Dog Bites: Holding Pet Owners Accountable

Perhaps you thought you could trust your neighbor’s dog until it attacked your child. Or maybe you were enjoying a day at the park as a family when an unleashed dog bit you or your child.

While your first priority is the well-being of your child, you also may be confused, angry, and unsure of what to do. Can you take legal action against a neighbor or other pet owner if their dog attacked? In most cases, the answer is, yes.

Understanding Dog Bites and Strict Liability

Parents pursuing compensation for their child’s injuries after a dog bite will have to prove that the dog was responsible for the attack. In Tennessee, there are strict liability laws within specific circumstances. In short, there is a two-part duty to care that falls upon dog owners. First, the dog owner must keep the animal under reasonable control. Second, the dog must not be running at large.

These criteria can be somewhat confusing for most people. For example, a dog owner can be held accountable if the dog was not under reasonable control, even though it was not running at large.

There are other specific criteria that limit or negate liability, including:

  • The dog is a police or military dog
  • The dog was protecting someone who was being attacked
  • The dog was confined to a cage or kennel
  • The dog was antagonized or provoked
  • The attack occurred on the dog owner’s farm, residential property or noncommercial property
  • If the attack did occur on the dog owner’s property, the victim must prove that the owner knew that the animal was dangerous and posed a risk

As you can see, dog bite cases in Tennessee can be quite complex. That is why it’s so important to work with an experienced lawyer who can help you understand the law, your options and work closely with you to pursue full and fair compensation.

The Next Steps

Has your child been bitten by a dog? Do you want to receive compensation for your child’s pain and suffering? To learn more, contact our team at The Law Offices of Tony Farmer & John Dreiser. Our lawyers handle a variety of personal injury cases, including dog bites and animal attacks.




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