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The prevalence, seriousness, and cost of dog bites are all on the rise in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Of this figure, half are children, about 800,000 seek medical attention and almost 400,000 require treatment.
According to researchers, a dog’s inclination to bite is determined by a combination of factors, including its training, breed, health, socialization, provocation, aggression, heredity, and the behavior of surrounding humans. Regardless of a dog’s nature and upbringing however, owners have a legal responsibility to ensure that an unprovoked dog is safe and will not attack passersby.
Have you or someone you love been injured by a dog bite? After seeking medical attention, the next step is to contact a skilled attorney. The Memphis dog bite lawyers at Morgan & Morgan are experienced in getting substantial settlements after dog bite incidents. Complete our no-obligation case review to sign up for a free case review. Our firm has extensive knowledge on the process of dog bite lawsuits and can answer all of your queries.
Tennessee Dog Bite Laws
There are multiple ways that states can impose liability on dog owners and thus dog bite laws are not uniform across the United States. Tennessee dog bite laws were amended in 2007 to follow a strict liability statute, but have a “residential exclusion” unique to the state:
- Strict liability: The owner of a dog has a duty to keep that dog under reasonable control at all times, and to keep that dog from running at large. A person who breaches that duty is subject to civil liability for any damages suffered by a person who is injured by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in or on the private property of another. Exceptions include military dogs, if the victim was trespassing, if the victim was threatening the dog’s owner, if the dog was in an enclosure, or if the victim was provoking the dog.
- Residential exclusion: Guests in a dog owner’s home are not covered under insurance policies, while strangers off the owner’s property are covered. For the dog owner to be held liable for an attack on the dog owner’s property, the victim must prove negligence on the part of the owner.
Dog Bite Claims
According to a new study by the Insurance Information Institute, the cost of dog-bite claims for insurers has continued to rise, jumping to $479 million in claims from 2011 alone. The average cost per claim nationally in 2011 was $29,396—an increase of more than 12% from $26,166 in 2010.This increase has been attributed to increasing medical costs and to the growing monetary value of settlements, jury awards, and verdicts for plaintiffs, which have outpaced inflation.
How a Memphis Dog Bite Attorney Can Help
When a person is bitten by a dog, he or she has the right to sue for compensation in order to cope with expenses related to the injury. However, it’s important to know what laws govern your chances of success as laws differ from state to state.
Morgan & Morgan’s Tennessee dog bite attorneys can help you understand more about the process and assist you in doing all the legwork and clerical tasks required in filing a lawsuit. Fill out our free case evaluation form today.