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South Carolina
Personal Injury Law Blog

Dog bite risks and liability in South Carolina

Dogs can be exceptional family companions, offering affection and loyalty to their human counterparts. They are often integral members of households.

Nevertheless, even the most gentle and well-trained dogs can occasionally exhibit aggressive behavior that may result in injuries or bites.

Preventing dog bites

Avoiding unfamiliar dogs and refraining from teasing or provoking them are helpful precautions. It is advisable to supervise children in the presence of dogs. Kids between the ages of five and nine are most likely to experience dog attacks. In addition, dog-related fatalities disproportionately impact young children and toddlers.

Furthermore, socializing pets and providing training can contribute to reducing aggression. Staying alert about warning signs like growling or bared teeth helps prevent injuries.

Taking immediate action is beneficial in the unfortunate event of a dog bite. Seeking prompt medical attention can reduce the risk of infections or other complications. Documenting the injuries with photographs and videos is important. Reporting the incident to the authorities assists in creating an official record.

Liability for dog bites

In South Carolina, the law adopts a strict stance on dog bites. Under this statute, dog owners bear responsibility for any injuries their dogs inflict on others. Unlike some states, South Carolina does not have a “one bite” rule. If a dog here injures someone, the owner is liable, regardless of the dog’s prior behavior. This liability extends to incidents that occurred on private property. Additionally, the injured person does not need to sustain an actual bite. Any dog attack leading to injuries qualifies for legal recourse.

While the liability statute is stringent, exceptions exist. A three-year statute of limitations governs the timeframe for starting a lawsuit linked to a dog bite. Liability exemptions also include cases of provocation in which the injured person incited the dog through abuse or teasing.

Trespassers often do not receive coverage. However, this exemption does not apply to those required to enter properties, such as delivery workers and mail carriers. Law enforcement dogs following commands and training standards also have immunity from liability.

Knowing the potential risks associated with dog attacks and the legal options you can take after one happens is important.