More advice from a dog bite lawyer. A few days ago, we posted about dog bites that occur on the property of the dog owner and how, in order for the dog owner to be held liable, the injured person must show that the dog owner had some kind of notice of the dog’s dangerous tendencies. But what happens if, for example, you are walking down the sidewalk or enjoying a run in the park and a dog attacks you? What if your own dog breaks loose, runs away from home, and later bites a stranger down the street?
The Tennessee dog bite statute ( Tenn. Code Ann. 44-8-413) treats dog bites differently depending on where they occur. Injuries that occur when a dog is running loose in a public place result in the strict liability of the dog owner. Dog owners have a duty to keep their dogs under reasonable control at all times and to keep them from “running at large.” “Running at large” essentially means the dog is loose and uncontrolled either on public property or on someone else’s private property. Unlike in cases where a dog bite occurs on the dog owner’s property, liability for a dog “running at large” does not hinge upon whether the dog’s owner knew or should have known of any dangerous tendencies of the dog. As usual, there are exceptions to this general rule, such as when the injured person harasses or provokes the dog.
Important Points to Consider
- It is a huge risk to allow your dog to run free without a leash. If your dog bites or injures another person while running free and uncontrolled, you will most likely be held liable, even if your dog has never injured or bitten anyone before. Your insurance company may or may not assign a dog bite lawyer to represent you.
- If you are bitten by a dog who is running loose, you are probably entitled to compensation for your injuries by the dog’s owner. Call a dog bite lawyer. Don’t be lulled into feeling sorry for the dog’s owner, who may be frantically and actively trying to regain control of the dog. The owner will probably be very apologetic, will be very upset, and will tell you that the dog has never bitten anyone before. None of this matters, though. Most likely, the dog’s owner will have applicable liability insurance. You should not be saddled with medical expenses you incurred through no fault of your own and the Tennessee legislature has provided you with the means to achieve fair compensation. Business is business, even if you are a dog lover yourself.
I am a Dog Bite Lawyer if you need help.
If you have questions about a dog bite or other injuries caused by a dog or other animal, please call me or one of the other lawyers at Wiseman Bray PLLC at 901-372-5003. We have experience representing both dog owners and people who have been injured by dogs.