Common Questions From Accident Victims in Tennessee

The victims of serious injuries and accidents are often left with a lot of questions. In our FAQ, you can get the answers to some of the most common questions our Nashville injury attorneys hear, as well as important information about your rights and legal options if you’ve been hurt in Tennessee.  

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  • What should I do if I have been injured in a pedestrian accident?

    pedestrian accident claimCar accidents involving pedestrians are far more likely to cause significant injuries than two-car collisions—and unfortunately, pedestrian and bicycle accidents are on the rise. Many victims will suffer head injuries, broken bones, amputation, paralysis, severe disability, or even death in these crashes, even if the driver is traveling at relatively low speeds. Pedestrians can greatly reduce their risk of permanent injury by knowing what to do in the hours and weeks after an accident has occurred.

    What Pedestrians Should Do After a Car Accident

    The actions you take after being struck by a car can affect not only your health, but your ability to recover payment for your injuries and lost income. If you were hit while walking or bicycling, you should take the following steps:

    • Exchange contact information. If you have not lost consciousness, make sure you tell the driver of the car your name and get his name and contact information as well. If the driver has left the scene, seek help from anyone who passes or stops. Get off the roadway and find a safe place to assess your injuries. If nobody is nearby, call 911.
    • Go to the hospital. It is important to seek emergency medical care even if you think you are not seriously injured. A blow to the head can cause disorientation, and the shock of being in an accident can cause victims who may be gravely injured to believe that they are fine. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and going to the hospital will add evidence to your injury case if you need to go to court.
    • Report the accident to the insurance company. Be sure to report the accident to your insurance company within a few days of the crash. When it comes to car insurance, Tennessee is a "fault" state, meaning victims can file injury and property damage claims with their own insurer, the insurer of the at-fault driver, or through a third party. If you seek compensation from the at-fault driver, you will likely make a claim against his liability insurance.
    • Determine fault. One of the biggest problems in getting compensation for injuries after a crash is determining who was at fault. The costs of injuries and losses when a driver hits a pedestrian are often very high, so both insurance companies involved have a vested interest in blaming the other party. Most courts determine fault by carefully examining which party was the most negligent. For instance, a drunk driver who strikes a biker who was following all of the traffic laws would likely be found negligent. On the other hand, a pedestrian who ran into the street instead of using a crosswalk may be considered negligent. Finally, both the driver and the pedestrian can be found negligent if they were not exercising reasonable care on the road. Insurers can deny claims if they have evidence of negligence, such as the police report of the accident, witness statements, or even your own words to an adjuster when making the claim.
    • Contact an attorney. If an insurance company is refusing to pay for your injuries or has assigned you an unfair percentage of fault, you may want to consult with a personal injury attorney. An experienced lawyer can conduct a detailed investigation into the facts of your case, deal with the insurance company on your behalf, and take an at-fault driver to court to get full compensation for your losses.

    Get a Free Evaluation of Your Case Now!

    Victims have only one year after the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in Tennessee, and just three years after the accident to get payment for damage to property. As the time limit to file for compensation is so short, it is best to discuss your legal options with an injury attorney as soon as possible. Our legal advisors can listen to your story and examine your case carefully to determine the best way to move forward. Contact our legal team today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

  • Are commercial truckers allowed to use cell phones while driving?

    truckers texting and drivingWhen a driver becomes too distracted to pay attention to the potential traffic risks around him, he greatly increases his odds of causing an accident. Cell phones are rapidly becoming the number one distraction for drivers. Unfortunately, the popularity of cell phone use isn’t restricted to sedan and mid-size car drivers. The most worrisome trend is that commercial truck drivers have begun to pick up their phones as well—making them more dangerous on the road—despite federal regulations prohibiting distracting behavior.

    Ignoring Regulations Leads to Dangerous Behavior

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has recently published specific rules regarding commercial truck and transporters from using cell phones. These rules prohibit interstate truck drivers and drivers who transport hazardous materials from texting or using hand-held mobile devices while their vehicles are in motion. To prevent any confusion, the U.S. Department of Transportation has explicitly defined the words “texting” and “cell phone use” so that truckers can easily tell if they’re violating the rules:

    • Texting. The DOT recognizes texting as not only the manual entering of alphanumeric information into an electronic device, but also the reading of information off of a device. Under this definition, the FMCSA regulations prohibit truck drivers from performing actions such as short message service, e-mailing, instant messaging, accessing Web pages, or using multi-button communication. In short, if the driver pushes more than a single button on his device to perform any action, he’s guilty of violating the texting regulation.
    • Cell phone use. Under the DOT definition, holding or even reaching for a mobile phone with the intent of conducting voice or multi-button communication is considered cell phone use, and is prohibited. The FMCSA regulations allow truckers to use hands-free communication devices, as long as they are located within easy reach of the driver.

