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Charleston Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Dog Bite > South Carolina Dog Bite Laws (For 2024)

South Carolina Dog Bite Laws (For 2024)


Pet ownership in the United States of America has jumped significantly over the past few decades. As of 2024, 86.9 million households in the United States are estimated to own a pet. However, as pet ownership continues to rise nationwide, so does the potential for dog-related incidents, including bites. Research suggests that over 4.5 million dog bites happen annually in the United States, and out of five people who are bitten by a dog, one requires medical attention.

In South Carolina, like in other states, there are laws in place that govern dog bite cases. There are laws in place meant to protect victims of dog bites. It is vital that you are aware of the laws that govern dog bite cases in South Carolina. In this article, we share some of the South Carolina dog bite laws you need to be aware of in 2024.

Strict Liability

South Carolina is one of the states that applies the “strict liability” rule to dog bite cases. According to this rule, the owner of a dog is liable for injuries caused by their dog even if they did not know about their dog’s aggressive tendencies. The “strict liability” law differs from the “one bite” law. Under the “one bite” rule, for a dog owner to be held liable for injuries caused by their dog, they must have prior knowledge that the dog might be dangerous.

In addition to strict liability, SC law also recognizes negligence in dog bite cases, meaning you can bring a cause of action under the strict liability dog bite law and/or negligence law.

When Can a Dog Owner Be Held Liable?

In South Carolina, while a dog owner can be held liable even if they did not know about their dog’s aggressive tendencies, dog owners can only be held liable in specific instances. A dog owner can only be held liable if;

  • The injured individual was in a public place or legally in a private place
  • The injured person did not provoke the dog

Also, law enforcement officers are not liable for dog attacks if they have complied with the requirements under the law.

It is crucial to note that you do not need to have been bitten by a dog to have a valid legal claim according to the law. Any dog attack is valid as long as it results in injuries.

Statute of Limitations

After you suffer injuries in South Carolina due to a dog bite or attack, you have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit in court. According to S.C. Code Section 15-3-530, you have three years from the date of your injury to file your lawsuit in court. If you file your case after three years have passed, your case will most likely be dismissed without consideration.

Compensation for Victims

If a dog bites or attacks someone and causes them to suffer injuries, the victim may be eligible to recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include medical expenses and lost wages. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, scarring or disfigurement, and emotional trauma. If you bring a negligence cause of action, you could also be able to recover punitive damages. These damages are awarded when there is evidence of recklessness, gross negligence, or intentional misconduct.

Legal Help Is Available

If you’ve suffered an injury after being bit or attacked by a dog in South Carolina, contact our skilled Charleston dog bite lawyer at Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm for legal help.

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