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.
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.
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.