Dog attacks and dog bites are dangerous and terrifying. If you or your child has been bitten by a dog, you need an experienced dog bite attorney who is ready and able to help you. Being bitten by a dog is a traumatic experience that often leaves the victim with long-lasting physical and emotional scars. Long after the superficial wounds heal, a dog bite victim must deal with the long-term damage inflicted by a dog bite.
A seemingly “nice” dog can turn vicious without any warning. When this happens, we want to help. The dog bite attorneys of Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC combine compassion with knowledge, skill, and experience to provide you with comprehensive legal representation when you need it the most—when you are struggling to recover from a terrible personal injury. Call our office now at 865-292-2307 to schedule your free consultation. We will listen to your story, gather any necessary evidence, and present your case to the court; we will do everything in our power to fight for the compensation you deserve.
What are the Tennessee dog bite laws?
Tennessee generally does not believe in a “one pass” or “free bite” rule. Our dog bite laws generally require that dog owners maintain control over their dogs at all times and prevent the dog from running at-large. Tennessee dog bite laws can impose strict liability on dog owners; in other words, if the dog bites someone, the owner is responsible for the damages. Even if the dog has never bitten anyone or shown any dangerous propensities such as aggression, the owner maybe responsible for the dog bite victim’s damages. The accident victim may take civil action against the dog owner to receive compensation for his or her damages.
However, some exceptions to the strict liability rule must be noted. A dog bite victim may not be able to receive compensation for his or her damages in the following situations:
- The injury occurred because the person was disturbing, harassing, alarming, enticing, or otherwise provoking the dog.
- The dog is a military or police dog acting in the course of the dog’s official duties.
- The dog was protecting its owner or another person from an attack by the dog bite victim or that person’s dog.
- The dog bite victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s private, nonresidential property.
- The injury occurred while the dog was securely confined in a crate, kennel, or other enclosure.
An Exception to the Strict Liability Policy for Tennessee Dog Bites
If the dog bite occurred on the dog owner’s farm, residential property, or other noncommercial property, or if it occurred while the dog was on that property with the permission of the property owner, the victim must prove certain elements under premises liability laws. The “residential exception” states that the victim must prove that the dog owner knew or should have known that the dog had dangerous propensities that could lead to a dog bite or dog attack in order to receive compensation from the dog owner. Tennessee is the only state that has a residential exception to strict liability for dog bite cases.
Common Injuries Sustained in Knoxville Dog Bite Cases
Dog bite attacks can cause traumatic, serious, and even life-threatening injuries. In some cases, the accident victim must endure several reconstructive surgeries and painful physical therapy to heal. Unfortunately, there are cases where the dog bite victim suffers permanent scarring from the vicious attack. The following are dog bite injuries that a victim may sustain:
- Serious infections of the wound that sometimes spread throughout the entire body;
- Nerve damage;
- Fractured bones;
- Puncture wounds and lacerations;
- Permanent disfigurement;
- Permanent scarring, especially to the hands, arms, feet, legs, and face;
- Emotional problems such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and an unnatural fear of dogs and/or other animals;
- Crush injuries;
- Viral and bacterial infections;
- Amputations of limbs or other body parts;
What damages are allowed in dog bite cases?
As in most personal injury cases, you are entitled to receive reimbursement for your medical bills, lost wages, travel expenses, and other out-of-pocket expenses related to the dog attack. You may also be entitled to receive compensation for non-financial damages including physical pain, emotional suffering, scarring, disfigurement, permanent disability, and the loss of enjoyment of life.
The value of your dog bite claim depends on the facts and circumstances of your case. You should seek the advice of an experienced Knoxville dog bite attorney before speaking with the insurance company of the dog owner or other party. You need to understand your rights and you need an attorney to protect those rights from parties seeking to defend themselves from your claim.
Learn about Dog Safety and Teach Your Children
It is estimated that 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States, and one out of every five bites become infected. Children, especially between the ages of five and nine years old, have a high risk of being bitten or attacked by a dog. You can reduce your risk of being bitten or attacked by a dog by following these dog safety rules:
- Don’t allow young children to play with a dog without adult supervision.
- Don’t disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies.
- Don’t approach an unfamiliar dog, panic, or make loud noises.
- If approached by a strange dog, don’t run. Remain motionless. If the dog attacks, curl into a ball with your hands over your head, ears, and neck.
We Want to Help You as You Heal and Recover from a Dog Attack and/or Dog Bite
The dog bite lawyers of Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC care about what you and your family are going through after a vicious dog bite and/or dog attack. We want to relieve the stress of dealing with the legal aspects of the dog bite claim so that you can focus solely on your recovery.
Contact our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss Tennessee dog bite laws and your right to receive compensation for your injuries in further detail. Use our online contact page or call 865-292-2307. No amount of money can change what happened; however, a judgment verdict, or settlement will provide the financial assistance you need as you continue to deal with the physical and emotional damages of a dog bite. It will also serve as a warning to other dog owners who need to take better measures to ensure the safety of others around their dogs.