Whether you are an avid dog lover or don’t like to interact with these four-legged animals, nobody ever wants to be a bite or attack victim. Unfortunately, this occurs more often than we realize, with around 4.5 million dog bites happening throughout the U.S each year. Most of these bites call for medical attention and the most troubling part is that a majority of the victims are kids under the age of 12.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a dog attack, you may be eligible for compensation. As such, it’s imperative to file a dog bite report with the local animal control quickly, and then contact a skilled Greenville dog bite lawyer to schedule a meeting to discuss your case in more detail. Dog attack cases can sometimes be complex, but with the help of our personal injury lawyers at Hernandez & Cabra, you can be assured that our decades of experience will provide the best outcome.
Your initial consultation is free. So reach out to us either online or by calling our offices at 864-501-4384.
What Should I Do After a Dog Bite?
Among the millions of people that get attacked by dogs each year, less than 20% of the victims report their injuries. Most dog bites call for medical attention and others can be fatal and that’s why it’s important to know what to do in case you become a victim.
Seek Medical Attention
If you are bitten by a dog and the attack is severe, it is imperative to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Symptoms like extreme pain, excessive bleeding, and exposed bone require an immediate checkup by a qualified practitioner. Bear in mind that the animal could have rabies. You’ll probably need to be vaccinated for rabies and tetanus.
Also, know that diseases can spread from dog bites and so, you’ll want to follow up with the practitioner if you have concerns regarding the following:
- Rabies: This is a fatal condition that affects the brain
- Tetanus: This is a toxin found in bacteria, and can cause rigid paralysis after a dog bite.
- Pasteurella: This is a painful red infection that may result in swollen joints and glands
- Capnocytophaga Bacteria: This can result in illness, especially for individuals with a weak immune system.
- MRSA: This is a form of staph infection that can result in urinary tract and lung infections.
Seeking medical attention is essential as it helps establish causation, protects you from possible complications, and preserves evidence.
Apply Pressure to the Wound
If the bite isn’t severe, apply pressure and clean the wound. Keep an eye on the wound for infection signs. Also, seek the dog owner’s contact information and inquire about the animal’s medical history. Ask whether it has been vaccinated for rabies and whether there are other conditions you should know about.
Report the Attack
Keep in mind that you’re also required to report the bite to Animal Control. This is imperative as it gets the bite on record in the event you have to sue the dog owner. Not only that but having the bite on record helps protect others from being attacked in the future.
Document the Injuries
Lastly, you should document the injuries in the best detail possible. This should include writing down details of the event while it’s still fresh in your memory, taking photos and videos of the injury, as well as anything else that might be relevant.
Who Do I Report a Dog Bite to in South Carolina?
If you have experienced a dog bite or attack from a domestic animal, you are advised to report the incident to the regional DHEC Environmental Health Services Office or the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Reporting an animal attack or dog bite is vital for three reasons.
First and foremost, the South Carolina law requires anyone who has experienced a dog bite in the state to report it within 24 hours. The law also requires that the practitioner responsible for treating the injury report it to the DHEC or the county health department.
Second, reporting the incident will lead to a law and/or DHEC investigation into the accident to determine whether the dog has communicable diseases like rabies. The dog will be put into quarantine, after which the body conducting the investigation will inform you whether the dog does carry disease so that you can seek appropriate medical treatment.
Third, reporting the bite or attack will create a paper trail allowing the local authorities as well as the DHEC to take ideal action if called for, to protect other people from experiencing a similar incident.
Why Should I Hire a South Carolina Dog Bite Lawyer?
If you have suffered a dog or domestic animal attack, you may be eligible for monetary compensation under South Carolina law. While the amount you get will depend on your case’s circumstances, sometimes, the owners have insurance policies that cover these forms of injuries.
As such, it is advisable to have a Greenville lawyer with dog bite claims experience to help work with these parties and either conduct negotiations for a settlement or take your case to trial.
Dog Bite Law in South Carolina
The state’s Code of Laws sect. 47-3-110 covers dog-related injuries, including dog bites. In the state, the owner may be held liable for injuries caused by their dog if the following are true:
- The injuries were caused when the victim was in a public place, or lawfully in a private setting.
- The dog bite victim didn’t provoke the animal.
- The injuries were caused when the dog bit the individual.
Keep in mind that this statute ideally applies to situations whereby an individual is bitten by a dog and where an individual is otherwise attacked by the animal. An example is when you are walking down a sidewalk and all of a sudden, the dog comes from the nearby yard and attacks you, leading to serious injuries. In such an instance, you are eligible to seek monetary compensation from the animal’s owner, under the state’s dog bite law.
Also, bear in mind that South Carolina has a ‘strict liability’ law as with most states in the U.S. Strict liability implies that the dog owner is liable even when they didn’t know and couldn’t have known the animal would bite or attack.
What Type of Compensation Can I Expect in a Dog Bite Case?
Claims against dog bites can result in monetary compensation for damages or losses experienced. This includes awards for economic damages, non-economic damages, and in some cases, punitive damages. In situations following a fatal dog attack, the loved ones are eligible for wrongful death compensation.
These are designed to cover economic or financial losses. They include payments for medical bills like dog bite emergency treatment, reconstructive surgery, and rehabilitation.
Also, they might include lost income during the time the victim was unable to work as a result of the injury. You are also eligible for collecting payment for damage to your property like clothing, jewelry, etc.
These are designed to compensate the victim for non-monetary or intangible losses. Examples include pain & suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of comfort, loss of companionship, etc. Bear in mind that these tend to be fact-specific and are usually decided by a jury or negotiations with a lawyer and the insurance company.
If you can prove that the dog owner was overly negligent or intentionally caused harm, you may be eligible for punitive damages. These go beyond the damages listed above, are designed to solely punish the party at fault. It is imperative to note that this is a way higher standard compared to negligence and that these cases can be extremely complex. As such, it’s always best to have a lawyer by your side.
Damages for a Fatal Dog Bite
In case of a fatal dog attack, the loved ones of the victim may also be eligible for wrongful death compensation. Typically, these damages are to cover the income the victim would have earned to support the family members. Also, the spouse and minor children may be entitled to compensation for loss of companionship, payment for medical, funeral, and burial expenses.
Are There Time Limits for Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
A dog attack or bite victim in the state of Carolina has 3 years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit in the civil court system. The statute of limitations is the law that sets this deadline and applies to all injury lawsuits in the state. If you file a claim after the 3-year deadline has passed, your case will almost certainly be thrown out without further consideration. As such, ensure you understand and follow the statute of limitations.
Hire a Greenville Dog Bite Lawyer Today!
At Hernandez & Cabra, we know that dog bites are common and can be fatal in some situations. There’s no need for you to suffer because of another party’s fault, and that’s why we provide our services. Seek compensation today by calling 864-501-4384! Schedule your free consultation with a Greenville dog bite lawyer.