earning capacity after a dog attack)
    • Property damage

    Our North Charleston dog bite attorneys will investigate your injury claim to calculate your losses and can identify what types of compensation you are entitled to seek for your injuries. Homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies typically cover up to $300,000 for dog bite injuries that occur in a property owner’s house or on their premises, depending on the policy.

    We can also help you file for if you were attacked while working. This compensation can cover medical needs and provide disability payments until you’re ready to return to work.

    Immediate Actions to Take After a Dog Attack

    If attacked, take these actions to safeguard your legal rights and recovery:

    Dog bite injury

    • Get Medical Care: Get medical help right away for any injuries. A medical professional will clean the wound, evaluate the chances of infection or rabies, and provide any necessary treatments. This step also records your injury in your medical history, which can be used to support your legal claim.
    • Take Photos of Your Injuries: Take photos of your injuries from the dog attack as soon as possible. Make sure to capture clear pictures of the wounds before any treatment is given. If it’s safe to do so, get a photo of the dog that caused them, too.
    • Collect the Owner’s Contact Information: Get the dog owner’s name, address, phone number, and any details on the dog’s vaccination status. This information is essential for medical and legal purposes. Also, if there are any witnesses, collect their contact details.
    • Call the Authorities: Report the dog attack to local animal control or the police. This step is vital because it creates an official record the of incident, and it may help prevent future attacks by the same dog.
    • Cooperate with Follow-up Investigations: If the C. Department of Health and Environmental Control contacts you as part of an investigation, share all the required details with them.
    • Seek Legal Counsel: Consult a lawyer experienced in dog bite cases to explore your legal options. Our attorneys can advise on the best action to seek compensation for your injuries.

    Tips for Preventing and Avoiding Dog Bite Injuries

    While it’s not always possible to avoid a dog attack, taking certain precautions can lower your risk. Remember these guidelines when you’re around dogs, including your family pet:

    • Keep in mind that any dog can bite.
    • Pet owners should start socializing their dogs to make them feel more comfortable around people and other animals. Well-socialized dogs are less prone to aggressive behavior.
    • The Charleston Animal Society has certified dog trainers. They offer group dog obedience training and private classes to teach dogs to be well-behaved pets through positive reinforcement.
    • If a dog shows aggressive behavior toward anyone, seek help from a certified dog trainer. Don’t wait for an injury to seek help.
    • Understand a dog’s body language to recognize when a dog feels threatened or anxious.
    • Teach children to treat dogs respectfully. Never leave a baby or young child unsupervised with a dog.
    • Children should not approach an unfamiliar dog without seeking permission from the owner.
    • Children should not try to pet any dog, even a familiar one if it is eating, sleeping, chewing a toy, or caring for puppies. When startled, animals are more likely to bite or snap.
    • Children should not try to pet a dog in a car or behind a fence. The dog may try to defend its space.
    • Do not try to pet a barking or growling dog to calm the animal.


    Contact Our North Charleston Dog Bite Injury Lawyers

    Our dog bite lawyers at Joye Law Firm in Charleston have been honored with the prestigious AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, a distinguished legal directory. Our personal injury lawyers at Joye Law Firm are proud of our track record of getting results for injury victims in Charleston and throughout Charleston County.

    Regardless of the injury type inflicted by the dog, we can help you pursue maximum compensation. Contact us today to set up a free consultation with a dog bite lawyer. We can advise you on your legal options and assist you in moving forward with your compensation claim.

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