Given the affection many people feel for animals, it can prove traumatic when unexpectedly, someone else’s dog turns on our child or us. Many individuals will feel traumatized following a dog attack or a dog bite. Too often, this feeling does not go away easily.

Sadly, children constitute the most common victims of a dog bite or attack, which proves challenging for not only the child but for the parent as well. Children can suffer life-long trauma because someone failed to control an animal.

If you or your child suffered an attack by someone else’s dog in the Charlestown area, you deserve the right to hold the at-fault party accountable for the decision to allow the dog to roam free. Contact Hughey Law Firm immediately, and let us help you get compensation, so you don’t have to deal with the aftermath of a dog bite alone.

Hire an Injury Lawyer With Proven Results

No attorney can ever guarantee client-specific results in any lawsuit. However, for victims of any type of injury, including dog bites in Charleston, retaining an attorney with a record of securing favorable results for past clients can help put your mind at ease.

Dog bite claims can prove challenging. No dog owners want to admit their beloved dog attacked or bit another person without provocation. At the basis of every personal injury lawsuit are a victim and someone who does not want to accept responsibility for an action or a lack of action. However, we always strive to recover maximum compensation on behalf of our clients.

Devastating Injuries Suffered by Dog Bite Victims

No two dog bite victims suffer the same level of injury, and this stems from several different reasons. First, if a child experiences a serious dog bite, he or she will tend to suffer more serious injury because of not knowing how to react or because the dog may attack a larger portion of the child’s body.

When an adult feels threatened by a dog, the individual may attempt to get away before the dog has a chance to bite. These types of incidents may result in no bite wounds, but the aftermath of a fall can lead to as serious an injury as a full-frontal attack by a dog.

Some of the types of injuries that may occur because of an attack, or a dog bite, include:

  • Broken bones – whether because the dog gripped a victim by the wrist, or because the victim fell attempting to flee the dog, the attack may involve broken bones following a dog bite incident.
  • Soft tissue injuries – when a dog bites any fleshy part of the body, whether under the arm or in the thigh, the underlying tissue can suffer serious damage, and a victim may learn later that he or she has underlying tissue injuries.
  • Puncture wounds – a large dog has large teeth. Unfortunately, when a dog bites, a victim may suffer puncture wounds. These wounds can become seriously infected and leave scars.
  • Infections or rabies – anytime the skin tears from a body due to a dog bite, the injured individual faces a risk of infection. If a dog has not received all required vaccinations, a victim may also face the potential of contracting rabies, which involves very painful treatment.
  • Facial wounds/eye wounds – a dog may attack a victim’s face. These types of facial wounds can lead to permanent scarring, which may require plastic surgery to repair. Eye wounds can also cause serious injury or partial blindness.
  • Emotional trauma – while many studies and reports discuss a child’s trauma following a dog bite, adults may also suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a dog attack or bite.

Dog bites usually result in the same types of injuries. Regardless of the level of injury, you should not have to bear the financial liability associated with having your wounds, or those of your children, treated. Hughey Law Firm can help ensure that you do not have to bear the financial burden associated with having wounds from a dog bite treated.

Dog Owners Bear Responsibility

Many states forgive dog owners for the first time their dogs bite. South Carolina, however, does not recognize the one-bite rule; instead, South Carolina follows the doctrine of strict liability, which means that every victim of a Charleston dog bite or attack can recover compensation for the damages inflicted upon them by a dog.

According to South Carolina law regarding dog bites:

“Whenever any 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 owner of the dog or other person having the dog in his care or keeping, the owner of the dog or other person having the dog in his care or keeping is liable for the damages suffered by the person bitten or otherwise attacked.”

This means that anyone who has a dog who attacks or bites another person, whether that person is a child or an adult, has a right to receive compensation for all resulting injuries, as well as the financial damages incurred because of those injuries.

At Hughey Law Firm, we help victims get compensation to cover the full cost of their injuries following a Charleston dog bite or attack. In these situations, the dog owner should bear the financial pain a victim suffers following a dog bite, not the victim.

What Can I Include in a Charleston Dog Bite Injury Claim?

You should bear in mind that injuries following a dog bite will vary greatly depending on certain factors, including the age of the victim and the victim’s position—sitting or standing—at the time of the attack, the size and breed of dog, and other factors.

