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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  • 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.

  • How long will my dog bite case take to settle?

    White dog biting womans armA frequent question we get asked by our clients is —“How long will it take for my claim to be settled?” Although this question is important, it isn’t easy to answer. When it comes to personal injury claims, whether a dog bite, a car accident, or a slip and fall case, the potential duration of the claims vary from client to client.

    Continuance Factors in Dog Bite Cases

    Although we can’t give you a specific time frame such as three weeks or three years, we can tell you what factors of a dog bite case will influence whether the claim will be settled quickly or be drawn out. These elements include:

    • Severity of your injuries. Depending on the extent of your injuries, an insurance company may choose to offer a settlement straight away. However, just because the offer is made, doesn’t mean you should accept. If your injuries are minor and you don’t want to drag out your claim, your attorney may advise you to consider a quick settlement. However, if your injuries are severe and extensive, your attorney should advise you to hold off on a settlement until your recovery is complete. Although the insurance company will try to settle early to avoid having to pay more for treatments, you deserve a settlement that will cover all of your expenses, not just the treatments up until the offer.
    • Treatment requirements. The more extensive your injuries, the more treatment your injuries will require. It’s important to follow your doctor’s orders and receive all of the care you need to reach your maximum recovery. However, the more treatments you need, the more expensive your recovery becomes. As your recovery expenses increase, so will the time you and your lawyer will spend on a settlement agreement with the insurance company.
    • Recovery time. As mentioned above, you shouldn't settle a case before finishing your treatment. In dog bite cases, it’s important to wait until your injuries have healed to discover the full extent of your scarring, and likewise how much compensation you deserve.
    • Settlement options. The majority of dog bite cases are settled out of court and in a timely fashion. However, if the insurance company fails to negotiate a reasonable offer, you may have no other choice than to file a lawsuit. If you’re forced to go to trial, your claim may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months before a verdict is reached.

    No matter the severity of your injuries, your best option to secure an efficient and successful dog bite claim is to seek the professional guidance of an experienced dog bite attorney.

    Statute of Limitations

    While we’re on the subject of time, you need to know that your dog bite claim is subject to a statute of limitations. This means that you have a finite, or limited, amount of time to file a claim against the liable owners before your case becomes invalid. It’s especially important, as a Tennessean, that you know our state’s limitation laws, for they are drastically shorter than other state filing limits. Tennessee dog bite victims are subject to a one year statute of limitations.   If your child is a minor, that time may be extended until that child's 19th birthday.  However, time is not your friend in cases like this.  The sooner you seek guidance from a caring, trusted attorney, the better for you and your family.  

    If you fail to file within this 365-day window, Tennessee courts will most likely refuse to hear your case. Therefore, you have no time to lose—Contact local Tennessee attorney John Griffith, today to get your claim started. The faster you begin, the quicker you’ll receive your settlement. Call 615-807-7900 now, and see how we can help you secure your future.

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  • I was seriously injured in a rear-end collision. How can I tell who was responsible for the accident?

    Man holding neck after rear-end collisionThe most common car accident types can be broken down into three categories: head-on collisions, side impact or T-bone collisions, and rear-end collisions. Head-on and T-bone accidents are the most life-threatening types of collisions as the points of impact are located near the driver and passengers. However, rear-end collisions can also cause serious injury and it may be difficult to determine liability in these kinds of crashes.

    Liability in Rear-end Collisions

    Tennessee is a “modified-fault” state. This means that if a driver’s actions are found to be completely responsible for the accident, he will be held accountable for all damages. However, if he or his insurance company can prove that your actions contributed to the collision, you may be held partially liable for your own injuries.

    In rear-end collision investigations, liability usually falls on the driver of the rear vehicle. The basic notion is that the rear driver failed in his duties as a responsible driver by:

    • Paying attention to traffic ahead. If he were paying attention, he would have been able to stop before crashing into the car ahead of him.
    • Driving at a controllable speed. If he was in control of his vehicle, he should have been able to stop in plenty of time to avoid a collision.
    • Maintaining an adequate braking distance. If he was driving normally, paying attention and allowing a safe two-car stopping distance between his bumper and the car in front of him, he should have had enough time and distance to stop completely before a collision occurred.