    In other words, truckers can only use mobile devices if the device is within close proximity, requires a single button push to activate communications, or is totally hands-free.

    Risks and Punishment

    If caught, violators of these cell phone safety regulations can suffer severe penalties. In addition to legal consequences following an accident, if a commercial truck driver uses an electronic device against the FMCSA rules, he may suffer the following consequences: 

    • Civil penalties. Violators can be stuck with fines and penalties up to $2,750 for violation of safety regulations.
    • Employer civil penalties. If determined that the driver’s employer willfully allowed him to use a cell phone while driving, the employer can be liable for damages. 
    • Increased risk of damaging safety record. Violators can be awarded the minimum safety measurement rating for a commercial driver, which could lead to the loss of his commercial license.
    • Increased risk of causing an accident. Commercial truck drivers who text while driving are 23.2 times more likely to cause an accident than those who do not. Drivers who dial mobile phones while driving have a 20 percent greater chance of causing an accident than those who follow the rules.
    • Increased insurance premiums. Violations of safety protocols could drastically increase a driver’s insurance premiums, especially if he caused an accident as a result.
    • Increased risk for vehicular manslaughter charges. If the driver’s actions directly caused a fatal collision, in addition to personal injury, wrongful death, and property damage liability, he could also face a manslaughter or vehicular homicide charge. 

    Making Your Case

    Have you recently been the victim of a distracted truck driver? If so, you need help to build and strengthen your case. Contact truck accident lawyers directly to schedule your FREE consultation. We’re waiting to help you better understand and pursue your injury claim. Take it from us, knowing the driver was violating his safety protocols is not the same thing as being able to prove it. Allow us to take that burden from you. Simply click the contact info on this page and see how we can help you get the justice you deserve.

  • How long does it take to resolve a motorcycle accident case?

    The two most often asked questions an injury attorney hears are:

    1. How much is my claim worth?
    2. How long will my case take? 

    These concerns are inevitable when pursuing any kind of damage or personal injury because, as the victim, you want to know if filing a claim is worth your time and aggravation. We understand. Unfortunately, the answers to these questions may not be as straightforward as you would hope.

    Honest Expectations

    Personal injury claims are not formulaic. There are no codes or special schedules that can determine how one claim will compare to the next. As a result, there is no set sum, claim value, resolution, or time period that any attorney can guarantee right out of the gate. Therefore, if an attorney responds with anything other than an estimation based on past cases when asked how long it will take to receive your compensation, you need to walk away. Without knowing all the facts of your case, it’s impossible, unethical, and manipulative to suggest a guaranteed timeframe—especially if that frame seems particularly short. 

    Rather than taking advantage of your desire to resolve your claim quickly, a reliable attorney will take the time to discuss your case in detail to determine potential factors that may prolong your case, cause delays, or affect your claim’s eligibility. These factors include:

    • Statute of limitations. A “statute of limitations” is a state law that sets a specific time limit on your right to file a lawsuit. These windows vary depending on the type of accident and damages you’ve suffered. In most injury cases, Tennessee allows a victim or his family one year from the accident date to file a claim. If the collision resulted in a death, this period begins on the date of death, rather than the accident date (if different). If you file outside of this window, the court will most likely dismiss your case altogether.
    • Liability. Whether it’s an injury lawsuit or a wrongful death claim, the investigation stage and negotiation period will depend on whether the allegedly-at-fault driver’s negligence was the only cause of the accident. Since Tennessee is a comparative fault state, determining the percentages of liability for each party involved can take time.
    • Court orders. Many jurisdictions require accident victims and defendants to participate in mediation and settlement conferences as part of the civil court case process. If the parties involved are unwilling to compromise, retain varied recollections of what happened, or exhibit unruly behavior against one another in court, the judge may order additional conferencing, depositions, or mediation which can drastically prolong a case.

    If you have questions or concerns about when you should pursue an injury claim, don’t allow yourself to be bamboozled or sweet-talked by empty promises and manipulations. Contact our motorcycle accident attorneys today and see how we value your time and trust more than your pocketbook. Call us today to schedule your FREE case review and see how we can help you build a strong and viable claim.

