Average Dog Bite Injury Settlement in South Carolina

Shealey Law Firm explains the average dog bite injury settlement and why your case may be above average.

What Is the Average Dog Bite Settlement in South Carolina?

The Insurance Information Institute reports an average dog bite settlement of $44,661.46, for cases paid through insurance. The average is based on 307 claims resolved in 2019.

Note: The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA) reports that the average dog bite settlement amount is on the rise, as medical bills and other expenses have increased in recent years.

*Each dog bite case has a different set of facts that could change the amount of settlement. This information is only intended to inform you of the averages. If you or a loved one has suffered due to a dog bite injury. Contact us today for a free case evaluation*

Dog Ownership and Dog Bite Statistics

  • Dogs are the most popular pet in the United States, with 44.5% of U.S. households—or 62 million households— having a dog.
  • In total, there are 83 to 88 million dogs in the United States.
  • 4.5 million people are the victims of dog bites each year in the U.S.
  • 800,000 dog bite victims in the U.S. receive medical attention each year.
  • 30-50 dog bites annually are fatal. 75% of fatal dog bites take place on the dog owner’s property.
  • 45.3% of dog bites happen on the arms and hands. 25.8% of bites are to the foot or leg.

Dog bites are a serious problem, and a dog bite victim may receive a monetary payment for their injuries. This compensation can help with bills and expenses and can also provide justice and compensation for pain and suffering.

Average Dog Bite Settlement Amounts

Average dog bite settlement amounts don’t tell you what you might receive for an individual case. Not all dog bite injury settlements are created the same. The more serious your injuries and damages, the more you should receive in compensation. In cases where the property owner acted extremely egregiously in allowing the animal to bite, punitive damages may be available.

While the law makes the dog owner personally liable for harm caused by a bite, most dog bite claims are resolved through homeowners’ or renter’s insurance. In fact, one third of homeowners claims paid in 2021 were for dog bites and dog-related injuries. Regardless of the settlement amount, each payment raises insurance costs. Each injury is harmful to the victim, impacting them physically, mentally, and financially.

Calculating your dog bite settlement – is your case average?

While it may be interesting to know the average dog bite settlement, the statistics don’t tell you what you can expect to receive in your case. It may be more helpful to understand what goes into a dog bite injury settlement.

Dog Bite Settlement Calculation

Calculating a dog bite settlement involves looking at the harm inflicted by the injury. It also requires considering any defenses that may apply to the case and the clarity of legal liability.

The calculation of a dog bite settlement is the total of the damages payable under the law. In South Carolina, this means both economic and non-economic losses.

Economic dog bite losses

  • Emergency and urgent care costs
  • Follow-up medical care
  • Stitches and surgery costs if needed
  • Complications like infection
  • Wound care, medical supplies
  • Lost income
  • Property damage

Non-economic dog bite losses

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental health injury
  • Emotional anguish
  • Disfigurement, scars
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Inconvenience

Punitive damages may also be awarded in extreme cases, but it is rare.

Economic damages are financial expenses that you have or ways that you fail to earn income because of your injuries; these are the actual dollars that can be totaled with a calculator.

Non-economic damages are awarded in proportion to the severity of the dog bite. The longer and more severely the bite affects your life, the more you can expect in compensation.

Non-economic damages are often in proportion to economic damages. However, in the case of a dog bite, scars may be severe, even if there isn’t costly medical care associated with the injury. Looking at the whole situation and the harm the victim has endured can determine the appropriate amount of compensation.

Factors Affecting the Value of South Carolina Dog Bite Settlements

In addition to the actual total of your damages, there are other factors that may impact your compensation:

  • Questions of who the dog owner is or who is legally responsible for the bite
  • Whether the dog was provoked or harassed
  • Questions of whether the injuries are from the dog bite
  • Trespassing or other unlawful presence on the property
  • Lawful use of a police canine
  • The law in your state

South Carolina has strong dog bite laws. S.C. Code § 47-3-110 creates strict liability for a dog attack that occurs while a person is lawfully in a public or private place, including the owner’s property. This means that whether the owner had knowledge of the dog’s dangerous propensity doesn’t factor into a case.

In states that require knowledge of viciousness, average claim amounts may be lower. In states that don’t have strict liability for dog bites, questions of liability may create uncertainty, lowering settlement offers and making insurance companies more likely to take claims to trial.

What Can I Do To Maximize My Dog Bite Settlement Amount?

Getting the dog bite settlement that you deserve requires diligently making your claim. Even if you have a case that is above average, you may receive less if you don’t properly pursue your case.

There are things you can do to maximize your dog bite settlement amount.

  • Seek prompt medical attention. This includes emergency and urgent care.
  • Follow medical care instructions. You don’t want insurance to say you didn’t do all you could to heal from your injuries.
  • Document what happened as best you can. Take photos of injuries, the dog, and the area where the bite occurred. It’s okay if you don’t have access to the animal or the location, but take photos if possible.
  • Keep records of losses. Keep a diary of your medical appointments. Save copies of medical bills. Gather pay statements to document lost work.
  • Involve an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can value your claim correctly. If you proceed without a lawyer, the insurance company may offer too little, hoping you won’t know what your claim is really worth. An attorney can help you negotiate with the insurance company and process your case efficiently.

Contact a Columbia Dog Bite Injury Attorney Today

Are you wondering if you have an average dog bite injury settlement in South Carolina? Are you wanting the maximum settlement that you deserve—not just something average? Contact a Columbia dog bite injury attorney at Shealey Law Firm.


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