A Darlington County woman was hospitalized several months ago after being attacked by a police dog.
Darlington County Sheriff’s deputies brought a K-9 unit into the woman’s neighborhood as part of an investigation into a burglary that had nothing to do with her, and she was attacked when she stepped outside her home to see what was going on.
The victim’s attorney says the sheriff’s department has now confirmed that the police dog has previously attacked at least two other people.
What happened to this woman is horrific and unfair, but she may find it difficult to be compensated for any injuries caused by the dog attack because S.C. law limits liability for police dogs.
When can you get compensation after a dog attack?
SC Dog Bite Law: Strict Liability
When the dog is not a police dog, the law clearly places liability on the owner or handler.
SC dog laws require dog owners to keep their animals on their property or on a leash. If these requirements are not met and the dog injures someone who is in a public place or “lawfully in a private place,” the dog owner is liable for the damage their dog causes.
Strict liability for dog bites means that you do not have to prove that the owner knew their dog was dangerous – you are in a place you have a right to be, dog attacks, the owner is liable.
Dog owners in SC are liable for all attacks, not just bites. If a dog chases you or lunges at you and causes you to fall off a bicycle or to trip and fall, you could seek compensation from the dog owner. This applies even if you are on the property of the dog owner if you were there legally.
Are There Defenses to SC Dog Bite Lawsuits?
If you have provoked or harassed a dog and it attacks you as a result, you probably don’t have a case. SC dog law does not hold dog owners liable if the dog is responding to a provocation like being kicked.
Also, if you were trespassing on the dog owner’s property, they may not be liable for your injuries.
A Dog Attacked Me – What Now?
Seek medical care immediately if you are attacked by a dog.
File a police report, call your local animal services so health officials can investigate, take photos of the location of the attack and of your injuries, and collect contact information from any witnesses.
And, you should contact an experienced SC dog bite attorney immediately. South Carolina’s strict liability law makes it possible that, with the help of an attorney, you can collect damages to cover the potentially devastating costs of a dog attack.
South Carolina Dog Bite Lawyers in Myrtle Beach
If you’ve been personally injured from a dog attack the attorneys at Coastal Law are prepared to help you to determine who is liable for the dog’s attack and how to get full compensation for your injuries. We have offices in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Charleston, and Columbia, SC.
Call us now at (843) 488-5000 or fill out our online form to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.