    GriffithLaw has extensive experience helping motorcycle riders receive compensation for their injuries. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, please call our Franklin law firm today.

  • Is Motorcycle Lane Splitting Legal in Tennessee?

    motorcyclist doing illegal lane splitting maneuver in TennesseeMotorcycles are a popular form of transportation in Tennessee. In fact, there are more than 160,000 registered motorcycles in the state, with more riders taking to the road every year. In addition to in-state bikes, thousands of out-of-state riders weave down our scenic roadways on their way across the country. Unfortunately, whether local or not, an increase of motorcycles on the road ultimately increases traffic risks.

    You don’t have to be an avid rider to know that motorcyclists are at an increased risk of injury over drivers of cars and trucks. In the event of a collision, a motorcyclist is ten times more likely to be severely injured than a motorist. Furthermore, certain maneuvers that motorcyclists employ can increase the risk of a collision, which in turn, increases their own risk of injury. One of these risky maneuvers is known as lane splitting.    

    What Is Lane Splitting?

    This maneuver, also referred to as "lane sharing" or "filtering," occurs when a motorcyclist rides next to traffic, between the designated lanes. Therefore, rather than pulling up behind a car, lane splitting allows bikers to pull over next to the car and use the median between the lanes as their personal motorcycle lane. 

    When performed intelligently and safely, lane splitting can help decrease traffic congestion and rear-end motorcycle collisions. However, when performed recklessly, this maneuver can cause confusion, road rage, and serious collision risks due to the proximity of the cars to the motorcycle, reduced maneuvering space, and the failure of drivers to expect a motorcyclist next to him.

    Although the practice is common in many countries around the world, the United States isn’t as open to the idea of lane sharing.

    Lane Splitting Laws in Tennessee

    In the U.S., California is the only state that permits lane splitting due to its large motorcycle population and overwhelming traffic back-ups. However, as more bikers take to the streets and traffic congestion increases across the nation, riders from all over the country are urging legislators to remove restrictions on lane splitting.

    In 2015, a bill known as Tennessee House Bill 1102, was introduced to the Tennessee House of Representatives. This bill, if passed, would allow motorcyclists to operate between lanes of traffic when needed. The bill laid out reasons why lane splitting would be beneficial to the state’s road system by listing the following advantages, which were gathered by the American Motorcycle Association:

    • Increased visibility. Motorists will be better equipped to see motorcyclists. Since the motorcyclists will move between vehicles, drivers will be able to see them more clearly in their side mirrors, than if they were swerving in-and-out of blind spots in the rear.
    • Increased focus. Motorcyclists will be more alert. Since lane splitting will decrease a motorcyclist’s shifting and braking during stop-and-go traffic, he’ll be less likely to become fatigued.
    • Decreased traffic and traffic-related injuries. Since motorcyclists will no longer be spending wasted time in traffic, backups will decrease and exposure injuries, such as heatstroke and exhaust exposure, will also decrease.
    • Decreased rear-end collisions. Since visibility will improve, rear-end collisions that are caused by a failure to recognize a motorcycle’s presence would no longer be an issue.

    Unfortunately, before the bill could gain traction, and despite numerous pleas by local motorcyclists, the bill died before it made it to its first reading.

    For more information on Tennessee motorcycle laws, safety, and personal injury, feel free to browse our extensive collection of articles and legal resources. To get started, click this link to learn more about Tennessee motorcycle, moped, and scooter laws.

    GriffithLaw Protects the Rights of Tennessee Motorcyclists

    If you are a motorcyclist who was injured by a careless driver in Tennessee, the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at GriffithLaw are here to help. We stand up for motorcycle riders against unfair insurance adjusters and biased juries by presenting the biker’s side of the story. You can trust us to fully investigate your accident and to protect your rights in a settlement or a jury trial. Call us today for a free review of your case at (615) 807-7900.

  • When can my child ride on my motorcycle with me?

    Motorcyclist with passenger riding motorcycle in TennesseeIn Tennessee, riders can begin learning to drive a motorcycle at the age of sixteen. Special permits can be awarded to eager fifteen-year-olds as well. However, there is no age minimum to be a passenger on a licensed rider’s motorcycle.

