My Neighbor’s Dog Bit Me!

I was visiting my neighbor.  He has a dog that is usually chained up but ran up behind me after I stepped off my neighbor’s porch and bit me on the back of the leg.  I fell down and he bit me again on the arm before my neighbor was able to get him off me.   The dog was chained up because he bit someone about 3 years ago, but now they leave him off the chain from time to time to let him get exercise in the yard.   I ended up getting an infection from the bites, have missed four weeks of work and spent thousands of dollars in medical bills.  What are my rights?

Under Tennessee law a dog owner has a duty to exercise reasonable control over his dog.  If you are bitten by a dog on the dog owner’s property while you are on the property with the owner’s permission you have to prove that the dog owner knew or should have known about the dog owner’s dangerous propensities and that that he or she did not exercise reasonable control over the dog.

If you win your case, you are entitled to payment of damages.  Most injuries caused by dog bites are covered under the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy.  

The damages that you may recover are discussed in our legal guide, Understanding Damages in Personal Injury Cases.

I suggest you meet with an experienced personal injury lawyer to gain a better understanding of how Tennessee law applies to the facts of your case.  Please remember that under Tennessee law personal injury claims must be filed against the responsible parties within one year of the date of the injury.  Failure to file suit within one year will result in a loss of your rights.