Dog/Animal Attack Lawyers
The CDC reports that approximately 4.7 million dog bites and animal attacks happen in the United States every year. Dog and animal attacks can be traumatic and lead to permanent injuries. It is important to know your legal rights when dealing with the aftermath of a dog or animal bite. Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers at Branch & Dhillon, P.C are here to help you receive the compensation you deserve from the owner of an aggressive dog or animal. If you’ve been bitten by a dog or other pet, contact us today.
Dangerous Dog and Animal Codes
Laws regarding animal and dog attacks vary from state to state. It is important that you know your state laws before filing a personal injury lawsuit after a dog attack.
South Carolina’s Code of Laws
According to the South Carolina Code of Laws, Article 2 Section 47-3-110, if a person is bitten or attacked by a dog while in a public place or at a private residence – including both the victim or dog owner’s property – the owner of the dog is held responsible. This law does not apply under the following circumstances:
- The dog was provoked by the victim
- The victim was bitten by a police canine
- The victim was trespassing on the owner’s property
Texas’s One Bite Rule
The state of Texas, on the other hand, does not have its own laws regarding dog bites; instead, Texas follows the United States Restatement of Torts, section 509 when handling dog bite cases. This law is also known as the “One Bite Rule,” and it states that a dog can attack a person once without the owner being held liable. The reasoning behind the law is that the owner of the dog may have been unaware that the dog was dangerous until the incident occurred; therefore, you may have to find other victims before filing a lawsuit.
Negligence of Dog Owners in Texas
The only exception to the One Bite Rule in Texas is if the victim can prove that the owner of the dog or other animal was negligent. Negligence can only be proven if
- the pet owner had a duty to the injured;
- the pet owner breached their duty; and
- this breach of duty was the cause of the victim’s injuries.
If all of the above can be proven, then a Texas animal owner can be held liable for the attack even if the dog has never attacked anyone before.
What Should I Do if I have been Attacked by a Dog or Animal?
Dog/animal attacks are traumatic experiences. The most important thing to remember after a dog attack is that your personal safety comes first. Here are the three major steps you should take if you’re ever the victim of a dog/animal attack:
Seek Medical Attention
If you have been attacked or bitten by a dog or other animal, it is important to seek out medical attention immediately. The medical staff can document the wounds and help decrease the risk of infection. Make sure that you notify your doctor that the wounds are caused by an animal; that way, they can give you the proper treatment and take the necessary precautions if there is a concern about rabies or infection.
File a Report with the Police and Animal Control
Once you have sought out medical attention, you need to file a report with the police. It is typically required that you submit a written statement of the attack when reporting a dangerous dog. This statement should be notarized.
You will also need to file a report with Animal Control. That way, the attack will be on file in case the dog ever attacks anyone else.
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
In order to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve, you need to contact a personal injury lawyer right away. At Branch & Dhillon, our experts will help you gather the correct documentation, medical records, and statements needed to help you prove your damages and get the compensation you deserve.
Are Dog Bites Public Record?
All instances of animal attacks are public record. Each state has their own laws regarding the release of such information. In Texas, these laws are outlined by the Texas Public Information Act. In South Carolina, the regulations are outlined by the South Carolina National Freedom of Information Coalition.
For the incident to be added to the public record in either state, you need to contact the police and animal control. In a court of law, being able to prove a dog or animal’s aggressive history may be the difference between winning and losing the case.
Does Insurance Cover Dog Bites?
Most insurance providers do include dog bites within their insurance policies. All of the following insurance plans may include coverage for dog bites:
- Homeowners Insurance
- Renters Insurance
- Condo Insurance
- Motor Home Insurance
- Landlords Insurance
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- Commercial General Liability Insurance
There are a few exceptions, such as if the dog owner has inadequate or no insurance, or if the dog owner maliciously and intentionally provoked the dog to bite you.
How Can I Protect Myself From Dog Bites?
There are many reasons why a dog might be aggressive. A history of abuse, improper training, territorial behavior, and anxiety can all trigger a dog to become aggressive. Here are some tips for avoiding dog bites:
- Make sure you never approach an unknown dog, even if its owner is present
- Make sure to talk with the owner before approaching the dog
- Avoid unleashed dogs
- If a dog is coming towards you, do not run; running will trigger the dog’s natural instincts to chase its prey
Signs of an Aggressive Dog
There are a few signs that may help you identify an aggressive dog, such as
- Showing teeth
- Hair standing up on their back
Dog Attack Attorney in Texas, South Carolina, and Virginia
If you or your child has been bitten by a dog or other animal, contact Branch & Dhillon, P.C. We’ll fight hard to make sure that you receive full compensation for your injuries and other damages. Remember, if we are not successful in getting compensation on your behalf, you owe us nothing. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys in Texas, South Carolina, or Virginia.