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Dog Bite Cases

“Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States.”

Dogbites.org, citing Preventing Dog Bites, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, May 2015

“Dog attack victims suffer over $1 billion in monetary losses annually. JAMA reports this estimate to be as high as $2 billion.”

Dogbites.org, citing Dog Bites Recognized as Public Health Problem by R. Voelker, JAMA, 1997

If you have been bitten by a dog, you may have a legal claim against the dog’s owner and be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Rebecca Blair is a dog bite accident attorney in Brentwood who can review your case in a free consultation, answer your questions, and help you fight for the your rights.

The Tennessee Legislature passed the Diana Acklen Act of 2007 after Ms. Acklen was attacked and killed by three dogs in a residential neighborhood in Tennessee. The Act, which is codified at Tenn. Code Ann. § 44-8-413, provides that “[t]he owner of a dog has a duty to keep that dog under reasonable control at all times, and to keep that dog from running at large.” An owner who breaches this duty may be liable for damages if his or her dog injures a person while in a public place or while lawfully on private property of another. The Tennessee statute provides that “[t]he owner may be held liable regardless of whether the dog has shown any dangerous propensities or whether the dog's owner knew or should have known of the dog's dangerous propensities.” Tenn. Code Ann. § 44-8-413(a)(2).

However, there are several exceptions to this rule and there is generally no liability on the part of the dog owner if:

  1. The dog is a police or military dog carrying out official duties;
  2. The injured person was trespassing upon the private, nonresidential property of the dog’s owner;
  3. The injury occurred while the dog was protecting the dog's owner or an innocent person from attack by the injured person or a dog owned by the injured person;
  4. The dog was confined in a kennel, crate or other enclosure when the injury occurred; or
  5. The injured person enticed, disturbed, alarmed, harassed, or otherwise provoked the dog causing injury.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 44-8-413(b).

In addition, the “residential exception” to the Tennessee dog bite statute provides that if the injury from the dog occurs on “residential, farm or other noncommercial property, and the dog's owner is the owner of the property, or is on the property by permission of the owner or as a lawful tenant or lessee,” then the injured person must “establish that the dog's owner knew or should have known of the dog's dangerous propensities[]” in order to recover damages. Tenn. Code Ann. § 44-8-413 (c)(1).

It is important to note that an individual bitten by a dog has one year from the date of injury within which to file a lawsuit to recover for his or her injuries under Tenn. Code Ann. § 44-8-413. Thus, it is important to seek legal advice from an attorney regarding your dog bite case as soon as possible.

With more than 23 years of experience in legal practice, Rebecca Blair has the knowledge and resources to help you fight for the compensation you need to move on with life. To schedule a free consultation, call (615) 953-1122 or send a message on our Contact Page.

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