    Although these assumptions are reasonable explanations for liability, there are a few exceptions. In other words, there are instances where you could be held accountable even though you were hit from behind. These instances include slamming on your brakes with no warning, cutting in front of another driver when there wasn’t enough room, or committing any other negligent action that deliberately put you and other drivers at risk for a collision.

    Types of Injuries Suffered in Rear-End Collisions

    Injuries suffered when your car is hit from behind are often less severe than those resulting from head-on collisions or even side-impact crashes. However, rear-end collisions can cause injuries resulting in chronic pain and suffering. Often these injuries involve soft-tissue damage, which can be difficult to prove to an insurance adjuster. You will need to seek medical treatment and keep careful record of your doctor visits, diagnosis, treatments, and physical therapy appointments. The most common injuries caused by rear-end collisions include the following:

    • Whiplash. Whiplash occurs when a tremendous force causes the neck to over-extend. This over-extension causes muscles and ligaments to stretch or even tear. Even though it’s not a life-threatening injury, it can cause prolonged periods of pain, discomfort, and the inability to move the neck. 
    • Back trauma. Depending on the severity of the collision, occupants’ backs can be injured, causing severe bruising or even spinal damage. If the force was great enough to cause spinal trauma, the consequences of the injury can range from pain and numbness to partial or complete paralysis.
    • Facial damage. In addition to causing whiplash, the force of a rear-end collision can cause the driver or passenger to smash his face into the steering wheel or console. This impact can lead to broken orbital (bones around the eye) or cheek bones, collapsed nasal passages, and fractured jaws.

    Precautionary Steps to Protect Your Rights

    You never know when you may need a helping hand. Don’t allow an insurance company to lay the fault at your feet or take advantage of your confusion. An experienced car accident attorney will help you strengthen your case by documenting your injuries. Allow attorney John L. Griffith to protect you and your rights. You can also download our FREE guide on handling personal injury cases for additional insights and guidance into car accident injury claims.

  • Can multiple parties be held responsible for a truck accident?

    Row of semi trucks in a parking lotWhen you and your family suffer a devastating truck collision, the first thing you need to worry about is getting the medical care you need. Once everyone’s injuries have been addressed, your next concern should focus on the cause of the accident. After a car accident, these questions can generally be answered one of two ways: You are at fault or the other driver is at fault. However, truck accidents aren’t necessarily that black and white.

    Multiple Liability for Truck Accidents

    The trucking industry is required to follow strict laws mandated by the federal government. These laws can help determine who should be held responsible for an accident depending on which regulations were ignored. Four possible candidates for liability are the driver, the trucking company, the cargo company, and the truck manufacturer

    • Driver. Truck drivers are responsible for following traffic laws, controlling their rigs, and maintaining a level of professionalism at all times. Unfortunately, they also have to worry about deadlines, impatient employers, and efficiency bonuses. As a result, it’s easy for a truck driver to choose speed over caution and reckless behavior over safety. When a driver dismisses protocol and disregards traffic safety, he may be liable for any damages that result from his actions.
    • Trucking company. A trucking company may be held liable for a collision if it placed unrealistic expectations on the driver. Federal laws mandate when and how long a driver must rest between shifts. However, when an employer encourages a driver to push through his breaks to meet his deadline, he forces the trucker to drive negligently and places you at risk. Furthermore, a trucking company can be held responsible for hiring inexperienced or dangerous drivers and for failing to maintain trucks in their fleet.    
    • Cargo company. One of the most common causes of truck accidents is overloaded or poorly loaded cargo. When the cargo in the trailer is unbalanced, the entire truck becomes compromised. In addition to increasing the risk of rollovers and jackknives, unbalanced loads can greatly affect the driver’s ability to control the vehicle, no matter how skilled he is. In these situations, the driver can’t be held liable, as there was nothing he could do to prevent the accident.
    • Truck manufacturers. Truck manufacturers have a duty to test components to ensure their safety. If a defective part directly results in the truck’s loss of control, liability can be passed to the manufacturer. Again, since the driver would have no knowledge of the defect, he can’t be blamed for losing control.

