How Long Does it Take to Settle a Dog Bite Case?

Dog bite incidents can lead to severe injuries for those involved. Unfortunately, securing compensation after a dog bite incident can become fairly complicated. The state of Tennessee takes two different approaches to dog bite incidents, borrowing from both “strict liability” and “one-bite” dog bite laws. Here, we want to briefly describe both of these laws and also discuss how long it could take to settle a dog bite case in Tennessee. Victims in these cases could certainly benefit from the assistance of a skilled dog bite lawyer in Tennessee who has experience handling these claims.

A Brief Explanation of Tennessee’s Dog Bite Laws

Tennessee operates under two types of systems when it comes to dog bite incidents. When we look at Tenn. Code. Ann. section 44-8-413, we can see that dog owners have a responsibility to keep their pets under control at all times and to keep them from “running at large.” If a dog owner fails to fulfill this legal duty, they could be held “strictly liable” for any injuries that occur if their dog bites somebody else who is on public property or lawfully on private property.

If a dog bite occurs on the property owned by the dog owner, the injury victim has to show that the owner knew or should have known that the dog was potentially dangerous. This is typically done by proving that the dog has bitten somebody before, hence the reason this is often called the “one-bite” rule.

In Tennessee, the discussion about the time frame for how long it takes to settle a dog bite case needs to start with recognizing that injury victims have one year from the date the fight occurs to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner (per the Tennessee personal injury statute of limitations).

How Long Will it Take to Receive Payment?

The vast majority of dog bite injury claims in Tennessee are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. Most often, we will see that dog owners’ homeowners insurance carriers will be responsible for paying these claims. There are various factors that go into how long it will take for a settlement to come through for a victim, particularly if there is any dispute over whether or not this is a “strict liability” claim or a “one-bite” claim.

In general, a straightforward case that is strict liability could be resolved in his little as a few weeks or a month. However, if there is any dispute over the facts of the case, a more extensive investigation will need to be conducted by the insurance carrier. This could lead to a payout not happening for months after the dog bite occurs. Additionally, if it becomes necessary for a dog bite victim to file a personal injury lawsuit because the insurance carrier denies a claim or refuses to pay enough, the dog bite injury claim could drag on for years.

It is crucial for all dog bite injury victims in Tennessee to work with a skilled personal injury lawyer who has extensive experience handling these particular claims. The truth is that dog bite incidents are not always straightforward, but a skilled dog bite attorney can use their resources to fully investigate what happened, determine liability, and handle all negotiations with other parties involved.