Whenever a 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 dog owner's property or the property of a person having the dog in his care or keeping, the owner or keeper is liable for damages suffered by the person bitten or otherwise attacked. The statute does not apply if a person provokes the dog into attacking him or her.
In addition to recovering under the liability statute, dog bite victims can also file suit under the common law. To recover damages under the common law, a plaintiff must prove that the dog's owner or keeper had control and possession of the dog at the time of the injury. Once control and possession are established, the owner or keeper owes a duty of care against foreseeable harm.
Under South Carolina law, a "dangerous animal" includes:
A "dangerous animal" does not include an animal that attacks a person who is trespassing or who appears to be trespassing.
In addition to being subject to civil liability, the owner of a dangerous animal that attacks and injures a person faces will face criminal liability. For the first offense, the owner is subject to a fine of $5,000 and a term of imprisonment of up to three years. For second and subsequent offenses, the owner is subject to a fine of up to $10,000 and a term of imprisonment of up to five years.
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Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.