    Motorcycle Passenger Laws

    Tennessee law doesn’t mandate a minimum age to be a passenger. In other words, as long as the motorcycle and its riders fulfill the following safety requirements, children can legally ride on a motorcycle as long as they’re not controlling it:

    • Seats. When passengers are involved, the motorcycle must have a permanent two-person seat, a permanent additional rear seat, or an attachable sidecar.
    • Position. When passengers are present, all seats must be positioned to face forward, and all riders must face forward with one leg on either side of the motorcycle.
    • View. Passengers, no matter their age, must not be situated in such a way that distracts the operator or obstructs his view.
    • Helmet. Tennessee law requires all riders and passengers to wear helmets, no matter age, experience, or circumstance.
    • Height. Though state law doesn’t mandate an age requirement, it does specify a height requirement. A child under the age of sixteen is allowed to ride as a passenger provided his feet can comfortably reach the motorcycle’s footpegs/footrests. The only exception to this rule is when the child is riding in a sidecar, where footrests are not mandated.  

    Violation of any of these requirements, by operator or passenger, can result in a Class C misdemeanor, and result in fines and potential license suspension.

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  • How much is my motorcycle case worth?

    value of motorcycle claimsOne of the first questions a lawyer is asked by a motorcycle accident victim is, “How much is my case worth?” This is a legitimate question. After all, no one wants to put the time, effort, and anxiety into pursuing a case when the outcome is going to be less than a week’s wages. However, when you ask a lawyer this question, his answer will ultimately give you insight into whether or not he’s a reliable attorney. In fact, it doesn’t matter how much he may say, if he gives you any monetary value, the thing to do is to walk away.

    Why? Because he’s promising you something that he may not be able to deliver.

    Get a Free Evaluation of Your Case Now!

    Factors That Affect a Claim’s Worth

    The truth of the matter is, when it comes to personal injury claims, there is no set amount of money that any lawyer can promise. Therefore, when you ask an attorney how much your claim is worth, the only truthful answer he can give is an average of his past cases that may have been similar to yours. However, without knowing all the facts of your case, there’s no way to even speculate how much of a settlement your particular case may be awarded.  

    This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be completely left in the dark on whether or not to pursue your claim. Rather than manipulate you by making promises he can’t keep, a reliable attorney will sit you down and discuss the factors of a claim that dictate compensation. These factors include:

    • Injury severity. When pursuing an injury claim, the main focus of the claim should be to compensate you for the medical costs associated with your injuries. If your injuries are minor and required little treatment, your settlement will be smaller than if your injuries were severe. 
    • Liability. Tennessee is a modified-comparative negligence state. Therefore, the percentage of fault is important to determine how much compensation you’re entitled to. Depending on how the judge or jury determines fault, you may be awarded 100% of the designated settlement amount, or you could be found liable for your own injuries and awarded zero percent of the settlement.
    • Pain and suffering. In addition to physical injuries, a motorcycle accident claim can also factor in emotional stress and quality of life damages. Although difficult to prove and hard to categorize for monetary value, these damages can range from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars depending on their outcome.
    • Recovery expenses. The easiest calculation for part of your settlement deals with your recovery expenses. These expenses include hospital bills, necessary physical therapy expenses, and any long-term care that may be required. Since these expenses have an actual price tag, they can be added up to create a good starting point for determining your case’s overall worth.
    • Recovery losses. Recovery losses refer to monetary, emotional, and life-altering damages that resulted as a direct consequence of your injuries. For example, lost wages for not being able to work, or lost relationships due to mood swings brought on by accident-related post-traumatic stress disorder.

    We Value Clients Over Promises

    If you have questions or concerns about whether you should pursue an injury claim, don’t allow yourself to be taken in by a lie or exaggeration. The last thing you need is to have an attorney promise you something he can’t deliver. Contact our Motorcycle accident lawyers in Franklin to see how we value you more than the prospect of your business. We want to secure the best settlement for your claim, but we won’t manipulate you with ridiculous expectations just to secure a commission. You and your claim are worth more than that. Call us today to schedule your FREE case review and see how we can help you build a strong and viable claim.

  • What if I was partially at fault for my motorcycle accident?

    Motorcycle crash faultYour eligibility for motorcycle accident compensation depends on the state you live in. In some states, riders are bound by the system of contributory negligence, and cannot get any recovery for an accident if they were even 1% responsible. Tennessee used to be one of these states, but in 1992 we abandoned contributory negligence in favor of a comparative fault system, which allows riders and drivers to recover damages based on their percentage of blame for the crash.

    You Can Still Recover Damages If You Are Partially at Fault for a Tennessee Motorcycle Crash

    Tennessee’s modified comparative fault system allows a person to recover damages as long as they are less at fault than the opposing party. As long as you are less than 50% to blame, you may still pursue a case against the other party. The amount of money you are awarded will likely be limited if you are partly to blame, but as motorcycle accidents may have damages in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, partial compensation can still make a big difference in your recovery.

