Murfreesboro ranks fourth in dog parks per square mile out of 645 Tennessee cities. While canines are welcome to socialize off-leash in the city’s dog parks, that does not mean an owner cannot be held responsible should their canine attacks someone.
If you or a loved one is attacked and bitten by someone else’s dog, even if the animal has no aggressive history, a Murfreesboro dog bite lawyer could help. An understanding attorney could discuss whether you are eligible for compensation to pay medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Strict Liability Versus One Bite Rule
In Tennessee, pet owner whose dog bites someone may be found liable under strict liability or the one-bite rule. A dog attack lawyer in Murfreesboro could explain which law applies in a specific case.
Under the Tennessee Code Ann. § 44-8-413, dog owners are responsible for any injuries their pets cause if they attack someone, even if the owner had no reason to believe the animal was dangerous. Strict liability is enforced if the dog and victim were in a public space and the dog was running at large, such as on a sidewalk, parking lot, or park, or if the injured party was lawfully on someone else’s private property.
Dog owners will not be held to the standard of strict liability if any of the following apply:
- The animal injured someone in the line of duty as a police or military dog
- The injured party provoked, enticed, teased, or harassed the dog
- The dog was protecting its owner or another person
- The injured party was trespassing on the dog owner’s private, nonresidential property
- The dog bit the victim while confined in a crate or kennel
The most common defense by pet owners is that the victim teased or provoked the dog into the attack. The trespasser’s exception has also been used successfully in some cases. A local attorney could study the facts to defend against a pet owner’s defenses.
The One Bite Rule
If the dog bite occurs on non-commercial property that the pet owner has a right to be on, Tennessee applies the one bite rule. The victim will have to prove that the dog owner knew or should have known the dog was likely to bite someone because it has bitten before or has shown aggressive tendencies. A dog that has never bitten or acted aggressively before cannot be held liable because the attack is considered unforeseeable.
Types of Injuries from Dog Attacks
Dog bites can be minor nips that scrape the skin or devastating injuries. In severe cases, they can even cause death. Cases involving children are especially catastrophic. Common injuries from dog attacks can include:
- Puncture wounds
- Severed nerves
- Permanent scarring
- Psychological trauma
- Broken bones
- Scratches and abrasions
A Murfreesboro lawyer experienced with dog bite cases could estimate the amount of financial compensation a claimant could potentially recover based off their specific losses.
Seek Guidance from a Murfreesboro Dog Bite Attorney
Tennessee laws are complicated when it comes to dog attacks. Therefore, it is imperative that you get the help you need from a Murfreesboro dog bite lawyer familiar with the court system and personal injury law. If someone’s dog bit you, contact our law offices today for an initial consultation. Our legal professionals are here to help you.