Aiken Dog Bite Lawyer

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Being bitten by a dog can be a frightening and potentially life-altering experience. Dog bites can cause serious injuries, emotional trauma, and significant medical expenses. According to numerous sources, including the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and animal rights organizations, an estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States every year, and one in five of those gets infected.

Fortunately, there are laws in place that allow dog attack victims to seek compensation for their injuries and other damages. However, this is an intricate process that can be infuriating if you do not know how to go about it. This is where proper legal counsel comes into play.

At Johnson, Johnson, Whittle, Lancer and Staggs, we have an extensive understanding of the laws that govern dog attack injuries and are here to help the victims. If you are one of them, you can rely on our team to protect your rights and seek the justice you deserve. Call us at [PHONE] today to get started.

Table of Contents

What is a Dog Attack?

A dog attack happens when a dog aggressively attacks or bites an individual. Such an incident can lead to severe injuries, emotional trauma, and, in some cases, death. The dog owner is mostly held liable, but it can be hard to determine the party responsible, especially if the owner is not present.

What Should You Do After Being Bitten by a Dog?

Following a dog attack, it is imperative to take the proper steps to ascertain your safety and well-being. After a dog bite, you should:

1. Seek Medical Attention

As mentioned above, dog bites can lead to severe infections that call for professional treatment. So, immediately visit a hospital to get the right medical care.

2. Report the incident

You should also let the relevant authorities know about the attack as soon as possible. Keep in mind that you may need to report to the police or the local animal control agency, as it is important when it comes to initiating an investigation into the dog and the owner.

3. Obtain evidence

If possible, take videos and photos of both the dog and the injury. In addition, collect contact information for anyone who may have witnessed the attack. This will be essential in creating a solid case.

4. Contact a Lawyer

If the injury results in significant medical bills, pain, lost wages, emotional trauma, and other damages, you’ll need a lawyer to ensure you are fairly compensated. They will help you understand your rights and guide you through the legal process.

Does it Matter What Type of Dog Bit Me?

Any dog can bite, but some breeds are more commonly associated with dog bite incidents. These breeds may have a history of aggression or possess physical characteristics that can inflict more severe injuries. However, breed alone isn’t the sole factor.

Here’s what to consider:

  • Provocation – Dogs may bite defensively if they feel threatened or provoked. Teasing, grabbing at food, or cornering a dog can increase the risk of a bite.
  • Training and Socialization – A well-trained and socialized dog, regardless of breed, is less likely to bite. Responsible dog ownership includes obedience training and proper socialization to expose the dog to different people, animals, and environments.
  • Past Behavior – If the dog has a history of biting or aggressive behavior, there is a high chance it is likely to do the same in the future.

What Types of Injuries Can Be Caused by a Dog Bite?

Dog bites can range from minor punctures to severe injuries requiring extensive medical treatment. Some of the common injuries include:

  • Puncture Wounds – These are the most common type of dog bite injury, often requiring thorough cleaning and potentially stitches to close the wound.
  • Lacerations – These are more serious bites that can cause deep tears in the skin, muscle, or even tendons. Lacerations may require surgery and often leave permanent scarring.
  • Fractures – The force of a dog bite can break bones, especially in the hands, wrists, or arms of children who are often bitten while trying to protect themselves.
  • Infections – Dog bites can introduce bacteria into the wound, leading to infections that require antibiotics or even hospitalization in severe cases.
  • Emotional Trauma – Dog attacks can be a terrifying experience, especially for children. Anxiety, fear of dogs, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be lasting consequences of a dog bite attack.

What Are the Responsibilities of the Owner in South Carolina?

Dog owners in the Palmetto State have a legal responsibility to prevent their dogs from biting others. South Carolina operates under a strict liability statute for dog attacks. This means the owner is responsible for the damages caused by their animal, no matter if the dog has a history of aggression or the owner was negligent in handling the animal.

Some of the responsibilities owners have to prevent attacks include:

  • Getting obedience training to make sure they have the basic commands and social skills to handle varying situations in a calm manner.
  • Leashing the dog in public spaces and using a muzzle if it has a history of aggression.
  • Ensuring their property is properly fenced to prevent the animal from escaping and potentially biting someone outside the premises

It is important to note that there are a few possible exceptions where the dog owner may not be held liable. If the victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s property at the time of the bite, the owner might not be liable. However, this exception doesn’t apply to children trespassing unintentionally.

If the victim provoked the dog by teasing, harassing, or attacking it, the owner’s liability may be reduced or even dismissed.

What Damages Can Be Recovered for Dog Attack Injuries?

Following a dog bite injury in South Carolina, various types of compensation can help you recover from the physical, emotional, and financial burdens you face. The most common include:

  • Medical Bills – An injury from a dog attack can leave you with substantial medical bills, including emergency care, hospitalization, surgery, and ongoing treatments. Compensation can help cover these expenses.
  • Lost Wages – You may be eligible for compensation if a dog bite injury leaves you unable to work. This form of compensation covers both current and future lost wages.
  • Pain and Suffering – A dog attack injury can also cause emotional distress. As such, compensation for pain and suffering is awarded to help reduce the burden of these effects.
  • Other Damages – There may also be other damages available depending on the circumstances of the incident, like property damage and punitive damages if the dog owner behaved in a reckless manner.

The settlement amount available will depend on the incident’s specific circumstances and the damages sustained. A seasoned dog bite lawyer in South Carolina will help determine the compensation you deserve and hold negotiations with insurance companies to make sure you get a fair settlement.

How Long Can it Take to Recover Damages for a Dog Bite Claim?

Recovering damages for a dog bite claim in South Carolina can vary in duration depending on various factors, including the complexity of the case, the severity of the injuries, and the willingness of the parties to negotiate. While some cases may settle relatively quickly, others may take longer to resolve, especially if litigation becomes necessary.

Why Should I Hire a Dog Bite Attorney?

Hiring a dog bite attorney is paramount for multiple reasons. Legal representation proves invaluable when it comes to:

1. Navigating Legal Complexities

Understanding your rights and the path to compensation can feel overwhelming after a traumatic attack. A skilled dog bite lawyer acts as your guide through this complex legal maze. Their knowledge of state-specific laws and experience handling dog bite cases ensure you take the right steps to protect your interests.

2. Ensuring Maximum Compensation

Dog bites inflict more than just physical wounds. The emotional trauma and financial burden can be significant. An experienced dog bite lawyer understands this. The lawyer will work hard to build a robust case and negotiate a fair settlement, ensuring you receive the compensation you need to heal, rebuild your life, and move forward from this experience.

3. Dealing with Insurance Companies

Insurance companies are notorious for using all kinds of tactics to reduce or deny dog bite claims. These include downplaying your injuries, claiming you provoked the dog, or even trying to shift blame. These tactics can be draining and make a difficult situation even worse.

A dog bite attorney knows these insurance games. They’ll be your advocate, navigating the negotiation process fiercely to ensure you receive what you deserve.

4. Legal Representation

If the negotiations do not yield the desired results, the lawyer will serve as your advocate and represent you in court accordingly.

Hire a Dog Bite Lawyer Today!

Dog bites can have life-alerting effects, especially if you do not act fast. At JJWLS, we have lawyers who are adept at handling personal injury cases, including dog bites. They are well-versed in the statutes meant to protect your rights.

They will help garner the necessary evidence to create a solid case and work to ensure you get the settlement you deserve. Call us at [PHONE] to learn whether you have a valid case and what options may be viable.