You have rights if you or a family member suffered injuries from a Columbia dog attack. South Carolina law holds dog owners liable for the harm and damages their dog causes. A Columbia dog bite lawyer from our team can help you develop a claim and recover compensation for your medical care, time missed at work, and more. You can talk to a team member for free today.
Contact Louthian Law Firm, P.A. about your Columbia dog bite injuries today. Our Columbia personal injury lawyers can discuss your rights, injuries, and options for seeking compensation. We can also answer your questions about these cases, our services, and our fees. We work based on contingency fees, which means you owe us nothing unless we win for you.
Let Our Columbia Dog Bite Attorney From Louthian Law Firm, P.A. Help
Our attorneys from Louthian Law Firm, P.A. could go to work on your Columbia personal injury case right away. We help our clients fight for the compensation they need and deserve based on the facts of their cases. Our firm has the knowledge, experience, and resources to fight a dog owner’s insurance company or take the case to court to request fair compensation.
When you work with our team, you can expect to receive regular communications from your dog bite lawyer and have access to us when you need us. Of course, you can be as involved as you want—but we understand that you have injuries you need to focus on, so we can handle everything while you heal.
Our team can:
- Manage all communication with the insurer, defendant, and court
- Update you on the case progress regularly
- Answer your questions promptly
- Represent your best interests
- Protect your rights throughout the process
- Take the necessary steps to seek justice in your case
- Navigate the claims process for you
- File a lawsuit and take the case to trial if necessary
Navigating the Claims Process for a Columbia Dog Bite Injury Settlement
When we represent you, our Columbia personal injury attorneys handle your insurance claim while you focus on your treatment and recovery. First, we develop a strong argument for compensation to support the claim. This includes information learned during our investigation, such as what happened and why. We do not file the insurance claim until we have the information and documentation to support it.
Our next step involves sending a demand letter to the insurer. This letter outlines what happened, why we believe their policyholder bears liability, and how much money we expect them to pay to cover your expenses and losses.
The insurer usually responds with a counteroffer after we demand compensation on your behalf.
Other possibilities include:
- They agree to pay the demanded total.
- They deny the claim and responsibility.
Both of these outcomes are rare, though. In most cases, the insurer answers with a much lower settlement offer. This begins the negotiation process. This can work in several ways, and we could agree on a settlement total quickly, or it could take months. We cannot predict how this part of the process will go.
However, you can count on the attorneys from Louthian Law Firm, P.A. to fight for the payout you deserve based on the facts of your Columbia, SC dog bite case. We won’t agree to a settlement that does not compensate you fairly just to close the case faster or with less effort.
Our attorneys can protect your rights, which includes seeking the money you need to cover your bills, future care costs, and other damages. We can use proven negotiation techniques and strong evidence to convince the insurer to take full responsibility on their policyholder’s behalf. If we cannot recover the compensation you deserve through these negotiations, we may need to consider taking the case to trial and letting a jury decide.
Taking Legal Action Against the Owner of the Dog That Bit You in Columbia
Sometimes, Louthian Law Firm, P.A.’s personal injury lawyers need to file a lawsuit in a Richland County, SC civil court on behalf of our clients. This could happen for several reasons. However, we always have a conversation with our client to discuss this option and explain why this offers the best choice for their case.
Some common reasons why we may need to begin a lawsuit include:
- The dog’s owner does not have liability insurance.
- The insurer denies the claim.
- The insurer refuses a fair settlement based on our client’s damages.
- Time is running out to file a lawsuit, per S.C. Ann. §15-3-530.
- Other circumstances in the case support a lawsuit.
If we need to sue in your case, our team can ensure you understand why and what to expect next. In many cases, beginning a lawsuit can push the insurer to make a better offer, and we can settle the case. Sometimes we negotiate a settlement with help from a mediator, and other times we take the case to trial.
Regardless of what happens in your case, our team can be there. We represent our clients from beginning to end. We can present the necessary evidence, aggressively protect your rights, and pursue the compensation you need to pay your bills and cover your losses.
The Statute of Limitations in South Carolina
We need to pay attention to the statute of limitations deadline and ensure we meet it. Missing the deadline means losing your right to sue the dog’s owner and recover compensation at trial.
Under South Carolina law, the deadlines to sue in a dog bite case include:
- Three years from the injury date, if you suffered a personal injury
- Three years from their death date, if your loved one passed away from their injuries and you want to pursue wrongful death damages
We see some exceptions to these deadlines that could apply in some cases. However, most people generally have three years to act in a Richland County court or lose their right to take their case before a jury.