    Pursuing Your Claim

    Need more information about your truck accident liability and claim options? Please feel free to download a complimentary copy of John L. Griffith’s free guide on Tennessee personal injury cases. You’ll not only learn more about your rights and claim options, but you’ll also get a better feel for how GriffithLaw can help you file a persuasive injury claim.

    When pursuing a truck accident claim, you’ll need as much help as you can get to ensure a strong and convincing claim. At GriffithLaw, we’re here to give you the guidance you need to feel confident and prepared for your claim’s success. We know how frustrating and complicated accident injury claims can be, so let our experience and knowledge work for you. Contact us today at 615-807-7900 for a FREE consultation.

  • What type of compensation is available for wrongful death claims in Tennessee?

    Headstone with flowers on itWhen a loved one suffers a fatal injury due to the negligence of another, it has a profound impact on your entire family. In addition to grief and loss, you may be burdened with the financial responsibilities of the deceased. In Tennessee, if a death is caused by an intentional, reckless, or negligent act, you may be eligible to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim.

    A wrongful death claim requires proof that the deceased’s fatal injuries were directly caused by the negligence of another. When fault is established, the next of kin can pursue a suit to collect damages on behalf of the deceased.  

    Wrongful Death Compensation Options to Pursue

    Tennessee allows next of kin to pursue wrongful death claims on behalf of their deceased loved ones. When pursuing such a claim, you can request compensation for the following:

    • Medical expenses. You can claim compensation for any medical expenses accrued between the time of the accident and the resulting death. However, you must be able to prove that the accident directly caused the fatal injuries.
    • Lost wages. You can claim compensation on behalf of the deceased for any lost wages the deceased was unable to collect between the time of the injury and his death. If an accident prevented your loved one from returning to work, whether he was hospitalized, bedridden, or disabled as a result of the accident, the liable party can be held responsible for the wages he was unable to earn.
    • Funeral bills. You can claim compensation for the cost of the funeral and burial. Funerals can easily cost thousands of dollars, and without compensation, you may have to dip into valuable savings accounts.
    • Potential earnings. You can claim compensation based on the deceased’s earning potential. In other words, if your loved one had not been killed in an accident, his life expectancy would have been somewhere around 75 years. In that time, he would have had the potential to make money and contribute to your family’s finances. Since the opportunity to contribute was taken from him, you have the opportunity to take it back by pursuing compensation from the liable party.
    • Loss of consortium. You can claim compensation based on the loss a fatal accident causes you and your family. Although difficult to put a price on, factors that are considered for compensation value include loss of love, companionship, social interactions, and relationships. For example, if a wife and mother is killed in a car crash, the father could pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver. In addition to medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost wages, this claim can also include damages for the personal loss of his wife as well as the children’s loss of their mother. In essence, the at-fault driver will be held accountable for robbing the husband of his relationship with his wife, and robbing the children of their mother. Again, putting a price tag on this can be difficult, but with the help of an experienced attorney, you’ll have the chance to recover at least some financial comfort.

    Pursuing Your Claim to Begin Recovering From Your Grief

    For more information about pursuing a wrongful death claim, feel free to browse our site and learn how our vast experience and knowledge can help you get the settlement you deserve. Need a more one-on-one approach? Contact our office directly at 877-959-8847 to speak with attorney John L. Griffith about how to begin your claim. The loss of a loved one is never easy, especially when financial hardships begin to stack up. Let us be the helping hand you need to overcome your grief and secure your financial future. Call now!

  • How long do I have to file my personal injury accident case?

    The clock is ticking graphicA statute of limitations is a designated period of time that someone has to take legal action against a liable party. Every state has its own filing deadlines for specific kinds of cases. It is important that you know how long you have to file a personal injury claim in Tennessee following a car accident. According to Tennessee Code § 28-3-104, personal tort actions (including injury claims) have a statute of limitations of one year from the date of the initial incident.

