Determining Liability After a Dog Bite
The state law in Tennessee requires owners to keep their dogs under reasonable control and prevent them from running large in public areas. When a dog owner violates this law, they can be liable for any injuries that the dog causes, whether the injury occurred in a public place or while they were lawfully on private property.
Working with an experienced Tennessee dog bite lawyer can help establish liability since this can often be challenging. If the dog bit a person in a public place, the owner will be held liable whether or not they knew the dog was aggressive or caused a prior injury. This also applies if the victim was on private property and had a legal reason to be on the property.
In cases where the dog bite occurred at the owner’s residence, “one bite” liability may apply. This means that the injured person must prove that the owner was aware that their dog was dangerous or was likely to be aggressive in order for them to be held responsible.
Exceptions to Dog Bite Laws
There are certain exceptions to the liability laws in Tennessee. There is no liability in the following situations:
- The dog is performing police or military duties
- The dog was protecting someone from an attack
- The dog was securely confined in a kennel or similar containment
- The dog was provoked or harassed by the injured person
Breed-Specific Ordinances in Tennessee Municipalities
While the state law in Tennessee compels dog owners to keep their dogs under reasonable control and prevent them from running in public areas, it does not mention certain dog breed restrictions. Certain cities and towns in Tennessee have breed-specific ordinances for their particular municipality. Many of these ordinances apply to breeds such as pit bulls. For example:
- There is a breed ban that prohibits owning, breeding, or reproducing specific dog breeds such as pit bulls. If you currently own a pit bull, you are permitted to keep it, but there are conditions that can reduce the risk of injury.
- Certain cities in Tennessee permit pit bull ownership, but there are restrictions on the dogs and their owners. Pit bulls are banned from dog parks in certain towns and in other areas must be microchipped and muzzled when going on walks.
- Special permits are required in certain cities in order to own a specific breed of dog such as a pit bull.
- There are dangerous dog breed declarations that state a breed such as a pit bull as dangerous or vicious. This type of declaration is enforced to prevent a dog attack and consists of requirements such as an owner carrying additional liability insurance and having secured fencing and kennels for the dog. In addition, the owner will need to have the dog microchipped and sterilized and may have to pay a higher fee to register the pit bull. If the breed is declared dangerous, the owner must post a warning sign on their property.
If you were bitten by a pit bull in a town or city where an ordinance is being enforced, you can take legal action against the owner. A dog bite lawyer can help determine if you are able to file a claim against the negligent owner.
Types of Dog Bite Injuries
There are many types of injuries that can happen due to a dog bite. Dog bites can cause serious injuries such as:
- Facial scarring and disfigurement
- Injuries to the arms and hands
- Brain damage
- Emotional trauma
In Tennessee, you only have one year from the date of your pit bull dog bite injury to file a claim. Don’t wait to contact a lawyer since you could run out of time and not be able to pursue damages. A lawyer can make sure you meet this deadline and work to get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact Our Tennessee Dog Bite Lawyer
If you have been bitten by a pit bull or other dog in Tennessee, contact GriffithLaw’s experienced team of dog bite attorneys for a consultation. We charge no fee if there is no recovery. To schedule a free, no-obligation case review, contact us online or call our office at 615-823-8233.