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Whalen Montalvo

Greenville Dog Bite

South Carolina law is strict when it comes to dog bites, and the law holds dog owners to a high standard of liability. Some states have what is known as the “One Bite” rule, meaning an owner of a dog is not responsible for damage caused by a dog if it has not bitten anyone before.

Unlike some other states, South Carolina does not consider whether the dog owner should have known his or her dog was liable to bite someone. If you are lawfully in a public place or on private property, the dog owner is responsible if a dog bites you.

This type of law is called “strict liability.” In this situation, dog owners have more liability than in some other states, and dog bite victims have more protection under the law.

South Carolina laws are unique, which is all the more reason to have a dog bite attorney like those at Whalen Montalvo on your side. Contact us at (864) 770-7710 today.

Dogs are a Growing Problem

Dog bites are becoming more common because people take their dogs out publicly. Still, there are a lot of different situations where you could suffer an injury from a dog. The law protects the dog’s owner in cases where the dog was provoked or if you are trespassing.

In almost any other case, the dog owner is responsible. A dog bite is the normal cause of an injury from a dog. Even so, you can sue for damages if a dog pounces on you, causing you to fall and be injured, even if the dog does not bite you.

If you ride a bicycle and a dog chases you, causing you to wreck and be injured, you could still sue for damages from a dog attack. In South Carolina, it does not matter if the dog owner does anything wrong. If the dog is running loose, intentionally or not, the dog owner is still responsible.

What Does “the Owner” Mean?

While the owner of the dog is ultimately responsible and liable for any damage caused by the dog, the person in charge of the dog at the time may also be liable. If you were keeping a dog for someone, and that dog bites someone during that time, you would also be liable for any damage caused.

In some cases, an apartment complex owner can be held liable for a dog attack or bite in common areas of the complex. If the area is under the owner’s control and they know the dog is being kept in the complex, they could be liable.

Why Choose Us?

Insurance companies have teams of lawyers with a lot of experience in these cases. Hence, you need an attorney with equal or even more experience. South Carolina law is fairly straightforward with “strict liability,” but other factors can still complicate your case. Whalen Montalvo Attorneys at Law will fight for you and stand by you as you pursue a personal injury claim.

Our team will take a detailed look at your case and use our years of experience with the law to make the best case possible so you get the settlement you deserve. When you have suffered a severe injury from a dog attack, you need Greenville dog bite attorneys like James Whalen and Eric Montalvo.

Attorney James Whalen has extensive experience working in a range of settings, including the Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C. James uses his passion, experience, and knowledge to help personal injury victims fight for their right to compensation.

Attorney Eric Montalvo is a United States Marine Corps veteran. Here he gained a 20-year career as a judge advocate and leader. Eric represents victims with earnest compassion, transparency, and commitment.

Whalen Montalvo has years of experience handling personal injury cases. For more information, call us at (864) 770-7710 today.

How Our Experienced Greenville Dog Bite Attorney Can Help

Most dog bites are not severe, but even then, there is a risk of infection or even a risk of rabies. Therefore, regardless of your case’s severity, you need lawyers who specialize in personal injury cases and have expertise in dog bite cases on your side.

We can give you a free consultation to investigate your case and give you some solid options for going forward. Insurance companies will try to get you to settle for the smallest amount possible, and they know the law inside and out.

A Greenville dog bite attorney can level the playing field, so you do not have to settle for anything less than what you deserve. We can guide you through the legal system so you can focus on recovery from your injuries instead of worrying about how your bills will be paid.

About Dog Bites

Most dog bites result in minor injuries, but sometimes serious injuries occur. Often, a dog bite results in an infection which can be worse than a dog bite. Nationwide, almost 5 million people are bitten by a dog each year, and it is probably more than that because many are not reported.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 800,000 of those bites are serious enough to get medical attention. About 6,000 of those bites result in hospitalization, and there are about 20 deaths per year from dog attacks. South Carolina ranks 26th in the number of dog bite cases nationally.

There were 307 insurance settlements last year in South Carolina, according to the State Farm Insurance Company. The average settlement was $45,000, or a combined $13 million.

Types of Claims

Dog bites are not normally considered criminal cases, and the types of damages you can claim are similar to those in any civil case. In addition, you may get compensatory or punitive damages.

These include:

  • Compensatory damages seek to restore you to where you were before the dog bite incident. Compensatory damages are rather straightforward.
  • Economic damages are for objective losses such as medical bills or time lost from work.
  • Non-economic injuries are harder to define and may include pain and suffering, quality of life issues, or mental anguish. You may need a Greenville dog bite attorney for that type of compensation.

Getting reimbursed for any medical expenses is a bare minimum and just the starting point. Lost wages are also relatively easy to prove. Property damage can also be part of the picture if you lose your glasses or phone. The same rules would apply if another dog attacked, injured, or killed your dog. To get punitive damages, you would have to prove the dog owner intentionally did something to make the dog attack. It is beyond simple negligence.

Whether you have been injured, or are a dog owner being sued, the Greenville dog bite lawyers at Whalen Montalvo can help you get the best results. Call us at (864) 770-7710 today.

The Other Side

What if you are a dog owner and are being sued because your dog bit someone? The law leans toward protecting the victim in states like South Carolina, so the defense can get complicated. Lawyers for dog bite injuries are also needed when you are at the other end of a lawsuit.

FAQs About Dog Bites

If you have been injured by a dog, you may have a lot of questions. We will discuss your case with you at no cost. Here are some typical questions people have when looking for a Greenville dog bite lawyer.

Is the Owner of a Dog Always Responsible when the Dog Bites Someone?

South Carolina is stricter than many states in this area. In almost all cases, the owner of the dog is liable for any damage caused as long as the dog was not provoked, or the bitten person was not trespassing.

What if a Dog Gets Loose and Bites Someone on the Street?

Generally, the dog owner would still be responsible. The exception might be if the owner did not know the dog was out in public and therefore did not have control of the animal.

What Does “One Bite Rule” Mean?

In many states, a dog is allowed one bite, meaning if the dog has never bitten anyone before, the dog cannot be considered dangerous. In those states, the owner is not liable for the first bite. South Carolina does not follow that rule.

Are Dogs Put Down when They Bite Someone?

Not in most cases. A dog would have to be declared dangerous by a judge, and there would have to be a hearing. The dog itself is not to be punished.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

In South Carolina, you have three years after a dog bite incident to file a suit. Obviously, it is best to file a claim as soon as possible because the further something is in the past, the harder it is to prove.

What is Considered Trespassing?

Trespassing is being on someone’s property without permission. A person with a need to be there, such as a postman or a meter reader, is not trespassing. If you do not fall in that category, you are trespassing unless you have express permission to be there.

What Does Provoking Mean?

If the bitten person provoked a dog into aggression, this is the only case in which the owner is not necessarily responsible for a dog’s behavior. Teasing a dog or harassment of any kind is considered provoking.

If you’re looking for the best lawyers for dog bite injuries, call the Whalen Montalvo Law Firm to schedule an appointment today at (864) 770-7710.

James M. Whalen

I grew up right here in Greenville, South Carolina. Following highschool, I attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, where I was an NCAA Scholar-Athlete for the Rhodes Lynx soccer program.

I completed my law degree at University of South Carolina School of Law, where I was on the mock trial team and an editor for the Journal of Law and Education. Following graduation, I served as a judicial law clerk for Senior Judge Robert H. Hodges, Jr. on the Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C. My experience in D.C. trial courts solidified my desire to become a trial lawyer.
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