    There Are Exceptions

    Exceptions to the one-year statute of limitations can be made based on the circumstances of the accident and the severity of the injuries, as follows:

    • Instances of disability. If the accident in question results in permanent disability or mental incompetence of the claimant, whereupon the victim cannot make legal decisions based on his injuries, next of kin can file a claim on his behalf. However, since determining competency and surrogate rights can take time, Tennessee courts will consider the delay and potentially extend the statute of limitation by 120 days.
    • Wrongful death. In cases where the victim is deceased, whether by cause of the initial accident or by injuries sustained from the accident, the one-year statute of limitations may be extended. Since death may not be immediate, family members cannot be expected to file a claim based on the accident date. Therefore, in these situations, the statute of limitations will either be extended by 120 days, or reconfigured to begin not on the date of the accident, but rather on the date of death.
    • Instances of wrongful concealment. Since the defendant in an injury claim can use the statute of limitations deadline as a defense to have the case dismissed, it stands to reason that prolonging the claim is in his best interest. However, if a defendant willfully or maliciously withholds evidence needed to complete a claim, he’ll be subject to penalties. Therefore, in addition to penalties, the court may also extend the statute of limitations deadline to compensate the claimant for time lost as a result of the defendant’s actions. 

    File Early for a Strong Claim

    Need more information and advice regarding your injury claim? Contact us today for a FREE consultation about whether you're entitled to damages or compensation for your injuries. We can help you build a strong claim. Remember, time is not on your side.

    Share this article via Facebook, Twitter, or email to provide them with the information they need to secure their claim. For additional resources, download your complimentary copy of John Griffith’s free personal injury case guide, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

  • What steps should I take to protect myself while driving when I am pregnant?

    Pregnant woman behind the wheel of a car looking worriedYou have a lot of things to worry about when you are pregnant, including the risk of being injured in a car accident. Learn more about how to keep yourself safe, what harm can be done in a car crash, and what legal options you have following a crash here.

    Staying Safe Behind the Wheel When You Are Pregnant

    Many health care providers overlook the importance of proper vehicle positioning during pregnancy. However, hundreds of expectant mothers suffer miscarriages as a result of improper belt and steering wheel placements putting too much stress on the baby. To protect yourself and your unborn child, make sure that you know how to safely position yourself and your restraints when driving and riding in a vehicle. The following are suggested belt and seat positions for pregnant women:

    • Never ride in a moving vehicle without a full lap and shoulder belt.
    • Sit as far away from the steering wheel as possible, while still being able to safely reach the pedals.
    • Wear the belt as tightly as possible while remaining comfortable.
    • Position the belt so that the diagonal strap rests on the shoulder (not neck) and lies between the breasts, but over the breastbone. The lap belt should rest on the thighs, above the pelvis, but beneath the abdomen. In no circumstances should the strap rest on or cross the stomach.

    Seek Care After A Car Accident While Pregnant

    A car accident, whether minor or severe, can result in serious pregnancy complications. In addition to external injuries, the trauma of a collision can cause after-effects which can include increased risks for:

    • Premature labor
    • Internal bleeding
    • Birth defects
    • Growth retardation (slowed growth rate)
    • Elevated stress levels and blood pressure
    • Pre-eclampsia
    • Placental damage

    Considering the risks involved, your number-one priority following a car collision should be the protection of your baby. It doesn’t matter if the collision was just a fender bender, if you or your baby suffered the jolting effects of a collision, you need to verify that everything is normal with your pregnancy.

    When you’re examined after a car accident, you should expect your physician to order tests, ultrasounds, and electronic fetal monitoring to check the position and health of the baby. Once the exams and tests are finished, your doctor may suggest bed rest for the remainder of your pregnancy to prevent any further trauma.

    Legal Options

    After seeking medical attention, you can begin to tackle the legal side of liability and damage compensation. A personal injury claim can not only help pay for medical bills and property damage but, depending on the circumstances, may also cover pain and emotional suffering that resulted from the trauma.

    For a more thorough discussion on your options for injury recovery following a collision, contact us directly at 877-959-8847. We’ll be happy to discuss your case in more personal detail and recommend the best options for pursuing a claim.

    Did this information answer your questions? Connect with us on Facebook and let us know. While you wait to schedule your review, feel free to download and read our FREE report, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case for more insights into how to handle your claim.

