Dog bites, more often than not, are inflicted by a dog known to the victim. In fact, roughly two-thirds of victims are injured by dogs they know on or near their property. Perhaps more frightening is how 25% of fatal dog attacks occur even when the dogs are chained.
What, then, are dog owners and dog bite victims to do?
Tennessee’s Dog Bite Statute 44-8-413 classifies a dog bite as a personal injury. This is a complex issue under the larger umbrella of injury law, but a dog bite attorney like Meyers Injury Law has experience handling these types of cases.
If you are a dog owner, or you have been attacked by a dog, there are several circumstances, liabilities, and rights within the law that you should be aware of.
Tennessee’s Dog Bite Law
For Dog Owners
Under the Tennessee Dog Bite Statute, a dog owner is responsible for any bites or injuries (damages) his or her dog causes. This is called dog bite injury liability, or strict liability. Even if your dog has not previously shown any aggressive behavior, the statute will hold you accountable in the following circumstances:
- You failed to keep the dog under control.
- The dog is “running at large,” rather than remaining on your personal property. “At large” means public places, including highways, roads, etc.
At the same time, the statute does not apply in some circumstances. The statue can’t be used against you in the following situations, for example:
- The injured party was trespassing on your property.*
- The dog was protecting you, or another innocent party.
- The dog was confined in an enclosure when the injury occurred.
- The dog was harassed, provoked, or disturbed by the injured party.
- The dog is a police or military dog performing its official duties.
*You are not held liable under the Residential Exception. However, if the injured person can prove you knew – or should have known – that your dog had dangerous propensities, you might still be held liable.
Regardless of the situation, if you find yourself involved in a dog bite claim in Tennessee, it is best to discuss the situation with a personal injury lawyer, especially if your negligence or conduct is called into question by the plaintiff. This is because their claim could result in a civil liability for you.
For Injured Parties
If you are the victim of a dog bite you can hold the dog owner responsible by filing a lawsuit. There are several stipulations, especially the timing of your complaint.
If you are claiming you were bitten or injured by a dog in Tennessee, you must file a claim within one year. Unfortunately, if you miss this deadline, the court will almost certainly disregard and dismiss your case.
Read the liabilities and circumstances (above) that would hold the dog owner responsible. If you believe your case even remotely satisfies those requirements, don’t waste time!
Consider the cost of your medical bills, lost wages while you recovered, and other damages – physical, emotional, financial, etc. – you have suffered. Then contact a personal injury lawyer to draw up a settlement demand letter.
If you, your child, or loved one has been injured by a dog bite, contact us at Meyers Injury Law.