Our award-winning lawyers see a steady flow of dog bite and dog attack cases. Unfortunately, sometimes man’s best friend is a menace. While we have a lot of information on our website (links to pages below), here are some quick answers to other common questions:
- Can dog bites be stitched?
This depends upon the damage done by the dog bite. If it is a deep puncture wound, medical professionals may decide to leave the wound unstitched. Placement of drain and antibiotics may be the preferred course of treatment. Other wounds will need to be stitched. The best course of action for anyone who has sustained a dog bite is to seek medical attention and follow the advice of medical professionals.
- Are dog bites covered by insurance?
Most dog bites are covered by homeowners‘ or renters’ insurance. Some policies exclude certain breeds of dogs from coverage. Typically, these are the “bully breeds” such as Pitbulls, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, etc. Review the terms of your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy to determine if you have coverage. If you do not, a separate policy can be purchased to protect you and anyone your dog may injure.
- Do you have to report a dog bite?
In the State of Tennessee, there is not a state statute requiring that dog attacks or bites be reported. However, you should check for local laws and regulations applicable to your area. And, we strongly encourage you to report every dog attack or bite because doing so can result in the authorities encouraging dog owners to be more responsible. Prior reports of injuries and bites can also provide proof that the dog owner was aware of the dangerous propensities of his or her dog.
- If a dog bites once, will it do it again?
Most experts agree that a dog that has bitten once is likely to bite again. Even worse, the second and other consecutive bites are likely to be worse. As a practical matter, after the first bite, the dog has learned that biting will cause a retreat. That knowledge is now embedded in the hard drive of their brain.
- Is a nip the same as a bite by a dog?
This falls into the category of a rose is a rose. If the dog “nip” is done with aggression, it is still considered a bite. Likewise, if a dog lunges at you and attempts to bite but does not cause injury because you were able to successfully retreat or because you were wearing clothing, like a leather coat, that offered some protection, it is still considered an aggressive dog and intensive precautions should be taken. While these situations did not cause a serious injury, they could be important in establishing the dangerous propensities of the dog under the residential exception to Tennessee law.
- What do I do if my dog bites?
The circumstances of the bite are important. If your dog accidentally causes you an injury while you are playing with a dog toy, that is completely different than a nip or a bite done with aggression. Likewise, if your dog bites someone who is threatening you or who has broken into your home, that is completely different than a dog who bites someone who is simply a guest in your house. Tennessee law recognizes several exceptions to liability for dog bites and attacks.
As a practical matter, if your dog has bitten someone without provocation and under circumstances that do not fall within one of the exceptions in Tennessee law, and you insist upon keeping your dog, you must take steps to always secure your animal and ensure it is kept away from other people and other animals. This is an enormous task and one that carries a great deal of responsibility and potential liability.
- My dog did not actually bite someone, but a person was injured in the process of getting away from my dog. Am I responsible for the injuries?
Again, the circumstances of the injury are extremely important. However, generally, if your dog caused the injury, then you are responsible. For example, if your dog starts aggressively chasing your neighbor on their property without provocation, and your neighbor tears their ACL while jumping onto their car to escape the attack, the dog and you, as its owner, are responsible for that injury in most situations.
For more information on Tennessee’s dog bite law, we encourage you to read the following information on our website:
Tennessee’s Dog Bite Law and Proving Your Case
Damages Recoverable From a Dog Bite Case
Can I File Suit if I Am Still Treating for My Injuries?
If you would like to discuss your dog bite or dog attack case, give us a call for a free, no-obligation consultation. We handle all dog bite and dog attack cases on a contingency so we only get paid if we recover money for you.