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Tennessee Personal Injury Lawyer
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Clinton Dog Bite Lawyer

The “pandemic puppy” phenomenon has contributed to a significant increase in the number of dog bite injury claims since 2020. During coronavirus lockdowns, many people adopted dogs with checkered backgrounds and used them as emotional support animals. These dogs aren’t used to being around people. That trait often leads to animal attacks. These attacks often cause serious physical and emotional injuries. Furthermore, medical treatment is quite expensive, mostly because of the nature of these injuries. In most cases, owners are legally responsible for these bills.

The dedicated Clinton dog bite lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette bring all our skills and experience to bear in every case we handle. These skills include both advocacy and negotiation skills. These skills also include building a solid foundation that sets the stage for a successful outcome. Our experience includes litigation work in Anderson County and nearby jurisdictions. So, we are well-positioned to obtain maximum compensation for your serious injuries.

Establishing Liability

The injuries resulting from an animal attack are rather straightforward. But the legal issues in these claims are far from straightforward. In fact, Tennessee’s dog bite law is quite complex. Victims usually have several legal options, including:

  • Strict Liability: As originally written, the Dianna Acklen Act of 2007 held dog owners strictly liable for all injuries. But lawmakers significantly watered down the original law. Now, it only applies if the animal was running at large, perhaps in a dog park or at the property of another person, like a veterinarian.
  • Scienter (Knowledge): Owners are liable for damages if they knew a dog was potentially dangerous before it bit someone. Evidence of knowledge could include prior attacks against people or animals. This evidence could also include certain pre-bite behaviors, like baring of teeth, sudden lunging, and aggressive barking.
  • Negligence: Ordinary negligence claims are a lot like scienter However, negligence claims also raise the specter of third-party liability. The aforementioned veterinarians are a good example. Employers, including vets, are financially responsible for damages if their employees are negligent during the course and scope of their employment.

The damages in a dog bite claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. A Clinton dog bite lawyer may also be able to obtain additional punitive damages, in some extreme situations.

Possible Defenses

Provocation, comparative fault, and assumption of the risk are some of the most common defenses in animal attack claims.

Usually, provocation is an absolute defense in strict liability claims. It’s normally a partial defense in negligence claims. In each instance, Tennessee law very narrowly defines the P-word. Essentially, provoking an animal is almost synonymous with torturing an animal. A person must intentionally inflict so much pain on the animal that it must react violently to defend itself.

A “Beware of Dog” or other warning sign is usually the linchpin of the assumption of the risk defense. But displaying a sign is insufficient. The insurance company must also prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the victim saw the sign, could read the sign, and could understand what the sign meant. These elements are very difficult to prove in many cases.

Contact a Diligent Anderson County Lawyer

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced dog bite lawyer in Clinton, contact Fox Farley Willis & Burnette Attorneys at Law by going online or calling 865-500-HURT. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.

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