Most dog bite victims demand certain compensation in their claims, including:

  • Medical costs – you can likely recover the cost of the visit to the doctor immediately following a dog bite, when not covered by your insurance, in a dog bite claim.
  • Lost wages – if you must miss work because of a dog bite or an attack, you shouldn’t have to bear liability for the losses that you suffer related to your recovery. Discuss this with your lawyer because you can likely recover more than just your hourly wages.
  • Property damage – you should include damage to your clothing, telephone, or any other personal property that suffered damage during the dog attack in your claim.
  • Estimated future expenses – you may face future expenses related to your dog bite accident, including treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder because of a dog attack. Some victims will suffer ongoing emotional problems that may require long-term treatment.

Your lawyer can help you prepare a thorough claim. Remember, you generally only have one opportunity to get this right and pursue compensation that covers the full cost of your dog bite injuries, including future costs. Following a dog attack, you should contact an experienced Charleston dog bite attorney as quickly as possible to get legal advice and support.

Despite Liability, Owner Refuses to Cooperate

A homeowner or a renter who has insurance coverage typically has a liability policy as part of the coverage. In some cases, an insurance policy will have a “breed restriction”, meaning if a person’s dog is a breed that is excluded from coverage—although typically this includes pit bulls and other aggressive breeds—their coverage offers no liability coverage to pay for damages a victim may have because of a dog bite in Charleston.

Keep in mind, if a dog owner had previously known their dog could bite or attack and failed to notify their insurance company, the company may also refuse to pay. Either way, the dog owner must cooperate with the victim to obtain the contact information to file an insurance claim following a Charleston dog bite.

Remember that one of the defenses most people launch in defense of their dog is that the dog was provoked or would not have bitten someone. This is not usually the case, so do not let them get away with this tactic. A dog owner has a responsibility to always keep their dog under control.

Because of the potential, you will not gain the owner’s cooperation, the process you should follow when you have been bitten by a dog in Charleston is important.

Here are the preliminary steps:

  • Get to safety – the first thing you need to be concerned about is being safe. Get as far away from the dog as reasonably possible to prevent further injury.
  • Document – fortunately, we live in a time where we generally have a cell phone at our fingertips. Photograph the dog and the area where you were attacked. Take photos of your injury as well. If the owner of the dog is there, get their contact information accurately so it can be used later. Inquire whether the dog is current on their vaccinations.
  • Medical attention – you must get medical attention as soon after a dog bite as possible. Remember, even if you do not see blood, the dog may still have injured you. Get to your local trauma center, emergency room, or your own physician as soon as possible.
  • Report the incident – the hospital or doctor will report the dog bite to the Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCdhec). You may want to wait a few days and confirm your visit was reported to them accurately.
  • Contact a dog bite lawyer – because you may not understand what rights you have, contact one of the dog bite attorneys at Hughey Law Firm. We can help protect your rights.

Every dog bite in Charleston involves unique facts and circumstances, and you may struggle to characterize what steps an at-fault dog owner or the at-fault insurer will take to avoid paying you the money for your damages. However, we will help you hold these parties accountable and make that you don’t have to deal with the stacks of bills and financial losses that stem from your dog bite.

Dog Bite Attorney in Charleston

Understanding the Costs of Legal Help for Dog Bite Claims

We understand that dog bite victims may feel concerned about running up excess costs while recovering from their injuries. After all, who wants another bill to pay? Keep something in mind, to establish a case, initially, you will have to discuss your options with an attorney.

When you first contact a law firm that has experienced handling personal injury cases, such as dog bites, the firm will likely offer you a free initial consultation. This consultation will also allow a lawyer to evaluate your case and provide you with information that will clearly define what legal options you have to ensure that you fully recover financially following a Charleston dog bite.

When you hire the Hughey Law Firm, your case will involve a contingency fee agreement—you will not pay any legal fees upfront. Instead of collecting money from a Charleston dog bite victim ahead of time or as the case proceeds, we will collect legal fees if we successfully obtain compensation from the dog owner (or the insurer). We will only take a percentage of the proceeds of the settlement as per your retainer agreement.

Once you obtain this final settlement, the insurance company or the dog owner faces no further obligation to pay any bills associated with the dog bite. Accordingly, it makes financial sense to work with a lawyer who understands the importance of filing a thorough and accurate initial claim to ensure you recover all of the compensation you need.

Call a Charleston Area Dog Bite Lawyer Today

If you, your child, or a loved one has sustained injuries because of a dog attack or a dog bite, and you live in the Charleston area, you should contact Hughey Law Firm as soon as possible. Remember, you only have a limited time to recover compensation for your injuries under South Carolina law.

We stand ready to help; contact Hughey Law Firm today at (843) 881-8644, and find out more about your legal rights, assess your options, and get your questions answered.