Columbia, SC Dog Bite Injuries and Recoverable Damages
Dog bite injuries, even when they look relatively minor, can be serious because of the high risk of infection. In addition, any bite that breaks the skin warrants a trip to your doctor or a walk-in clinic for careful cleaning. This also helps to document the incident if your injuries are more serious and you need to pursue compensation to cover additional medical bills and other losses.
Dog bites can cause significant damage to soft tissues and even fracture bones.
Some related injuries from this type of attack could include:
- Puncture wounds that damage tissues and organs
- Tearing wounds to skin, tendons, ligaments, and muscle
- Fractures, especially in children or the elderly
- Traumatic amputations
- Surgical amputations because of damage to a limb
- Serious infections
Victims of these attacks can pursue compensation for their injuries and many related expenses and losses. We can often pursue an insurance claim against the dog owner’s homeowners insurance policy. Sometimes, however, we must sue the dog’s owner in a Richland County civil court and ask the jury to award fair compensation.
The compensation we recover for our injured clients depends on the specific details of their cases, including the expenses and losses they experienced.
The covered damages could include:
- Medical bills
- Estimated future care costs for long-term treatment or permanent injuries
- Lost income for missed days at work or other opportunities to earn income
- Reduced earning capacity, including long-term or permanent work absences
- Miscellaneous related expenses (from your receipts)
- Pain and suffering damages
- Scarring and disfigurement
You could qualify to seek other damages beyond those listed above.
Wrongful Death Damages in South Carolina Dog Bite Cases
Our South Carolina dog bite attorneys also manage wrongful death cases resulting from dog bites. Children and the elderly are especially at risk, but a serious attack could lead to fatal injuries for any victim. Under S.C. Ann. §15-51-20, families who lost loved ones could recover compensation for their economic and non-economic damages.
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Loss of services
- Intangible losses experienced by surviving family members
What to Expect of Your Free Consultation With Our Team
We begin each case with a free consultation. During this conversation with our team, you can learn the information necessary to decide if you want to move forward with your case.
This could include:
- Your rights based on South Carolina law
- Your options based on the circumstances of what happened
- How our team can help you or handle your claim
- The possible outcomes in the case
- Your next steps
- How our fees work
We work based on contingency fees, which means we do not ask you to pay for our services upfront. We only get paid after the case resolves through an insurance claim or civil trial. For example, our attorney’s fees come as a portion of a dog bite case payout. We do not get paid if we do not secure compensation for you.
Our team can address any other concerns during the free consultation, including helping you understand the process for recovering compensation, how we determine the value of a case, and whether you have a strong enough case to support a claim or lawsuit. Unfortunately, we cannot give you a case value during this conversation, but we can discuss your possible recoverable damages and how we document them.
Establishing Liability Under South Carolina Dog Bite Law
At Louthian Law Firm, P.A., our dog bite attorneys know how to use South Carolina law to establish liability and seek compensation for our clients accordingly. Liability, in short, refers to a party’s legal responsibility for injuries and damages. In most states, the dog’s owner bears liability after an attack, but what you must prove to recover damages varies widely.
In most personal injury cases, we need to demonstrate negligence on the part of the at-fault party to recover compensation. However, we do not have to do so in dog bite cases. Under South Carolina law, dog owners face strict liability for dog bites. In other words, the dog owner is liable for the damages when a lawful party suffers bite injuries.
How Our Attorneys Prove a Dog Owner Is Strictly Liable
Under this strict liability rule, we still need to show a few things to win compensation in the case:
- The dog in question bit our client.
- The accused party owns the dog or was in charge of the dog at the time.
- Our client was not trespassing.
- The client did not provoke the dog.
However, we do not have to prove the following to recover money damages in these cases:
- The owner acted negligently.
- The dog has a history of aggressive behavior.
The strict liability dog bite law in South Carolina makes these cases somewhat more straightforward to navigate than in some other states. First, however, we need to investigate what happened and gather as much evidence as possible to ensure we can counter any possible defenses from the dog’s owner.
The evidence in these cases could include the following:
- Reports filed by official agencies such as the local police or the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
- Video or photographs of the incident
- Eyewitness statements
- Documentation of the injuries, including relevant medical records
- Veterinarian records of the animal in question
- Bills, receipts, and other proof of damages
With this evidence, we can develop a claim to present to the dog owner’s insurance provider or a jury if the case goes to trial.
Speak to a Columbia Personal Injury Team Member Today for Free
At Louthian Law Firm, P.A., we provide free case evaluations and assessments. You can speak with a team member about your Columbia dog bite injuries, damages, and financial recovery today for free. We can help you understand your rights, weigh your options, and better understand what we can do to help.