  • I was injured as a passenger in a car accident. What are my rights to a recovery?

    Three women passengers in the back seat of a carThe more passengers there are in a car, the higher the risk for collision injuries. In fact, the driver’s natural instinct for self-preservation often places passengers in harm’s way. To avoid a collision, a driver will instinctively turn the steering wheel away from the oncoming obstacle and inadvertently move the passengers directly into the obstacle’s path.

    According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, over 20,000 passengers were killed as a result of car accident injuries, while driver fatalities numbered 15,000. Despite this discrepancy, accident injury information tends to be geared towards drivers, not passengers. In this article, we will help you understand your rights and options for injury claims as a passenger hurt in a car accident.

    Determining Fault

    To pursue a successful injury claim for any accident, the two fundamentals you need to prove are fault and injury severity. Tennessee law does not usually recognize passenger liability in car accidents (unless the passenger purposefully grabbed the wheel). Therefore, there is no need to prove your innocence. However, although you’re clearly not responsible, the insurance company will demand verification as to which party was at fault. In these types of situations, as a passenger, you have several possible avenues through which to seek compensation. These include:

    • Your driver. The driver of the vehicle in which you were the passenger could be held liable by all parties (other driver and other passengers) if his negligence led to the collision. Although you may not want to accuse a friend or loved one of causing your injuries, a claim against him may be your only option for recovery.
    • The other driver. If the driver of the vehicle that crashed into you is determined to be at fault, you are eligible to file a claim against him and his insurance company for damages.
    • Third party negligence. In a case where an outside factor (Construction, road damage) caused or contributed to the collision, you may be able to pursue a claim against a third party. For example, if a company did not install appropriate flashing lights, orange barrels, or other warning signs to indicate a hazard, the road construction company may be considered liable for your resulting injuries.
    • Personal insurance. By default, Tennessee auto insurance policies include coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists. Therefore, if the liable party does not have the insurance to cover his negligent responsibilities, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance to cover medical expenses and lost wages due to your injuries.
    • All of the above. Tennessee is a fault state; meaning that those responsible for your injuries are liable for your damages. It also means that liability can be divided among multiple parties, each party being responsible for the percentage of the damages for which he was found liable.

    Filing the Claim

    When pursuing a car accident injury claim, whether you were the driver, passenger, or pedestrian, as a victim, you’ll need help filing your claim, understanding your rights, and convincing the insurance company that your injuries require a fair settlement. At GriffithLaw, we’re here to give you the guidance and support you need to pursue a successful personal injury claim. Call 615-807-7900 to schedule your FREE consultation today!

    Need more information about traffic accident claims? Feel free to browse our site to see how our experience and knowledge can help you get the settlement you deserve.

  • What should I do if I am a victim of a hit-and-run accident while riding my bicycle?

    Bicycling should be a relaxing, healthy, and above all safe activity that you and your family can enjoy together. Unfortunately, safety takes a back seat when bicycling near traffic. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2% of traffic accidents are bicycle-related, accounting for 743 bicyclist deaths and 48,000 injuries.

    Sadly, some of these types of accidents are made even more painful when the perpetrator fails to acknowledge the accident and leaves the victim alone, in pain, and with nowhere to turn.

    What to Do After a Hit and Run

    Girl and bicycle in street after being hit by a carAs a bicycle victim of a hit and run, you can and must take certain steps to secure your recovery and legal options. Even though the person responsible for your injuries may not be identifiable, you can still receive compensation as long as you follow the correct procedures. To secure your claim following a bicycle accident injury, make sure you:

    • Report the accident immediately to the police. You need to begin a paper trail and record of the incident as soon as possible to show your insurance company. This record will show the time of the incident, why the guilty party’s insurance isn’t involved, and the general facts of the accident. Furthermore, if possible, you can tell the officer about the make of the car that hit you as well as any distinguishing features to help the police track the driver down.
    • Obtain witness statements. If possible, take down witness statements and information (name, address, and telephone number) of anyone who may have seen the accident or may be able to identify the driver. This information can be critical evidence for your claim as well as prosecution for the hit and run driver.
    • Seek medical attention. Depending on the severity of your injuries, getting appropriate treatment should be your number one priority. If your injuries are severe or life-threatening, do not wait to give a police report or waste time getting witness statements. Your immediate welfare is more important than a potential claim.
    • Call your personal injury attorney. A hit and run case can be extremely tough to prove when the police fail to identify the driver. However, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you build a strong claim, gather important evidence and documentation, and illustrate the point that your injuries were not your fault. Since you’re a victim of someone else’s negligence and criminal acts, he can argue that you shouldn’t be held personally responsible for the financial consequences of that person’s actions. Furthermore, an attorney knows the intricacies of insurance coverage and how uninsured motorist coverage may be able to cover the expenses caused by the hit and run driver.
    • Call your auto and health insurance companies. Your own uninsured motorist coverage may help cover your expenses for injuries and property damage even though you were not driving. However, since the coverage terminology is up to interpretation, you’ll need an experienced attorney to argue your case.

    Contact our bike accident attorney John Griffith today for a FREE consultation and allow him to explain your coverage rights and claim options. Call us today at (615) 807-7900​ to get the support and guidance you need.

  • What should I do if I have been bitten by a dog in Tennessee?

    Ferocious dog showing teethAccording to the American Humane Association, every year an estimated 4.7 million people are injured as a result of dog bites, some of these cases even prove to be fatal. In response to this alarming number of preventable injuries, the Tennessee legislature has begun to rethink their dog bite laws. In fact, in 2007, after a multi-dog attack fatally wounded a 60-year-old woman, the legislature decided that laws needed a complete revision and passed an updated set of dog bite laws—revised again in 2015—that discounts the “first bite rule” in favor of circumstantial liability.

    What Does This Mean for You?

    The assumption under a "first bite rule" is that a dog owner cannot be held liable the first time the dog bites someone because there is no prior knowledge of the dog's aggressiveness. However, most states have rejected this rule and will hold dog owner's accountable for a dog's first attack. The revised law means that when you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a dog bite:

    • You may be entitled to compensation whether or not it was the first time that dog showed aggression.
    • You have one year to file an injury claim.
    • You will have to be careful about how you respond to the attack in order to secure a strong injury claim against the dog’s owner.

    Get a Free Evaluation of Your Case Now!

    Caring for the Bite While Securing Your Claim

    When you’re unable to subdue an aggressive dog and wind up suffering severe bite injuries, you’re entitled to injury compensation from his owner. However, there are several actions you must take after the incident to not only avoid further injury but to also protect your claim. These actions include:

    • Withdrawing to a safe place. The first thing you must do is increase your distance from the aggressive dog to prevent further attack and injury.
    • Treating the wound. When a bite breaks the skin and causes excessive bleeding, you should keep the area elevated to limit blood loss. If possible, wash the wound with tap water to remove debris and saliva.
    • Securing emergency care. Depending on the severity of the bite, you may need to call an ambulance as professional help may be required to treat your injuries.
    • Identifying the dog. Before leaving the scene of the attack, try to identify the dog, where he came from, who he belongs to, and where he lives.
    • Gathering personal information from the owner. Record the owner’s name, address, and phone number. Ask the owner for the dog’s license information and question him about any prior incidents in which the dog may have been involved.
    • Seeking medical care. Always seek medical care after a dog bite. Since bites tend to break the skin, the attacking dog’s saliva can easily make its way into your bloodstream and cause infections.
    • Photographing injuries. If possible, document your injuries and any damage by taking pictures of the wounds, where they took place, and any other results of the attack. These photographs can be used as evidence in your case and help illustrate the extent of the attack.
    • Filing a report. Once you’ve been treated, file a report of the incident with your city or county animal control or sheriff’s department. This report can be used as evidence in your claim as well as provides documentation of the dog’s aggression.
    • Contact an attorney. The best way to guarantee that your claim is just as vigorous as the dog who attacked you is to secure a respectable dog injury lawyer.

    Considering the complexities and restrictions of Tennessee dog bite laws, a local and well-respected lawyer can help you understand and fight for your rights. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, contact GriffithLaw today at 877-959-8847 to see how we can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.