Dog Bites Lawyers in Columbia Are on Your Side
They say that dogs are man’s best friend, but anyone who has experienced the pain and emotional trauma of a dog attack would probably tell you otherwise. The truth is that no matter how careful dog owners are, dogs are still animals, and any dog can bite at any time. If you or a loved one has had the unfortunate experience of being the victim of a dog bite, you may be wondering what your legal options are and how you can seek compensation for the medical expenses you may have incurred.
Cases involving dog bites are usually handled by personal injury lawyers like the team at Cavanaugh & Thickens, LLC. We’ve put together all of the information you need to know about dog bites and filing a lawsuit.
Dog attacks can have devastating consequences, and it can be difficult to understand what your options are and who you can hold accountable. Call our firm today to talk to a dog bite attorney and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Happen With a Dog Bite?
Dogs have very powerful jaws and sharp teeth, which means that dog attacks can cause serious injury. Here are some common dog bite injuries that can occur. Keep in mind that while bigger dogs usually cause more severe injuries, even bites from small dogs can cause serious injuries. It’s important to seek immediate medical treatment for any and all injuries sustained as a result of a dog bite to protect your health and have documentation of your injuries for any legal action later on.
Broken bones are one of the common dog bite injuries due to the force that the dog’s jaws put on the bite area. Broken bones are often found in bites to the extremities and the face. This is because the bones in these areas have less muscle to pad them. For example, a bite to the hand is more likely to result in a broken bone than a bite to the thigh. If you have experienced a broken bone as a result of your dog bite, it’s important to discuss what this could mean for your future with an attorney. Broken bones can take several weeks to heal and often require surgery to set them properly. All of this can add up to significant medical expenses and lost wages from time taken off of work to heal. When you file a dog bite lawsuit, you may be able to recover some of this money from the liable party.
Puncture wounds happen in a dog attack because of the shape of the dog’s teeth. While dog teeth are often blunt to the touch, when they go through the skin with force, such as with a dog bite, it can cause puncture wounds. It’s also common for there to be tearing of the skin around the punctures as well. Puncture wounds are more prone to infection and can be more complicated to heal, so make sure to discuss your injuries and what future treatment and therapies may be required with a dog bite lawyer.
Nerve damage is one of the common dog attack injuries, and it can be one of the longest lasting as well because it is often permanent. When the dog’s teeth go through areas like the hands or feet that are full of nerves, it can sever those nerves. While it is possible for nerves to regenerate eventually, it’s often a long and painful process. Nerve damage can greatly affect overall motor function, such as not being able to hold a cup of coffee and the victim’s quality of life.
Physical injuries often leave scars, and dog bites, in particular, can leave extensive scarring due to the jagged nature of the bite. Scarring can also impact a range of motion, as these areas may need ongoing physical therapy to develop mobility again, and it can also cause emotional trauma. For example, if a person sustains a dog bite to the face and is left with scarring, they may be self-conscious and have difficulty in social situations. This emotional trauma may be able to be factored into your lawsuit as part of pain and suffering.
Dogs’ mouths have different bacteria in them that is necessary for them to be able to break down and digest their food, but it can greatly increase the chances of infection when a dog bite occurs. Infection can happen very soon after the bite, but it can also be something that can come up several days or even weeks after the attack if there are issues with the wound healing.
Who Is Held Responsible for a Dog Bite?
Who is held responsible for a dog bite is a question that has to be asked and answered early on in the process because you have to have a liable party to file a lawsuit. South Carolina operates under the strict liability rule. This means that in cases where the dog has a clear legal owner, that owner is liable. Dog owners are required to take proper precautions, such as not letting the dog run loose in the yard and adhering to local leash laws, to ensure that others are kept safe.
However, it’s important to note two other factors that must be considered when determining liability: the one bite rule and the provocation exception. The one bite rule is when a dog is usually given one bite before they are categorized as aggressive or a nuisance. However, that doesn’t mean that the owner still can’t be held liable. The provocation exception means that the owner of a dog can’t be held liable for damages due to a dog bite injury if the victim provoked the dog into biting them.
If the dog was a stray and doesn’t have a legal owner, it can be very difficult to win any kind of personal injury case because it’s hard to prove that any one party had responsibility for the dog. If this is the case, you may need to do more investigation into the dog’s history and if there was an owner at any time, such as by scanning for a microchip to determine ownership.
The nuances of these laws can be challenging, so it’s important to discuss the particulars of your case with a dog bite lawyer who is familiar with the laws and regulations and can help you understand if you have a case and who you can hold liable.
What Are the Possible Penalties for the Dog Owner?
If you win a dog bite case, the dog owner will face certain consequences. In most cases, this involves monetary penalties. The dog’s owner may have to pay fines as well as pay the compensation awarded to the victim as part of the lawsuit. Other possible penalties dog owners may face include taking additional precautions to ensure the dog doesn’t bite again, such as installing a fence and even possibly having the dog put down in the case of a dog with rabies or a pattern of aggressive behavior and biting.
What Legal Options Do Dog Bite Victims Have?
Dog bite victims have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit under South Carolina law after a dog attack to seek financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages from work, and even pain and suffering. If you have questions about how you may be able to recover compensation for dog-related injuries after an animal attack, the first step is to talk with an experienced dog bite attorney.
Once you seek medical treatment and get a full understanding of your injuries and prognosis, an attorney can help you determine what a reasonable amount of damages would be to cover medical expenses. Dog bite lawyers often have experience in settling cases out of court and pursuing lawsuits all the way to trial. They can help you understand the pros and cons of each option so you can make an educated decision regarding your dog bite claim.
Don’t wait to find out what your options are after experiencing a dog attack. Talk to an experienced dog bite lawyer at Cavanaugh & Thickens, LLC, today to find out how our law firm can represent your interests and help you get the compensation you deserve. Call (803) 888-2200 to schedule your free consultation today.