An attack by a ‘domesticated animal’ may have been the last thing you expected. But with 1 out of 50 Americans sustaining a dog bite each year (totaling 4.7 million people annually), you could unwittingly become 1 of the 914 victims sent to the ER with dog bite injuries on any given day.
Medical attention comes first, and your next best step is to connect with a Charleston dog bite attorney who will ensure your rights are protected and that all the right boxes are checked toward building a solid case. Auger & Auger Personal Injury Lawyers are highly familiar with Charleston animal regulations and dog bite laws, and we have a formidable success record of getting our clients the compensation to which they were entitled.
At times, insurance adjusters will demonstrate bad faith in handling your claim, an occurrence that could prompt our pursuing a civil court case instead of a settlement. Examples of this deceptive treatment might be: a) purposely stalling the progress of the investigation, b) requesting excessive or irrelevant documentation from you, c) changing an adjuster midstream, d) attempting cancellation of their policy, etc.
Over 36% of households in the United States include at least one dog. It’s been proven that dogs help to increase our exercise levels, decrease stress and provide delightful playmates for our families. Sometimes it’s even hard to remember that they have adapted to us and not the other way around.
However, we need to remember that while our domesticated canines appear to enjoy more naps and general loafing, their thinly-veiled lack of interest can quickly switch over to their animal instincts.
Notice how a dog is strikingly similar to a human infant in how they pay attention to us. Your dog may be so closely attuned to you that they will ‘read’ something as subtle as a change in your eye direction. This may be a source of pride for you, but it should also forewarn how quickly a dog’s reaction can change from submissive to forcefully aggressive. If another person’s dog decides to bite or attack you, it won’t decrease your stress! Instead, you may be hurt, in pain, and getting expensive medical care for your wounds.
Remaining confident is a good thing; however, you’ll also want to maintain cautious body language because the wrong attitude can provoke an attack.
Spaying or neutering dogs has been proven to lessen a dog’s dominance-related behaviors, such as barking, aggression, biting, and mounting. If you’re having trouble affording the procedure, look into low-cost spay/neuter programs in Charleston.
Socialization is a significant factor in reducing your dog’s apprehension around strangers and other animals. Many parks and local veterinarians sponsor these classes for low fees. If you know your dog is socially anxious, be careful when you start socialization classes. Keep your dog on a leash so you can pull them back if they show aggression toward another dog or person.
Don’t bring your dog’s favorite toy, treats, or human food to the dog park, as this may trigger territorial aggression.
A dog on a leash will react defensively when approached by unleashed dogs; follow suit at the dog park and unleash your dog.
Be aware that dog attacks in Charleston fall under ‘strict liability,’ i.e., the victim does not have to prove the owner was negligent. The ‘One Bite’ Law is not in effect in South Carolina, so first-time offenders have no ‘free pass.’ The only exception is proving that the victim intentionally provoked your dog.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week® takes place during the second full week of April each year and focuses on educating people about preventing dog bites.
Here are the steps to take to help protect your legal rights after being attacked by a dog:
There are three important things you will need to be able to prove for your dog bite claim:
In most cases, we will start by filing a claim with the dog owner’s home insurance policy. However, there are several possible hangups:
Depending on your particular situation, we will handle the issues with your claim differently. In many cases, a thorough investigation turns up more witnesses and sometimes even video evidence that is useful in your case. Once we’ve built a strong case, we’ll address the other party’s claims. If the owner or the insurance carrier says that you provoked the dog or received injuries in some other way, we will explain the evidence to the contrary, including statements from witnesses to the attack. In many cases, this helps encourage the insurance company to rethink its denial. If not, we will proceed to court to prove your case.
We may also consider a lawsuit against the owner if the owner does not have valid insurance. In certain situations, South Carolina does allow lawsuits against a landlord if you were bitten by a tenant’s dog in a common area of an apartment building, so this may be an option in a few cases. Our dog bite lawyers will check for any available insurance policies that may cover your claim.
If you cannot identify the dog, our investigators will visit the scene and talk to neighbors or people who work in the area. Sometimes we’re able to identify the dog and owner after all.
You may have a lot to deal with if you’ve been the victim of a dog bite. You could suffer from painful injuries, stress or anxiety brought on by the attack, expensive medical bills, and even potentially lost time at work. We will review all your losses and carefully consider them when helping you determine how much compensation to request. Here are some potential damages to think about:
If you or a loved one has sustained a dog attack, our Charleston dog bite attorney stands ready to advocate on your behalf and help to protect your rights within South Carolina law. A swift identification must be made of the animal and the owner or other responsible parties to authenticate the evidence necessary to support your claim. You must also file an animal incident report with the SCDHEC.
There may have been painful injuries along with ferociously inflicted rips, tears, and fractures. In addition to ensuring swift attention for your medical needs, Auger & Auger offers a zero-fee guarantee because we have mastered the art of compelling evidence-gathering to determine how your claim is best pursued. If no satisfactory settlement can be reached with insurers, we will represent your case in civil court.
Call (843) 751-4690 for your free consultation today, with no fees due until recovery!