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Helping You Understand Your Rights Following an Animal Attack

Over one-third of all American households own at least one of the estimated 80 million dogs in the US. While dogs enjoy a well-earned reputation as “man’s best friend” for their companionship and loyalty, some dogs still pose an unfortunate risk to their surrounding communities. According to the Center for Disease Control, about 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year; nearly one in every five attacks requires medical treatment, and fifty percent of all of these injuries are suffered by children.

Studies have revealed that dog owners can play a significant role in preventing dog attacks and dog bite injuries. The Murfreesboro dog bite attorney at the Law Office of David L. Scott is committed to pursuing careless and irresponsible dog owners on behalf of dog bite victims, by fighting for the rightful compensation needed to recover from these painful, traumatic or catastrophic injuries.

What Are The Duties Of Tennessee Dog Owners?

All dog owners in Tennessee share the same general duty to the public: to keep their dog under control, and to not allow it to run free. This duty can include:

  • Adequately restraining the dog at all times, particularly aggressive dogs, by using a leash, a chain, or adequate fencing.

  • Monitoring and supervising interactions between the dog and strangers, particularly children.

  • Being aware of the general propensities of the dog’s breed, as well as the individual propensities of each dog owned.

  • Warning neighbors and others about the dangers posed by the dog when necessary, including the posting of “Bad Dog” warning signs.

In short, dog owners are expected to take reasonable measures to guard against reasonably anticipated injuries, and to not expose the public to danger as they pursue their ordinary pursuits.

How Can a Tennessee Dog Bite Victim Recover Compensation For Injuries?

In Tennessee, all dog owners are presumed liable for any injury sustained when their dog leaves their property and attacks and bites somebody. This means that unless the dog owner can successfully show that the attack is subject to one of a handful of exceptions—such as that the victim provoked the dog, or that the dog was protecting the owner from an attack by the victim—he or she is automatically held liable for the victim’s injuries.

Unfortunately for Tennessee dog bite victims, if they have been injured by a dog bite while on the property of the dog’s owner—where over half of all dog bites occur—state law requires that these victims prove that the dog’s owner either knew or should have known of the dog’s dangerous or vicious tendencies. This Tennessee requirement is unique among all fifty states, and dog bite victims who are unable to provide this evidence cannot collect any compensation their injuries.

Tennessee’s current statute is especially unfortunate in light of the results of a recent ten-year study of dog bite fatalities by the National Canine Research Council which found that in three out of every four fatal dog attacks, the dog or dogs responsible were not “family dogs” that live in the home with a family, but “resident dogs, which the NCRC described as dogs “maintained outside the home”, often confined or chained outside and often obtained by owners for purposes such as “guarding, fighting, protection or breeding.” A dog is kept isolated from human interaction is far more likely to become aggressive around humans—and such a dog owner could deny knowledge of violent propensities based upon the dog’s lack of socialization.

As a result, successfully pursuing a dog bite claim in Murfreesboro can often require a factual investigation by an experienced Tennessee animal bite attorney with a special understanding of this unique requirement of proof. In addition, dog bite victims have only one year from the date of the bite to file a claim against the dog’s owner.

What to do if you have been injured by a dog or other animal

First, if  bitten by a strange dog, seek immediate medical attention. While painful lacerations and cuts are the most obvious injuries suffered by dog bite victims, these attacks often raise many other health concerns. The risk of infection is high; it is often necessary to determine whether the dog may have transmitted rabies. Victims knocked to the ground by a large dog can suffer broken bones or traumatic head injuries, and bites on the face may cause permanent scarring and disfigurement. The psychological trauma of these attacks can be long-lasting as well.

Also, dogs are not the only pets that can become aggressive and attack a human. Owners of other domesticated pets share the same duties as dog owners. The Murfreesboro animal bite attorney at the Law Office of David L. Scott also fights for compensation on behalf of people bitten by the careless owners of animals such as lizards, snakes, ferrets, monkeys, or hedgehogs. But remember—you only have a year to file a claim, so the sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help you. To schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable Tennessee animal bite attorney, contact us online, or call us in Murfreesboro at (615) 896-7656.




2 Locations to Serve You

722 South Church Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

Phone: 615-896-7656

Map and Directions


4322 Harding Pike #417
Nashville, TN 37205

Phone: 615-203-8062

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Based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, we are pleased to serve clients throughout Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Franklin, Brentwood, Nashville, Woodbury, McMinnville, Manchester, Shelbyville, Lebanon, Mount Juliet and other communities in Rutherford County, Williamson County, Cannon County, Bedford County, Davidson County, Wilson County and Coffee County.


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