Although dogs are often viewed as loveable pets, these animals are capable of inflicting severe or even fatal injuries. A vicious attack by a dog can leave a victim with lasting damage to his or her physical health and emotional well-being.
Every dog owner has a responsibility to keep pets in control and ensure that they do not harm others. When a dog’s owner fails to prevent a pet from attacking you, that person is legally responsible for compensating you for the harm you have suffered.
If you were bitten by a dog in Greeneville, turn to the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Terry Law Firm to discuss your rights and legal options right away. A consultation is free, and we can answer all your questions about what compensation you are entitled to receive.
Who Is Responsible for a Dog Bite Injury?
If a dog has attacked you, you might wonder who is responsible for compensating you for the harm you’ve suffered. In almost all situations, the person who owns the dog will be held liable for hurting you.
When you own a dog, Tennessee state law says that it’s your duty to keep it from biting or otherwise injuring anyone. Even if the dog has never bit anyone before, the owner should have acted to keep the animal under control. If the dog’s owner fails in this duty, he or she may be required to compensate you for the economic and non-economic damage caused by the dog.
In most cases, you would be filing a claim for compensation with the person’s homeowner’s insurance. It is crucial that you have an experienced attorney representing you as you move forward with a dog bite claim.
Tennessee Dog Bite Laws
The primary dog bite law in Tennessee is T.C.A. § 44-8-413. This law was created after a particularly gruesome attack in which a dog killed a Tennessee woman in 2006. The major change that legislators made allows victims to hold pet owners liable even if their pet had never attacked before. Under the law, “The 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.”
The law also makes clear that every “owner of a dog has a duty to keep that dog under reasonable control at all times.” That means that when you are hurt by an unleashed or out-of-control dog, your dog bite lawyer can argue that the owner violated that duty and should be made to pay for your injury.
Understanding Complications from Dog Bite Injuries
The main problem with dog bites is not just broken skin and puncture wounds. Unfortunately, dog bites can result in complications that range from minor discomfort to severe medical issues like sepsis. Many of these stem from infections or disease transfer from the dog to the victim. Here are some of the potential complications:
- Bacterial infections, including pasteurellosis and staphylococcal infections
- Capnocytophaga infection
All of these infections can result in painful symptoms and can be fatal in extreme situations. The bacterial and capnocytophaga infections can result in symptoms like muscle aches, swelling, redness, abscessed wounds, fever, and sepsis. Rabies can cause delirium, fever, and paralysis. All of these potential complications underscore just how important it is to get the dog who attacked you evaluated so your doctor can treat you effectively.
In addition, victims who have been mauled may struggle to cope with disfiguring injuries that forever change their appearance and their lives.
What to Do After a Dog Attack
Your safety has to be your first priority after a dog attack. Here are some steps you can take in the immediate aftermath of your injury.
- Identify the dog that attacked you and alert the owner or animal control. This is important to ensure your and the public’s safety. It will also allow you to get the animal’s vet records so that your doctor knows which immunizations are most important.
- Seek medical attention or call 911. Any broken skin can result in severe infection.
- Document the attack and your injury. Contact the police or non-emergency line to report your injury and create an official record of the attack. Get contact information from any witnesses, and photograph the scene and your injuries.
- Schedule a free consultation with a dog attack lawyer from The Terry Law Firm. An attorney from our firm will fight to hold the dog’s owner legally and financially liable for your injury.
Compensation for a Dog Bite Injury
After your neighbor, friend, or even family member’s dog attacks you, you may consider seeking medical treatment, paying for it, and doing nothing else. It’s important to understand that in a dog bite claim, you are typically pursuing compensation from the person’s homeowner’s insurance. Even if you are on good terms with the dog’s owner, you should still understand your options for compensation, as treatment expenses can quickly add up, especially if you have to take time off work to heal.
Our attorneys at The Terry Law Firm can demand payment for:
- Past and current medical bills
- Future medical expenses
- Lost income due to your injury
- Reduced earning capacity for the future
- Pain and suffering
How Long Do You Have to File a Claim in Tennessee?
Don’t wait to contact a lawyer after a dog attack. In Tennessee, you only have one year from the date of your injury to file a dog bite injury claim. This statute of limitations applies to all premises liability cases, including dog attacks.
Talk to a Greeneville Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Now
If you have been injured by a dog bite, the responsible party and their insurance company may owe you compensation for the losses you have suffered. Don’t let the bills pile up without talking to a qualified dog bite attorney. Contact The Terry Law Firm today to schedule a free, confidential case review. We can explain your options and help you pursue the payment you need to move forward with your life.