Dog bite injuries are more serious than many people realize. Besides the pain and suffering of the bite itself, the victim could face long-term complications such as exposure to rabies, infection, and decreased mobility.
When dog owners fail to prevent their pets from harming others, they can be held liable in court.
It starts with retaining a lawyer who is ready to fight relentlessly for your legal rights as a dog attack victim. If you or a loved one were bitten by a dog, talk to our dog bite lawyer in Greenville, SC. Reach out now to attorney Angela Frazier for representation.
Common Dog Bite Injuries and Complications
A dog bite can inflict severe injury and lead to additional problems for the victim. These are a few of the most common dog bite injuries and complications:
- Puncture wounds: Dogs bite with such force that their sharp teeth can easily puncture the skin. This may cause intense pain, bleeding, and scarring.
- Broken bones: Shattered bones are also common because of the pressure exerted by a dog’s jaw. The dog may knock somebody to the ground, causing additional bone fractures.
- Bruising: Young and elderly dog bite victims have less protective tissue and are therefore particularly vulnerable to bruising. Deep bruising can limit mobility and cause tremendous pain.
- Infection and disease: A dog may carry bacteria and diseases such as rabies. If the wound is not properly treated, the injury site may become infected and pose additional health risks.
- Face and neck injuries: A severe dog bite can leave permanent damage to the eyes, cheeks, and other parts of the face. If the dog attacks a person’s neck, the injuries may be life-threatening.
- Disfigurement: The damage done to the hands, arms, and other parts of the body could cause disfigurement. To repair this, the injured will likely need plastic surgery.
- Trauma: Although most dog bite injuries are physical, victims’ emotional injuries and psychological trauma should not be overlooked. It is possible to seek compensation for these losses as well.
What to Do After Being Bitten by a Dog
People who are attacked by a dog are often in pain and bewildered in the immediate aftermath.
But to protect your rights, it’s critical to remain calm, stay focused and do the following:
Get medical assistance
While all of the steps listed here are important, be sure you don’t neglect your health. If you call the police, you may consider requesting emergency medical services at the same time.
Otherwise, obtain first aid and visit an urgent care clinic, emergency room, or another medical facility as soon as you can. Follow the recommended treatment regimen your doctor prescribes.
Identify the dog and its owner
If the dog’s owner is absent, you may need to either carefully attempt to read a dog tag (if the animal has one) or ask any witnesses if they know who owns the dog. If the owner is present, he or she may try to deny responsibility or leave. Use caution when confronting the owner and call the police if you feel unsafe.
File a dog bite report
It’s critical to generate a report of the bite as early as possible so you can document the injury and the details surrounding it. You can call the county animal control or law enforcement to ask for help with this step. Or feel free to call our law office and we can walk you through the process.
Start organizing your evidence
There are many steps involved at this stage. If you haven’t already spoken to witnesses and obtained their contact information, do so. Take pictures and record video of the dog, its owner, the place where the incident occurred, and your injuries. Find out where the owner lives and obtain his or her contact information if possible. Begin taking your notes about the incident as well.
Is South Carolina a Strict Liability State for Dog Bites?
Under South Carolina law, a dog owner is strictly liable for damages that a victim who is “bitten or otherwise attacked” suffers. Strict liability means that the victim only has to prove that the dog caused his or her injuries, not that there were previous instances of dog bites or fault. However, the owner is not liable if the bite victim provoked the animal to attack.
Why Do Dogs Bite?
Other than being deliberately provoked, there are many reasons a dog may attack someone.
- Fear: If the dog is in unfamiliar territory or is afraid, it is best to not go near the animal because it may lash out.
- Protective over possessions: Dogs are territorial and can become violently defensive if someone is perceived as a threat to their food, water, puppies, or owners.
- Injury or illness: A sick or injured dog is more prone to attack due to discomfort and should therefore not be approached.
- Rough play: While dogs can be playful, things can quickly get out of hand and the dog can become aggressive towards humans.
- Unfamiliar touch: When a stranger pets a dog, the unfamiliar interaction may startle the animal and trigger agitation and aggression.
How Much is a Dog Bite Claim Worth?
Every dog bite case is different, and the value of each one will depend on numerous factors.
- The severity of the dog bite itself, or more specifically, the nature of the injuries
- Whether the victim suffers permanent consequences such as disfigurement, disability, and loss of mobility
- The extent of the victim’s medical needs and whether traditionally expensive remedies like hospitalization and surgery are needed
- Any need for future treatments to address complications like rabies and infection
- Whether the dog bite injury prevents the victim from working or working at the same productivity level as before the attack
- The size, breed, and disposition of the dog, should have prompted the owner to take additional precautionary measures
- Whether the dog’s owner was especially negligent (e.g., if the owner knew of the dog’s propensity for violence), which may support a claim for punitive damages
- Whether and to what extent the victim suffers trauma and other emotional damages
A homeowner’s insurance policy may be required to pay the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.
Contact Greenville Dog Bite Attorney Angela Frazier
At Elliott Frazier — Family, Personal Injury, & Car Accident Attorneys, LLC, we believe nobody should have to suffer a dog bite, let alone the medical bills, lost time from work, and emotional injuries that stem from these attacks. Having an experienced Greenville dog bite lawyer is the best way to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Let attorney Angela Frazier fight for you today. Contact us by phone at 864.256.3553 or use our online contact form.