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Are South Carolina Dog Owners Liable for Dog Bites?


Not every dog you meet will be friendly and happy to see you. Some may be aggressive and violent, perhaps due to poor upbringing or a lack of control from its owner. In case you ever suffer a dog bite or otherwise become injured because of someone’s dog, do you know if you have the right to seek compensation for the resulting damages? What sorts of dog bite laws does South Carolina follow?

When a Dog Owner is Liable for Damages in South Carolina

The dog bite statutes in South Carolina follow strict liability laws, not “one-bite laws” you may have heard about. Strict liability means the dog owner can always be held accountable financially for any harm their dog causes. The owner’s intent – and indeed even the dog’s intent – are not factors in liability for the case. You could be knocked onto the ground by an overly friendly big dog trying to give you a kiss, break your wrist in the fall, and still have the right to file a civil claim against the owner. Even if the owner had no reason to believe the animal would try to hurt you, they are still liable for any resulting damages, including medical costs, missed wages, and pain and suffering.

When Dog Owner Liability is Removed

There are situations in which a dog owner in South Carolina would not likely be held liable for dog bite damages, despite the state’s strict liability laws. The dog bite victim could be found partially or totally liable for the damages if they were illegally in a private place at the time of the attack, such as if they were trespassing. Liability of the dog owner is also reduced or eliminated if the dog’s attacks seem to be a reaction to provocation, harassment, or harm just inflicted by the dog bite victim. In this regard, the dog has a right to protect itself from undue harm.

Dog owners will also not be found liable if the dog was working as a law enforcement entity and had been ordered to attack the victim. A police hound that attacks the wrong person or uses excessive force can put liability on the dog’s handler or the corresponding police department, though.

File Your Dog Bite Claim With Our Help Today

Have you been bitten by a dog owned by a friend or stranger? Did you do nothing to provoke the animal to attack? You need to start thinking about how you can seek fair compensation for your injuries.

Call our Charleston dog bite attorneys from Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC today to discuss your legal options and discover where liability lies during a free case review. Since 1999, we have been passionately upholding the rights of the wrongfully injured and doing everything we can to maximize the compensation they receive, either through a verdict or settlement. Put that caliber of legal experience on your side by dialing (843) 968-0886 today.

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