    Proving fault can be difficult in the aftermath of a crash. Many victims are not sure who was more at fault, while others may have made mistakes at the scene that make it seem as if they are to blame. The percentage of blame in all accident cases will be assigned by the jury in the case, and it will all depend on the evidence.

    Some of the most important pieces of evidence in a crash case include:

    • The police report. Documents from reputable third parties are usually given more weight in court than the opinions of the people involved. The account from the officers, medical responders, and witnesses on the scene can show the jury the aftermath of the crash from law enforcement’s point of view.
    • Medical evidence. Reports and medical records show the extent of a victim’s injuries, including the surgeries he or she had to go through and the expected recovery times and losses the victim sustained.
    • Expert testimony. Your attorney may request the testimony of medical experts to demonstrate the extent of your physical limitations after the crash and hire crash reconstruction experts to walk the jury through the crash as it happened.

    Our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys can help collect and develop the facts of your case, getting you proper compensation for your injuries. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, please contact our injury law firm today.

  • What are my options after being injured as a passenger in a motorcycle accident?

    If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident, you're entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, the first step in your personal injury claim will be determining who is liable for the incident.

    Who Is Liable for a Motorcycle Passenger's Injuries?

    Passengers injured in motorcycle crash

    Determining who is liable for a passenger's injuries depends upon the circumstances of the accident. Possibilities may include:

    • Motorcycle operator. If the motorcycle was the only vehicle involved in the accident or the operator was responsible for causing a multi-vehicle accident, your claim will most likely be against the person you were riding with.
    • Driver of the other vehicle. If another driver caused the accident, his insurance should pay for your injuries.
    • Both the motorcycle operator and the other driver. If both parties are found partially at fault for the accident, it may be possible to file two claims to receive full coverage for your damages.
    • Motorcycle manufacturer. If a defect in the motorcycle caused the accident, you can sue the manufacturer for your injuries.
    • Motorcycle mechanic. If the motorcycle wasn't repaired correctly and faulty brakes or other mechanical problems contributed to the accident, the mechanic or owner of the repair shop may be responsible for your damages.
    • State, county, city, or town. When a motorcycle accident is caused by potholes or other road defects, the agency responsible for maintaining the roads can be held financially liable.

    Accident reports, witness testimony, and experts who specialize in accident reconstruction can be used to help determine liability for your injuries.

    In most cases, passengers aren't considered at fault for their own injuries. However, if you were riding with an operator you knew was impaired or otherwise unqualified, the insurance company might try to argue that you're partially responsible for your damages. You might also be found partially at fault if you made any sort of sudden movement that jeopardized the operator's ability to safely control the motorcycle. Fortunately, you can still collect compensation for your damages as long as you are found to be less than 50% responsible for the accident.

    Protect Your Legal Rights

    GriffithLaw is committed to helping injured passengers receive compensation for their motorcycle accident injuries. To learn more or schedule a free, no-obligation case review, please call our Franklin personal injury law firm at 615-807-7900.

  • A neighbor’s dog bit me and caused several serious injuries. How much can I expect from a settlement if I sue the owner?

    Husky dog on leash snarling at personNo matter the cause of your personal injury, whether it be a dog bite, car accident, or slip and fall, no decent lawyer can tell you how much your claim is worth just by looking at you. If an attorney tries to guarantee that you’ll receive a specific amount, you should probably find another attorney.

    The thing is, it’s impossible even to estimate a potential settlement amount without discussing, calculating, and investigating all aspects of your claim. No two attacks are the same, no two injuries require the same treatment, and no two recoveries have the same price tag. Therefore, there is no spreadsheet that can reasonably show how much your individual case may be worth, if you decide to pursue it.

    However, just because there isn’t a magic number, doesn’t mean you and your lawyer can’t work on assigning monetary values to worthy aspects of your claim.

