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Tennessee Personal Injury Lawyer
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Knoxville Dog Bite Lawyer

Every year, dogs bite millions of victims. A significant number of these victims sustain serious physical and emotional injuries. The physical wounds usually include broken bones and head injuries from the knockdown, as well as deep lacerations and puncture wounds from the bite. These physical injuries have a very high infection rate. Emotional injuries include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other anxiety-related conditions.

Fundamentally, animal attacks often happen because dog owners ignore their responsibilities. In contrast, a dedicated Knoxville dog bite lawyer at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, Attorneys at Law take their responsibilities very seriously. We begin every case with a conversation, so we determine your needs and goals in a particular case. Then, once we decide on a course of action with you, we don’t relent until we 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 laws are 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 Knoxville 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.

Connect with a Hard-Working Knox County Lawyer

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Knoxville dog bite lawyer, 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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