Dog Bite Attorneys
Dog Bite Attorneys
One of the most common personal injury cases involves dog bite claims. Each year, over 4.5 million people suffer from dog bites, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of these cases, around 8,000,000 victims require medical care. The bites can range from a minor injury to something permanently disfiguring that could affect you for the rest of your life. Our legal team at The Eichholz Law Firm has experience seeking justice for victims who have sustained injuries from dog bites. In order to protect the rights of our clients and firmly establish liability, we begin our investigations immediately.
We remove our clients from the line of fire by personally dealing with the owner’s insurance company and its lawyers, which forces them to work with legal representatives who understand what we are doing. If you have experienced trauma due to an animal attack, you should contact our attorneys right away so we can discuss your legal options, and set a process in motion to help you receive compensation for your injuries.
The Eichholz Law Firm has years of experience in handling dog bite lawsuits. Our legal team has helped countless victims receive compensation for their injuries. If you are looking to file a dog bite lawsuit for damages, contact us at (855) 551-1019, or fill out a free, no-obligation contact form.
Why Dogs Bite
If dogs are provoked, they can bite no matter what gender or size they are. When a dog becomes stressed, is trying to protect its owner, or is defending its territory, biting is a natural response for them. Dogs could also bite a person for other reasons including:
- Pain-induced hostility
- Maternal hostility
- Fear hostility
- Protecting valuables
- Dominance hostility
Dog Bites and Workers’ Compensation
Workers who need to enter homes or be present on private property to perform their duties, including home construction workers, plumbers, and delivery men, have an “implied invitation” to be there. During work hours if an employee is bitten by a dog on private property, they are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, which includes wage replacement and medical benefits.
Moreover, if an employee is bitten on the job, they may also be eligible to file a lawsuit against the dog owner if the owner isn’t their employer. The injured employee can request compensation for the suffering and pain they have endured, including other losses that workers’ compensation doesn’t cover when they file a claim against the dog owner.
Homeowners Insurance: Dog Bite Coverage
Depending on the homeowners’ policy a dog owner has, there are some policies that cover legal liability expenses for dog bites up to the limits of the policy. The dog owner will need to accept responsibility for any damages above the limit of their insurance coverage if the claim exceeds the policy’s limits. An injured person can still file a case against the owner to receive compensation for damages regardless of whether the dog owner has homeowners insurance that covers dog bites. If a victim was bitten inside of a dog owner’s vehicle, their auto insurance may also cover the incident. Some pet insurance policies cover situations that stem from dog ownership, including dog bites.
Our firm will examine the declarations page of the dog owner’s insurance policy to determine what type of insurance coverage they have. If the policy limits do not appear to be sufficient, our team will figure out if there are any supplemental policies that might apply.
If the dog owner is difficult and refuses to offer us any proof of insurance coverage, our legal team will use the discovery phase to gain access to any necessary documents for examination. During this part of the lawsuit, attorneys from both sides must share and divulge any information they have with each other.
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Dog Bite Injury Laws in South Carolina
In South Carolina, a stringent liability statute ensures that dog owners are held accountable for any damages incurred by an individual who is bitten or assaulted by their pet. The victim of the dog bite is not required to demonstrate that the owner was aware or should have been aware of the dog’s propensity to attack.
In contrast, several other states follow the “one-bite rule,” which mandates that the victim must establish that the dog owner was already aware of the dog’s dangerous nature, typically because it had bitten someone previously. In simpler terms, the dog is allowed one “free” bite before the owner can be deemed liable in these jurisdictions.
However, South Carolina’s approach is different. The state’s laws provide greater protection to dog attack victims compared to states that follow the one-bite rule, and present a more straightforward case for liability.
According to Section 47-3-110 of the South Carolina Code, a dog owner or caretaker may be held responsible for the injuries sustained by a person who has been attacked by the dog if:
- The injuries result from the dog biting “or otherwise attacking” an individual in a public area.
- The injured individual had authorization to be in the location where the attack transpired, such as the owner’s backyard.
One Bite Rule
Some states have laws that say that dogs are not considered dangerous or vicious unless they have bitten someone else, and the owner was aware of their violent history. It is apparent that a dog is vicious if it bites another person. The owner could claim they never knew their dog was dangerous without that bite. Simply put, a dog owner is only responsible for damages a victim sustained from a bite after their second offense. If it is the dog’s first offense, you may not be able to claim any damages.
There is no such law in South Carolina. The stringent liability legislation in South Carolina mandates that dog owners are held accountable for any harm incurred by an individual who has been bitten or assaulted by their pet. It is not necessary for the victim of a dog bite to demonstrate that the owner was aware or ought to have been aware of the dog’s propensity for aggression.
Possible Dog Owner Defenses
Certain specifics about dog bites differ from state-to-state, but there are some common arguments that opposing attorneys will attempt to use to defend dog owners, including:
Contributory Negligence or Assumption of Risk: If a dog owner adequately warned the victim about their dog but they disregarded it, the owner could argue that the victim was partially to blame for their injuries. If argued successfully in a court of law, this point could either completely eliminate or reduce their ability to recover damages for their injuries.
Trespassing: Trespassers have some legal protections, but according to South Carolina’s statutes regarding dog bites, the victim would be required to prove that the dog bite happened on public property. If this rule applies an injured victim will not be eligible to receive damages if the bite took place while they were trespassing.
Provocation: The dog owner could attempt to claim innocence by saying that the victim provoked the dog prior to the bite. Examples of provocation include backing a dog into a corner or poking one with a stick, and aggressively flailing one’s arms to provoke fear.
Our experienced attorneys at The Eichholz Law Firm can dismantle and refute an opposing attorney’s tactics, including the ones we mentioned above. Here are several types of damages a victim could recover in a dog bite case:
If a dog owner’s behavior is deemed reckless, a court of law could make them pay out an additional settlement known as punitive damages. This is intended to financially punish the owner, as well as make a strong statement that will prevent any similar behavior from happening in the future.
If a state uses a strict liability statute, you likely will not receive punitive damages. This statute holds a dog owner responsible for the bite regardless of how careless they are or what the dog’s history is.
Victims typically miss time from work due to medical diagnoses, doctor visits, hospitalization, treatment, rehabilitation, and recuperation. For these reasons, victims can receive compensation for any lost income. If the injury permanently affects a victim’s ability to perform their job, they could also receive compensation due to loss of earning capacity.
Pain & Suffering
Of course, animal bites cause lots of pain. The pain can be unbearable, depending on the severity of the attack. Dealing with ongoing medical procedures related to physical pain can be quite demanding.
There are a variety of medical expenses a dog bite victim could incur, including charges for ER, X-rays, physicians, technicians, medication, physical therapy, and psychologist visits. There may even be charges for intensive care or a hospital stay, depending on the severity of the attack.
Contact A Dog Bite Attorney Today
The Eichholz Law Firm has experienced attorneys who will walk you through the entire litigation procedure for a dog bite injury case. It is important that you find a dog bite lawyer who will offer you expert legal advice and be able to support you through a difficult time.
Call our legal team today at (855)-551-1019 or fill out an online form for a free consultation.
Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.
At the Eichholz Law Firm We Are Lawyers That Care About You
Our clients are at the center of everything we do and our team is focused on delivering results. We are committed to fighting for justice and increased social responsibility in our community.
Our objective is to provide expert legal services in an effort to maximize results for clients who have been injured through the negligence of others.