Ron Berman, an expert witness in dog bite cases throughout the United States, recently had an article entitled, "Dog Bite Cases: Avoiding 9 Common Mistakes", in The Justice Bulletin published by the South Carolina Association of Justice.
This article provided several important points in building a dog bite case and the mistakes an attorney could make in developing their case against the negligent owner or person keeping and/or caring for the aggressive dog. (To review the law of South Carolina on dog bites read my previous blog entitled, "Dogs Bite, Owners Pay: South Carolina Dog Bite Law".)
Mr. Berman makes these important points for those who have been bitten by a dog and incurred injuries:
- Just because South Carolina has strict liability on dog bite cases does not mean a defense can not be raised or a burden for injuries can be met;
- Video presentation or pictures of the aggressive dog can go a long way in being reimbursed for your injuries;
- Inspect the area the dog inhabited for further clues of its aggressive nature;
- Look over and request any documents or papers that can be provided by the owner for the dog;
- Take pictures and document any wounds or bite marks; and
- If going to trial, consult with an expert witness that can further your case.
As a point of reference, Mr. Berman cited statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that clearly point to how big an issue dog bites can be on a national level:
About 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year.
Almost one in five of those who are bitten :a total of 885,000: require medical attention for dog bite-related injuries.
In 2006, more than 31,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs.