Being bitten by a dog can cause very serious injuries. While larger dogs can cause broken bones, torn tendons, and severe bleeding, even bites from smaller dogs can cause severe infection and sepsis. Fortunately, the Tennessee State Legislature has passed a statute allowing people to hold dog owners responsible in many situations for the actions of their unruly canines.
Unlike some states, Tennessee state law allows people bitten by dogs in public places or off the owner’s property to hold the owner strictly liable. This means that the dog does not need to have a history of violence. In other situations, a one-bite rule does apply where the injured person must show that the owner knew about the dog’s violent past. Either way, a Red Bank dog bite lawyer represents the interests of people bitten by others’ dogs to collect compensation for their injuries. Reach out today to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney about your specific case.
There are two ways that plaintiffs can collect damages from the owners of aggressive dogs. The first is a strict liability method, meaning that the dog owner is responsible regardless of the dog’s history. In Tennessee Code Annotated § 44-8-413, dog bites that occur in public or if the dog is on the property of another are assumed to place liability on their owners. Exceptions to this include:
It is up to the dog’s owner to prove that these exceptions exist. Even though the law presumes that an attack that occurs in a public place will result in the owner being liable for the resulting damage, it is still necessary to approach these cases from a position of strength. A committed Red Bank dog bite attorney is ready to pursue cases seeking fair compensation after a dog bite occurs in public.
The second method for collecting compensation is also present in the above-linked statute and allows victims to sue for damages if the bite occurs on the dog owner’s residential property. Here, the plaintiff must be able to prove that they were on the property legally—as a visitor, tenant, or with a legitimate business purpose.
Additionally, the victim must show that the dog’s owner knew or should have known about the animal’s violent tendencies. This is what is commonly known as a one-bite rule. The responsibility of proof is entirely on the plaintiff to show that the dog was known to be violent.
One other aspect of the law to remember is the statute of limitations. This is a time limit imposed on all plaintiffs within which they must file their cases. Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-104 gives plaintiffs only one year from the time of an accident to file a lawsuit. This is a very short period, so time is of the essence; contact a seasoned dog bite lawyer in Red Bank now to protect your rights.
If you or your children have been bitten by another person’s dog, regardless of where the bite happened, contact a Red Bank dog bite lawyer. By analyzing the facts of the case, they will determine under which of the two options your case should move forward.
If the bite happened in public or on property that was not the dog owner’s home, the owner might be automatically responsible for your damages. Even if the bite happened at the owner’s home, a plaintiff might still prevail by showing that the dog’s owner knew that the animal was violent. There is only a short time to file a claim, so do not delay. Call today to set up an initial consultation with a knowledgeable legal professional in Red Bank.