Animal Bite Attorney in Nashville
Animal bites can be extremely damaging, especially to vulnerable children. The aftermath of an animal bite doesn’t only come in the form of serious disfigurement but also long-lasting mental and emotional trauma. Some animal-bite victims may never recover from their injuries. In 2015, 34 dog-bite related fatalities occurred in the United States.
What Are My Rights as an Animal Bite Victim?
Even though most Nashville families see their pets as part of the family, owners have to accept that animal behaviors are subject to sudden changes. Sometimes, pet owners don’t even know what causes a trigger in their animal. It only takes one attack to seriously maim or kill a person. An animal doesn’t have to have shown signs of violence in the past to pose a threat to vulnerable humans.
Tennessee has strict laws for dog bite injuries, under certain circumstances. If a dog was under reasonable control, and not escaped or running free, the owner is still responsible for any injuries or damages that resulted from the pet. Whether the attack occurred on public or private property, the owner of the dog must pay for any damages the victim suffered.
Exceptions to this statute are:
- For a police or military dog acting to prevent an attack.
- If the victim provoked the dog.
- If the attack occurred on noncommercial property owned or leased by the dog owner (residential exclusion).
In these situations, the “one-bite” rule applies. This rule means that if a dog has previously bitten someone before, dog owners should know their animal is capable of injuring others. By this, the dog-bite victim must prove the dog’s owner had reason to believe the dog would act violently under the circumstances. Tennessee lawmakers impose strict liability in cases where a dog caused property damage or personal injury, as well as if a dog injured a person in a public place. In these situations, the courts hold the owner responsible without the victim having to prove fault.
Many citizens of Tennessee criticize the one-bite rule. People believe it’s unfair for the court to expect animal-bite victims to pay for their own medical expenses after a dog attack simply because the dog hadn’t shown previous signs of violence. Other critics argue that it’s easy for owners of violent dogs to lie about their dog’s aggressive history to save the life of their pet. Proving prior animal behavior is difficult if the courts find no previously documented incidents.
Defending Animal-Bite Victims in Nashville, Tennessee
When it comes to damaging animal bites, victims are usually extremely distraught and sometimes permanently disfigured. Bites cause major scarring, often to the face and neck of victims – where they’re most vulnerable to puncture wounds and blunt force trauma. Many dog-bite victims face months or years in a physical rehabilitation center after an attack to regain use of damaged nerves and tissues. The mental scars of suffering a violent animal attack can last forever.
At Larry R. Williams, PLLC, we understand how physically and mentally devastating animal bite injuries can be, especially if the offending animal is a family pet. Most owners can’t believe their animals are capable of attacking until it happens, and by then it’s too late. If you’ve sustained an injury caused by an animal bite, you have every right to file a claim for compensation for damages.
Let Us Help
Damages in animal-bite cases can include physical pain and suffering, past and future mental trauma, loss of enjoyment of life, lost capacity for earning wages, medical bills (including therapy), and property damages. The experienced Nashville law firm of Larry R. Williams, PLLC, has extensive experience handling serious and fatal animal bite cases. We know the laws related to dog bites in Tennessee. Contact our firm today to speak with an attorney about your accident and for advice about how to proceed.