Alligator Attacks On Waterfront Property
If you love scenic natural surroundings and a relaxed pace of life, there is no better place than South Carolina’s Lowcountry. In recent years, its population of human retirees has been increasing, but so has its population of alligators. Alligator sightings have become more frequent throughout South Carolina and even into North Carolina, but the alligator population is most heavily concentrated in the Lowcountry. With housing developments built on the edge of alligator habitats, encounters between humans and gators are almost inevitable. How much legal responsibility do municipalities and homeowners’ associations have to prevent alligator attacks? If you got bitten by an alligator in a residential area in South Carolina, contact a Columbia premises liability lawyer.
Recent Alligator Attacks in Beaufort County
The first recorded alligator attack on a human in Beaufort County, South Carolina occurred in the 1980s, but there have been 14 such attacks since 2018, more than half of them on Hilton Head Island. Several of these have resulted in lawsuits, as the victims claimed that the housing developments where the attacks took place should have not allowed conditions to persist in these developments that enabled alligators to get close to humans. These were among the most severe attacks:
- On September 2, 2021, Elsie Kyle was walking her dog beside a lagoon near her home in the Rookery neighborhood of Hilton Head Plantation, when an eight-foot alligator dragged her into the water. She suffered severe injuries. In October 2022, she sued Hilton Head Plantation for premises liability. The lawsuit is currently in arbitration.
- In 2018, Cassie Cline of Sea Pines suffered fatal injuries when an alligator attacked her as she walked her dog near the water. Her family sued Sea Pines Plantation, and the lawsuit settled for an undisclosed amount.
- In August 2022, Nancy Becker, 88, was gardening on her waterfront property when she lost her footing and slipped down an embankment into the water. An alligator attacked and killed her.
What Does the Law Say About Protecting the Public From Alligator Attacks
Premises liability laws give people who get injured in preventable accidents, including animal attacks, on private property the right to sue the owner of the property for negligence, namely, failing to maintain safe conditions on the property. Homeowners’ associations and the management of housing developments can be defendants in premises liability cases. Meanwhile, state laws limit what housing developments and municipalities must do to keep alligators out of residential areas, since these areas are the alligators’ natural habitat. The alligators in the aforementioned attacks were captured and euthanized, pursuant to the law, but it is against the law to relocate alligators that have not harmed humans or domestic animals.
Let Us Help You Today
The personal injury lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you recover compensation if you were seriously injured in an animal attack on private property, whether it was a business or a housing development. Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.