South Carolina dedicates Section 47-3-110 specifically to dog owner liability and the rights of people injured by a dog bite. The state maintains strict liability for dog bites, which means that the owner is responsible for damages even if the dog had never bitten in the past. Dog owners also cannot claim that they did not know that the dog was capable of biting since any dog can bite when it feels threatened.
When a Dog Owner May Be Liable for Your Injuries
State law requires the dog bite incident to meet at least one of these criteria before the injured victim can consider a dog bite lawsuit:
- The injured person did nothing to provoke the dog to bite
- The injuries occurred strictly due to the dog bite or attack
- The injured person had legal permission to be on private property or was in a public space
South Carolina’s dog bite law also covers situations when a person sustains injuries from a dog attack not caused by a bite. For example, a dog may have knocked you over after jumping on you and you sustained a concussion when you hit your head on pavement. The dog could also cause injury with deep scratches.
Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Lawsuits in South Carolina
You have three years from the date you sustained injury from a dog bite or attack to file a civil claim against the dog’s owner. The same statute of limitations applies to all personal injury cases in South Carolina. A dog bite lawsuit can provide you with compensation for your medical costs and time missed from work in addition to pain and suffering, post-traumatic stress, and other subjective losses. However, a judge will automatically dismiss your case if received after the three-year filing deadline.
When Dog Owners May Be Able to Avoid Liability for Injuries
Trespassing is a common defense for dog owners to avoid liability when their dog injures another person. You may not win the case if you were on someone’s property without their permission and their dog bit or attacked you. Mail carriers, package deliverers, and other service professionals are exempt from needing to receive specific permission from the property owner. The law may consider you a trespasser just for cutting across someone’s yard, so securing legal representation as soon as possible is crucial to the outcome of your case.
Provoking a dog is another common defense in dog bite cases. You could provoke a dog by taunting or abusing it, thus prompting the dog to attack to protect itself. As the plaintiff in a personal injury case, you and your attorney bear the responsibility of proving that you did not provoke the dog or trespass on the dog owner’s property.
Schedule a Consultation with The Law Office of Sara A. Turner
Whether you want to know more about South Carolina’s dog bite laws or are ready to proceed with a personal injury lawsuit, Sara Turner invites you to schedule a consultation. She is prepared to help you fight for the compensation you deserve after a traumatic dog attack.