Being attacked by a dog can be an incredibly traumatic experience. It can lead to psychological aftermath, and dog bites can also be dangerous as they pose health risks to victims. In addition, credible reports indicate that one in every five dog bite victims requires medical assistance due to their injuries.
If a dog has recently attacked you or a loved one and you're looking to pursue legal action for the damages, we can help.
A Dog Has Attacked You– Now What?
It's important that you take the proper steps after you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog. Making sure the attack is documented correctly is extremely important, even if you don't think the injuries are severe. If a dog attacks you, whether it be in your neighborhood, out in a public place, or even in your or a friend's home, you should always do the following:
- Call Local Animal Control: After being bitten by a dog, you must report the attack to local animal control authorities. When making your report, make sure you're detailed and share as much about the situation as possible. If animal control feels police should get involved, you should seek their help next.
- Seek Medical Attention: Even if you've just sustained minor scrapes or bites, you must see a medical professional. This is especially important if an unknown dog has bitten you. Having medical documentation that a doctor has checked you out can significantly impact your possibility of receiving compensation.
- Take Pictures: In the moment, it might be hard to gather yourself, but if possible, try to take as many pictures and videos as possible of the scene and the dog or dogs. For example, if a dog has attacked you at a dog park, make sure you take a picture of the rules posted by the dog park. Typically dog park rules state that aggressive dogs are not allowed.
- Get Owner Information: If possible, you should get the dog owner's information. You can ask for their insurance information, but if you don't feel comfortable asking for that, try to get their name and number.
- Keep the Evidence: If you've been a victim of a particularly aggressive dog attack, there might be tears on your clothes, rips in bags, or other damaged property. Do not get rid of any items that have been damaged during the attack.
- Don't Give Statements: The dog owner's insurance company might reach out to you personally after a dog attack. If this happens, do not give them a statement. Let an experienced dog bite lawyer do the talking when it comes to dealing with the owner's insurance.
- Call a Lawyer: If the dog bite has resulted in severe injury or property damage, it's in your best interest to contact an experienced dog bite lawyer. No matter how injured or damaged your property is, you are always within your rights to seek legal counsel after being attacked by someone else's dog.
How To Prevent Getting Bit
Although most dog bites involve children, adults can also fall victim. For instance, a dog might feel threatened and bite or attack you, trying to protect its owner, territory, property, or food. Along with feeling threatened, startled dogs also tend to act out aggressively.
Stay aware of your surroundings and follow the following steps to avoid dog attacks:
- Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Ask if you can pet someone's dog before approaching.
- Do not approach the dog if the owner says not to.
- Cross the street or wait till the dog and owner have passed to avoid being near the dog.
Dog Bite Laws in Tennessee
Even after taking the preventive measures mentioned above, a dog bite accident can still occur. While someone can't hold the dog accountable, the owner can be held responsible for medical bills and other costs that you incur related to the incident.
The Tennessee dog bite law is a mix of the "one bite" policy and strict liability. In strict liability cases, the dog owner would be held liable whether or not they knew about the dog's behavior or tendency to bite. Strict liability is only applicable if the dog bite occurred in a public space or the victim was unlawfully in a private place. Under the one-bite rule, the owner might not be held responsible if the dog has never acted aggressively before.
Schedule an Appointment with a Knoxville Dog Bite Attorney
If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog and are seeking compensation for medical bills and other costs incurred because of the incident, contact a Knoxville dog bite attorney from The Law Offices of G. Turner Howard III to schedule a consultation.