What You Need to Know about Dog Bites & South Carolina Law

April 1, 2024

By J. Richards McCrae III

Dogs are unpredictable. According to a 2022 study completed by the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, 4.5 million Americans suffer dog bites annually, with more than half of dog bite victims being children. These injuries often result in medical expenses, scarring and disfigurement, and emotional trauma, especially for younger victims. Morton & Gettys Personal Injury attorneys understand these issues, and have extensive experience with dog bite cases.


In South Carolina, an owner of a dog that bites or attacks another person is strictly liable for any injuries or damages suffered by the injured party, provided that the injured party was not trespassing at the time of the attack and did not “provoke” the dog in any way.  “Strict liability” in the context of dog bite claims simply means that the injured party does not have to demonstrate that the owner of dog was negligent in any way.  Liability is imposed on the dog owner by the mere fact that the bite occurred.


Victims of dog bites are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, scarring, and any other actual damages that are the direct result of the attack.  Like all cases, compensation can vary depending on a number of factors, including the amount of medical expenses incurred and the severity of the injuries.  Visible scarring, particularly to the face, can have a significant impact on a potential settlement or jury award.  Additionally, if the dog in question is of a breed that is widely recognized to be dangerous or aggressive, or if the dog is a “repeat offender,” there is usually a strong argument to be made for an award of punitive damages.


It’s important to work with a South Carolina dog bite lawyer like those on the Morton & Gettys team to help you or your loved ones get the compensation you deserve. We will work tirelessly to reach the best possible resolution for you. To speak with a member of our Personal Injury team about your unique situation, call 803-366-HELP.