Every year, an estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs, with around 800,000 of them being considered serious enough to require medical attention. These injuries disproportionately affect children, who are much more likely to need medical attention after a dog bite. So why do dog bites happen, and why might it become necessary to seek legal help after getting injured by a dog or other animal?
The Responsibility of Dog Owners
Under Tennessee law, Tenn. Code Ann. § 44-8-413, dog owners are strictly liable for keeping their dogs under control and keeping them from “running at large.” In essence, this means that dog owners are assumed to be legally responsible for any injuries caused as a result of their dog attacking someone, even if they had no reason to believe their dog was dangerous. There are a handful of exceptions to this law, including when the dog attacks trespassers on their owner’s private, nonresidential property, or when the dog was protecting someone else from attack. If it does not fit into one of these exceptions, however, the dog owner is assumed to be negligent as a matter of law.
Why Dog Bites Happen
When a dog attacks another person and the victim does not do anything to provoke them, it is usually a sign that the owner is not taking appropriate steps to take care of their pet. It may mean that their fencing or leash is not adequate to prevent a dog from approaching other people, or it may mean that their owner did not properly train their animal to keep them from attacking others without cause. In either case, it is a sign that the owner is negligent and is not doing their job to protect others from their pets, leading to otherwise preventable injuries.
The Potential Harm of Dog Bites
While most dog bites only cause superficial harm to people, they can be potentially serious, especially when the victim is a child. Depending on exactly where a dog bit someone and how hard the bite was, the bite can lead to severe wounds, torn muscles, and broken bones. Dog bites can also potentially disfigure victims, and leave them with injuries that have a long-term effect on their quality of life.
What You Should Do If You Are Bitten
If you or someone you love has suffered a severe injury as a result of a dog bite or other attack from another person’s pet, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you to explore your legal options and obtain compensation for the harm you have suffered. The sooner you call, the sooner they can get to work on your case.
If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you should contact the Tennessee personal injury lawyers at the Keith Williams Law Group. With convenient offices located in Nashville and Lebanon, our lawyers will work with you to create a litigation strategy that protects your legal rights and serves your personal needs. For more information or a free consultation, please contact us at 615-444-2900 or visit our contact page.