Dog Bite Lawyer in Columbia, SC
Dogs can be loving, loyal pets and are considered by many of us to be part of our families. However, even the most well-trained, well-behaved dog could lash out and attack someone. Dog bites can be painful and require urgent medical care, and in severe cases, could prove to be fatal.
If someone else’s dog bit or attacked you, Columbia dog bite lawyer Chris Davis could help you pursue the compensation you’ll need for your physical and emotional recovery. Our firm’s mission is to provide compassionate, professional legal representation to injury victims across South Carolina.
Although you’re currently navigating a stressful time that may have led to feelings of isolation, it is important to understand that you’re not alone. A skilled dog bite attorney with the Law Offices of S. Chris Davis could help you to pursue justice and financial recourse if you’ve been injured due to a vicious attack. Reach out to our office today for a free initial consultation to learn about your legal options and about our approach to client-focused representation.
What to Do If You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog
If someone’s dog has injured you, you can take steps to protect your right to pursue compensation for your injuries. If possible, take these steps:
- Notify the dog’s owner of the attack if you know who they are. If not, contact local animal control to report the dog and your injuries.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your doctor may want to start you on treatments, such as antibiotics, that can help prevent infections from rabies or tetanus, especially if you do not know the dog’s vaccination status.
- Keep copies of your medical bills and records of your income and wages if you miss time from work due to your injuries.
- Use a journal to record details about your recovery, including the physical pain and emotional distress you experience and any limitations on your daily activities.
- Contact a Columbia dog bite injury lawyer from the Law Offices of S. Chris Davis to start the legal process of seeking compensation for your injuries.
Common Injuries from Dog Bites
Dog bites and attacks can cause a wide range of physical injuries, including:
- Lacerations, puncture wounds, and bruising
- Facial injuries, including nose, ear, or eye injury
- Broken bones, especially in hands or feet
- Ligament, tendon, and muscle damage
- Nerve damage
- Excessive bleeding from damage to major blood vessels
- Spinal or brain injuries
Recovering from serious injuries can be a costly endeavor. Working with an attorney can help to ensure that you are not unreasonably burdened by costs stemming from your injuries.
Understanding Complications from Dog Bite Injuries
Beyond the common physical injuries that a dog bite or attack can cause, injury victims may also experience other physical and emotional complications, such as:
- Infections: A dog’s mouth can carry harmful bacteria. A dog attack victim can become infected if the dog’s teeth break through a person’s skin. The viruses and bacteria most frequently spread in secondary infections from dog bite injuries include rabies, tetanus, MRSA, and pasteurella.
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement: Wounds from a dog bite or attack may leave an injury victim with permanent, visible scars. If a dog viciously attacks a victim, they may experience extensive damage to the body, which may leave deformity or disfigurement event after reconstruction, such as loss of nose or ear structures or loss of a finger.
- Emotional trauma: A violent dog attack can leave a victim with post-traumatic stress disorder, often accompanied by depression and anxiety. Victims of dog attacks may also develop cynophobia or a fear of dogs and become scared to go out in public because they do not want to see any dogs. They may also be scared to return to where the attack occurred.
Compensation for Injuries in Dog Bite Cases
If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, you may be entitled to receive compensation for expenses that incurred while treating and recovering from your injuries. You can pursue compensation for monetary losses, such as medical costs, and personal losses, such as emotional distress. You might be owed money for:
- Medical expenses such as emergency room care, hospital stays, surgery, prescription medications, or physical therapy
- Lost wages if you need to take time off work or work fewer hours while you recover from dog bite injuries
- Loss of earning ability if your injuries result in a permanent disability
- Physical pain
- Post-traumatic stress
- Reduced quality of life from permanent physical impairments or disfigurement/scarring
Dog Bite Laws in South Carolina
South Carolina state law governs who may be held liable for a dog attack. Under S.C. Code § 47-3-110, South Carolina’s dog-bite law, a dog owner is liable when their dog bites or attacks a person in a public place or lawfully in a private place, such as a home or business. The dog owner is responsible for compensating the injured victim for expenses and losses incurred due to their injuries.
The statute imposes strict liability on a dog owner for injuries that their animal inflicts, which means that an injured victim does not need to prove that the owner’s negligence or recklessness played a part in causing or facilitating the dog’s attack.
The statute includes two exceptions to liability. First, the statute does not apply when the injured party provoked the dog into biting or attacking them. The statute also does not apply to bites or attacks by law enforcement dogs working at the time of the incident.
Pet owners in Columbia, SC, must obtain a license for each pet, which they must renew annually. Dog owners who keep more than three dogs are also required to obtain a kennel license from the city. A dog owner who fails to maintain a license for their dog may be subjected to a fine of up to $200 or up to 30 days in jail. A pet owner must also provide proof of their pet’s rabies vaccination to obtain a license. Rabies vaccination is required by state law for all domestic animals.