Man’s best friend is not always a friend to everyone and can be downright dangerous sometimes. Even dogs that their owners maintain have always been ‘friendly’ can become vicious in certain circumstances and it’s often small children who become victims when a dog decides to attack. If you, or a member of your family are attacked and injured by a dog in an unprovoked attack anywhere in Tennessee what should you do apart from defend yourself and then get immediate medical attention?
One bite or no bite – what is considered to be negligence?
Tennessee is a little unusual as it has more complicated dog bite liability rules than many other states. It is neither a ‘one bite’ state nor a ‘no bite’ state.
In Tennessee, the law centers on the idea of negligence. A dog owner who acts in a negligent way is liable for any attack on someone else by his or her dog if the attack occurs in a public place or if the victim has been invited on to someone else’s private property (not the dog owner’s). If this is the scenario, then like the ‘no bite’ rule in other states, the dog’s owner is strictly liable.
If the attack occurs on the dog owner’s rented or own property, even if it is a farm or any non commercial property, then the ‘one bite’ rule applies. The difference with this is that there is an important let out for dog owners. The victim must prove that the dog owner was aware that his or her dog could potentially be vicious or at least attack another person. For example, if the dog owner knew that it had bitten a child before and the dog had done so unprovoked, then this would, or could, make the dog owner liable for legal action.
Steps to take after a dog bite in Nashville
If you, or a family member, are attacked and injured by a dog, of course the main concern is to neutralize the dog’s attack and then seek medical help. If the dog has broken the skin with its teeth, there is a very real danger of serious internal infection.
It is important to try and remember any details you can about the dog and who its owner might have been. If the dog owner was not present, then it is at least helpful if you can recall whet the circumstances were when the attack took place, particularly if the dog was not tied up and was roaming loose. Where did the attack take place? What was the breed of the dog or if you have no idea what breed it was what was anything you can remember about it –size, color,shape etc?
If the owner was present, what did the owner do when the attack took place? Did he or she call the dog by name? Did he or she attempt to control the dog?
Was anyone else around who could act as a witness to what happened? Could you get their contact details – phone number, email address etc?
Although this may seem difficult in the circumstances, if you had a camera or even a cell phone or tablet with a camera app on it, you should attempt to take any photos of the wound that the dog made, or photos of the dog itself. These photos may help identify the dog when you have time to consider taking legal action.
Recognizing a dog may be easier than it seems. The majority of dog attacks, especially those on children, actually occur within the immediate neighborhood of the victim, so there is a good chance
Notify the police of any unprovoked attack by a dog, especially if the owner was present and did nothing to stop the dog.
Once a vicious dog, always a vicious dog
Every dog that ‘gets away’ with attacking someone in an unprovoked attack, especially if that person is small and relatively defenseless, is quite capable of repeating the same thing again and again until it is destroyed. It is unlikely that the owner of a potentially dangerous dog is going to do anything about his or her dog unless forced to do so by legal action.
Because of Tennessee’s unusual law it can be difficult proving that a dog owner was acting in a negligent way without the help of a personal injury attorney with experience in dog bite litigation. Call the Keith Williams Law Group today at (615) 313-3999.