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What is South Carolina's Dog Bite Law?

What is South Carolina's Dog Bite Law?

Dogs can be the best pets. They can offer unconditional love, comfort, companionship and protection. Some dogs are extremely intelligent. Some can even detect seizures or help people with PTSD. But all the wonderful things about dogs aside, we can’t forget that dogs are still animals and they can be extremely dangerous.

Dog bites and attacks are not to be underestimated. They can lead to permanent scarring, disfigurement and even death. When a small child is viciously attacked by a dog, he or she may not only be physically scarred for life, but the attack itself can lead to the development of PTSD and a great fear of all dogs, large and small.

Since dog bites and attacks are a very real threat, especially among dogs who have been socially neglected or abused by humans, what does South Carolina law say about dog owner liability in the event of a dog bite or attack?

South Carolina Dog Bite Law

For starters, the statute of limitations or “deadline” for filing a dog bite claim in South Carolina is three years from the date of the injury. If you’ve been bitten by a vicious dog and you miss this window and you file a claim, the court will almost certainly throw your lawsuit out. So, if you’re thinking about filing a dog bite claim, it’s crucial that you do so sooner than later.

Section 47-3-110 of the South Carolina Code of Laws addresses dog bites and attacks. Under Sec. 47-3-110(A), it reads, “If a person is bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog while the person is in a public place or is lawfully in a private place, including the property of the dog owner or person having the dog in the person’s care or keeping, the dog owner or person having the dog in the person’s care or keeping is liable for the damages suffered by the person bitten or otherwise attacked.”

South Carolina’s dog bite law is known as a “strict liability law,” which means that dog owners are legally liable when their dogs hurt innocent people, even if the dog had never bitten before, and even if the dog owner had to clue that the dog would bite or attack someone. That is assuming the dog was not provoked.

Related: What Are Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

Need a Columbia personal injury attorney to handle your dog bite claim? Contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC today.


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