How Does South Carolina Handle Dog Bite Lawsuits?

Dogs can be great pets and useful companions in various situations. However, they can also become aggressive and violent. They could attack people and cause serious injuries in the process. The victim may be able to sue for compensation, if the conditions under the law are satisfied. Here are the basics of how South Carolina handles dog bite claims:

Liability for Attacks

The legal liability for the attacks obviously cannot fall on the animal itself, since it has no standing or ability to provide compensation. Instead, it is the owner or person taking care of the dog who absorbs the fault. It does not matter if this happened in a public or private place, if the victim was in the private property in a lawful manner. For example, he might have been a guest or a tenant. The owner would carry no liability if a trespasser was bitten by the dogs, since it is a case of illegal entry.   

No One-Bite Rule

Some states are lenient towards owners. They follow a one-bite rule, which can save people from liability if the dog had no previous history of attacks or other violent behaviors. Essentially, the first bite only serves as the warning. The second bite is when the penalties will start, since owners should already know better.

South Carolina is not one of these states. Instead, it follows the strict liability rule which calls for a penalty from the first instance. Residents are expected to exercise caution with regards to their dogs. They should put restraints to prevent their pet from harming others and exercise complete control over it.  

Effect of Provocation

Injured persons cannot collect compensation if they provoke the dog to attack them. For example, a group of drunk men may have thrown rocks at a dog. If it retaliates by biting them, then the owner cannot be faulted. The harassment triggered the incident.

Law Enforcement Dogs

Law enforcement officers often use K-9 units in their work. Dogs have an amazing sense of smell that has proven to be effective in sniffing out drugs, bombs, escaped prisoners, and much more. If a police dog attacks a person in the line of duty, then the handler or the agency may not be liable for the injuries. An example would be chasing someone who is trying to evade arrest.

If you think that you are entitled to compensation after being bitten by a dog, then call an injury attorney in South Carolina and discuss the facts of the case today.

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