Johnson City, TN Dog and Animal Bite Lawyer
Johnson City Dog Bite Lawyer & Tennessee Animal Attack Attorney
Dog bites and attacks can cause serious injuries to adults, ranging from lacerations and soft tissue injuries to severe infections and broken bones. The ramifications of a serious attack can be even more significant when the victim is a child, including disfigurement, psychological trauma, and even death.
In Johnson City and the surrounding communities, Tennessee dog owners have a responsibility to keep their animals under control at all times. When they fail to do so and an innocent adult or child is injured, an experienced Johnson City dog bite attorney should be retained to pursue justice and maximum compensation.
How Many Dog Bites Occur Each Year?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, roughly 800,000 of whom require medical attention. If you or a loved one was attacked by a dog (or another animal), we invite you to call our Johnson City office to schedule a free consultation with firm-founding attorney Mark Hurt. He can listen to the facts of your case, explain your legal options, and tenaciously fight in seeking full and fair compensation for damages, including:
- Medical bills
- Surgical costs
- Future medical and care expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages (if the attack was intentional)
My Friend’s Dog Bit Me. Are There Alternative Ways to Seek Compensation Rather Than Filing a Lawsuit?
Many homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies offer liability protection for dog bites. This means that if a dog owned by the policyholder attacks or bites someone, the insurance company is on the hook for paying damages up to the specified policy limits.
These insurance policies can be beneficial, especially when an attack occurs at the residence of a loved one or family member, and a victim is reluctant to sue. Additionally, except for a possible deductible, the friend or family member usually will not have to come “out of pocket” for a payment, or be named in a lawsuit (unless a lawsuit is required by the insurance company before they will pay).
When The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt accepts a case, we first evaluate whether an insurance policy exists that offers such coverage. If an insurance policy exists that provides coverage, we will contact the insurance company and seek full compensation directly for damages. Settling a dog bite claim directly without litigation is also beneficial to the insurance company in most cases, as they will not have to pay lawyers to defend the dog owner in litigation.
Understanding Tennessee Dog Bite Law
If you were bitten by a dog in Johnson City or the surrounding communities, you might be entitled to file a legal claim for compensation; however, Tennessee imposes different liability standards depending on where, and under what circumstances, a dog injures a person.
Strict Liability and the One Bite Rule
Under Tennessee law, a dog owner is deemed to be strictly liable for any injury (meaning they are held automatically at fault) if their dog is running at large in a public place or lawfully on another person’s private property at the time of an incident, even if the owner did not have a reason to believe the dog would exhibit aggression.
Alternatively, if a dog bites someone on the owner’s property, the “one bite” rule will apply. This means the person injured must prove that the owner knew (or reasonably should have known) that a dog was aggressive. This knowledge can be shown by a previous dog bite or attack. If a previous bite or attack has occurred, then the dog owner will have strict liability for future dog bites and attacks.
How Long Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Claim in Tennessee?
Tennessee has one of the most stringent statutes of limitations in the United States (the amount of time a plaintiff has to file a legal claim). An individual must file a Tennessee personal injury lawsuit within one year of being injured by an animal. Failure to timely file a claim within this statute of limitations could compromise a person’s ability to pursue compensation in court.
Because you only have a limited time to file a legal claim for damages, we urge you to reach out to Johnson City dog bite lawyer Mark T. Hurt as soon as possible to schedule a free case evaluation. We represent injury victims on contingency, meaning our firm is only entitled to a fee if we secure compensation for you or your loved one’s injuries. Further, we also advance litigation expenses if a case proceeds to trial (such expenses are typically fully covered by a settlement or jury award).
What Defenses Can Be Used in Tennessee Dog Attack Lawsuits?
While Tennessee imposes strict liability in many dog bite injury cases, there are several defenses that might apply:
- The injuries are caused by a police or military dog engaged in official duties;
- The injured person trespassed on the private, nonresidential property of a dog’s owner;
- The injury occurred as a result of a dog protecting a dog’s owner or another innocent party from an attack;
- The injury occurred while an animal was securely confined in an enclosure (e.g., kennel, crate, etc.);
- The injured individual enticed, disturbed, alarmed, harassed, or otherwise provoked the dog.
What Types of Damages Can Be Recovered in a Dog Bite Injury Case?
Dog bite victims are entitled to recover damages for both economic and non-economic losses, including (but not limited to):
- Medical expenses
- Surgical costs
- Lost income
- Lost earning potential
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
What Should I Do If I Was Bit by A Dog in Tennessee?
Johnson City dog bite injury claims can be challenging; however, there are several steps that an individual can take to increase the chances of obtaining a favorable outcome, including:
- Seek immediate medical attention. Even if emergency medical attention is not needed, it is advisable to promptly consult with a physician. This can not only prevent an injury from being exacerbated, but it also provides documentation for a future lawsuit.
- Report the dog bite incident. You are not required to report a dog bite in Tennessee; nevertheless, it is advisable to report incidents to the proper authorities (e.g., police, animal control, the health department, etc.).
- Collect evidence. Evidence can make or break a dog bite case; thus, it is critical to collect as much documentation possible, such as the owner’s contact information; witness statements and contact information; photographs of the animal, injuries, and scene; medical reports; and any physical evidence of an injury (e.g., bloodied clothing).
- Schedule a free consultation with an experienced Johnson City dog bite attorney. The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is only one year; thus, it is critical to schedule a consultation with an experienced Tennessee dog bite attorney as soon as possible.
Call Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with Experienced Johnson City, TN Dog Bite Attorney Mark Hurt – We Only Receive a Fee if Compensation is Recovered!