    Dog Bite Elements Worthy of Claim Compensation

    As with any personal injury, the settlement prospects are determined by the specific elements of your case and your ability to prove fault. When building your case, aspects of the attack that can be included for compensation are:

    • Property damage repair expenses. Did the attack cause permanent damage or injury to your property? If so, a list of the damaged items can be entered as legitimate injury losses. It’s important to note that pets are considered “property” when it comes to injury claims. Therefore, if the aggressive dog injured your dog or another animal in your care, you can demand compensation for vet bills.
    • Physical injury expenses. Essentially, the more severe your injuries, the higher the settlement you should get. However, you must be able to provide complete medical documentation of your injuries, including severity, diagnoses, treatment options, recovery estimates, and long term effects. Treatment bills should also be included to verify the overall cost of your injuries. These reports can not only persuade a jury of how much you suffered but also how much the incident has cost you, physically as well as financially.
    • Psychological trauma expenses. In many dog bite cases, physical injuries aren’t the only effects of the attacks. Permanent wounds, especially those sustained to the face and arms, can cause psychological scarring akin to post-traumatic stress disorder. The visual reminders of the attack can cause continuous anxiety while traumatic scarring and deformities can affect the victim’s sense of self. To overcome this emotional fallout, victims may require extensive therapy and expensive psychological treatment.

    These aspects of your case are the foundation for seeking financial compensation. However, although you must file your claim within a year of the attack, a settlement can’t be calculated until after your recovery, even if that recovery takes longer than 365 days. Why? Because the complete cost of your attack should not be estimated or shortchanged. If a settlement was made during your recovery, the liable owner’s insurance company may only agree to pay for current treatment and damages. If you accept the settlement but your wounds worsen, become infected, or cause long term disabilities, you’ll have to pay those expenses out of pocket.

    Don't get swindled by the insurance company, or taken around the block by an inexperienced lawyer—Contact GriffithLaw today to speak with a knowledgeable, trustworthy, and competent dog bite attorney.

  • Can the owner’s landlord be held accountable when a dog bites me on his property?

    Angry dog ready to attackWhen an aggressive dog attacks you in a public area, the owner of that dog can be held legally responsible for any damage. However, if the attack takes place within the confines of private property, such as within an apartment complex, the owner of that property may also be held liable. To ensure your dog bite claim’s success, you should understand who may be liable.

    Dog Bite Liability

    Dog bite laws in the United States are somewhat complicated and can change from state to state. In fact, in Tennessee alone, dog bite laws can even vary from county to county. However, the overall understanding of liability and fault is placed on the dog’s owner. Since the dog can’t be held personally accountable for his actions, his owner is responsible for keeping him in line. Tennessee Code §44-8-413 specifically states that:

    • A dog’s owner has an obligation to keep her dog under control at all times. This means she’s also responsible for keeping that dog away from situations that may provoke him to attack. If an owner fails in her duty, she’s subject to civil liability for any damages that result from the dog’s actions. The extent of damages can include injuries, medical exam costs, and property destruction sustained while on public property or while lawfully in or on private property.
    • When an owner fails to keep her pet under control, she’s financially responsible for all damages caused by the dog’s actions. This holds true regardless of the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s temperament or propensity to lash out.
    • In situations where a dog attack takes place on private property, the dog’s owner will be held accountable, but the owner of the property may also be subject to blame for allowing the dangerous creature to roam.

    Landlord’s Liability

    It’s rare for a landlord to be held liable for injuries caused by a tenant's dog. However, certain exceptions do exist. It’s important to know that leasing an apartment to a tenant with a dog isn’t enough to make a landlord responsible for the dog’s actions. To prove liability, you must be able to show that during the course of the lease agreement, the landlord:

    • Had knowledge of the dog’s violent temperament but chose to lease to the owner despite the risks. If the landlord had previous knowledge that the dog was dangerous and negligently failed to address the situation, he could be held partially liable for any damages.
    • Had intimate knowledge or control of the dog’s actions prior to or during the attack. If the landlord contractually agreed to take care of, harbor, kennel, or maintain control over the animal at any time, he may be open to liability charges. If he was taking care of the dog at the time of the attack, the responsibility of control transfers from the owner to the landlord. Furthermore, if the landlord had intimate knowledge of the dog’s personality, he should have been able to recognize the potential dangers and addressed them before an incident occurred.
    • Had the legal power to evict the dog or his owner. If the landlord had the opportunity to request the removal of the tenant’s dog but failed to do so before an attack, he can be held partially accountable for negligence. Removal opportunity can be legally justified through eviction or as a consequence for violation of aggressive dog rules in the lease agreement.

    If you believe that your dog bite injuries were caused as a direct result of owner and landlord negligence, contact our office today at 615-807-7900. We’ll be happy to schedule your FREE one-on-one consultation with attorney John L. Griffith so you can better understand your rights and legal options. Contact us today and see how we can help you get the injury compensation you need.

    Need more information right now? Feel free to download our complimentary guide to personal injury claims, “The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case,” to learn more.