Many states have what is called the "one bite rule". That means you may not have a personal injury claim if it is the first time that the dog has ever bitten anyone. That is not the case in South Carolina. The owner of the dog is responsible if you are bitten by his dog, no excuses, as long as you are acting lawfully. In legal terms, this means that the dog owner is strictly liable if his dog attacks someone regardless of whether the dog has ever shown any aggressive tenancies.
"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." Section 47-3-110 South Carolina Code of Laws
Of course your first action is to get to a safe place, in the house, on top of a car or even up a tree and then get IMMEDIATE medical attention for your injuries. Dog bites can result in serious infections, rabies and permanent scarring if not promptly treated. Then, as in any personal injury claim, you need to document your injuries and the specific dog that attacked you. You will lose your claim if you cannot positively identify the dog and its owner. In one recent case, the victim was asked to identify the dog that attacked him from pictures of three similar neighborhood dogs and was not able to make a positive ID resulting in his case being dismissed.
I know that this sounds cruel but if you feed and care for a stray dog you can become the legal owner of the dog under the statute and be liable for damages if the dog attacks someone. Also, you don't know the dog's history or whether it has been vaccinated. It is better to be safe than sorry.
There is something wrong with someone that does not like dogs or someone that dogs do not like. If you have a dog, you need to be sure that your homeowner's insurance will provide coverage if you are sued. An insurance company will use any excuse to deny coverage and then you will be personally liable. Next, do not let your dog run loose in the neighborhood. Someone may provoke the dog into attacking them and then you will be sued. If a dog shows aggressive tendencies, then you are at a greater risk and should consider whether it is a good idea to keep the dog.
This may be considered AN ADVERTISEMENT or Advertising Material under the Rules of Professional Conduct governing South Carolina lawyers. Under no circumstances will sc-personal-injury be held liable for any loss or damage caused by a visitor's reliance on information obtained through this web site or any other communication from us. It is the responsibility of each individual visitor to evaluate the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any information, opinion, advice or other content. This site is intended to provide you only with general information. However, there is no guarantee that this information is comprehensive or accurate. sc-personal-injury does NOT provide legal, financial, or tax advice. Please consult a professional in these areas. Only an attorney licensed in your state can provide you with legal advice. Links and Ads to third party sites are here for the convenience of site visitors only. The content of any third party site which visit via a link from this site is solely the responsibility of the provider of that web site.