Tennessee’s Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Lawsuits

Dog bite incidents and dog attacks can lead to severe injuries for those involved. Even though most people never expect that they will be bitten or attacked by a dog, the reality is that these types of incidents occur more often than most people realize, even in Tennessee.

In the aftermath of a dog bite, victims should be able to recover compensation from the dog’s owner. Tennessee operates under a “strict liability” dog bite law, which we will explain briefly below. Here, we also want to discuss how long dog bite victims have filed lawsuits in these cases in order to recover the compensation they need.

You Have to be Wary of Time Frames With These Cases

When it comes to dog bite injuries, victims have to understand that they have a limited amount of time to file these claims. The Tennessee personal injury statute of limitations is one year from the date the injury occurs (Tenn. Code Ann. section 28-3-104). 

Even though Tennessee has a separate law that governs dog bite injury reporting, the one-year reporting deadline applies to all types of injuries that occur in this state.

If a dog bite injury victim fails to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner within this timeframe, they will lose the ability to recover the compensation they are entitled to for their losses. The Tennessee personal injury statute of limitations is much shorter than the limitations set forth in other states.

Tennessee’s Strict Liability Dog Bite Law

When we turn to Tenn. Code. Ann. section 44-8-413, we can see that dog owners are responsible for keeping their animal under reasonable control at all times and from keeping it from running at large.

When a dog owner fails to fulfill this legal duty, they will be held liable for any damages suffered by any person injured by the dog if the injury victim is in a public place or lawfully in a private location.

The law in Tennessee is considered a “strict liability” dog bite law. This means that injury victims are not required to prove that the owner of the dog acted negligently. So long as the injury victim did provoke the dog, they will be entitled to recover compensation for their losses.

Tennessee does have a version of a “one-bite” rule for dog bite injuries. A one-bite rule applies in cases where a dog’s owner knew or should have known about a dog’s dangerous propensity, typically because the dog has bitten somebody before.

This type of law is present throughout other states across the country, as opposed to strict liability laws. Tennessee only applies this specific rule when a dog bite occurs on the property owned by the dog owner. The exception to the strict liability law is sometimes referred to as the “presidential exclusion.” 

For claims brought against the dog owner under either strict liability law and the one-bite law, the one-year statute of limitations remains the same. It is absolutely crucial for dog bite injury victims to make sure their claim is filed on time.

One way to ensure that these cases are handled properly is to work with a skilled dog bite injury lawyer in Tennessee who has experience handling these claims. An attorney can help determine exactly what happened, handle all communication with insurance carriers, and work to obtain maximum compensation on behalf of the dog bite injury victim.