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Articles Posted in Dog Bite Injuries

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This is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, so it is a great time to give you some advice on how not to be a dog bite statistic and how to avoid being sued if you, like us, are a dog owner.

First, let’s look at the numbers of this very real and common problem. About 4.5 million people are bitten or attacked by a dog each year in the United States. While some of the bites are not terribly serious, almost 900,000 of those dog bites will require medical attention. Each year, roughly 27,000 victims will require reconstructive surgery – not just stitches. And, while more rare, dog attacks can be deadly. The average dog bite claim costs $37,214.

So, let’s start with a few tips for how to avoid being the victim of a dog bite.


So, it is January 4th.  How many of your New Year’s resolutions are already busted?  If you are like most of us, it is probably at least one.  That is the bad news.  But, here is the good news: below is a list of 10 easy New Year’s resolutions that are easier than losing 10lbs and will help keep you safe and prepared in 2016. Continue reading


If you follow us on Google Plus or regularly read this blog, then you know our family recently acquired a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel  If you don’t follow us on Google Plus, then let me first say you should and second let me introduce you to Lincoln Day.   Lincoln is the love of my 7 year-old daughter’s life.  Thankfully, we are past the potty-training stage and are now working on what is appropriate behavior when guests arrive at our house, how to properly walk on a leash, etc.  As my daughter is finding out, owning a pet is a big responsibility.

Unfortunately, some pet owners do not take it seriously enough, so we thought we would outline, from a legal perspective some considerations and actions you should be prepared to take before taking on a pet.  Continue reading


Last week, my wife and daughter were driving home from school when they noticed a goat in the road.  Fearful the goat was going to get run over or cause an accident on the narrow little road, my wife decided to try and find its owner.  Two farms were nearby so my wife pulled into first farm and went to the front door to alert the owner about the escaped goat. The homeowner advised my wife the goat in question belonged to the farm on the other side of the street.  The woman also reported she herself had put the goat up on several occasions.   Armed with this information, my wife drove to the farm across the street to alert them their goat was loose.

When my wife and daughter exited the car, the goat was still at the road.  They knocked on the door and waited a few moments but no one was home.  As they turned to walk back to the truck, they noticed the goat was approaching.  Before they could get back to their vehicle, the goat became aggressive, and this goat had horns.  Continue reading

Close-up of LincolnOn Friday night, my wife and I surprised our seven year-old daughter with a new puppy.   Lincoln is a nine week-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a delight. Right now, we are trying to potty train and keep him from chewing stuff.

Of course, a dog owner’s responsibilities extend beyond keeping the flip-flops and the rug safe. Responsible pet owners must be sure to vaccinate their dog, keep the dog from running at large and keep the dog under reasonable control so that it does not harm others. While the law does not require it, I also believe a responsible pet owner should maintain adequate insurance (either via their homeowner’s or through a separate pet insurance policy) to help ensure that anyone injured by the dog receives fair compensation for their medical bills and damages.

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In 2013, the number of dog bite claims rose 5.5%, and in the last decade claims have risen more than 45%. Dog bite claims account for more than 1/3 of all homeowners’ claims, and in 2013 the average claim was $29,752.00. In total, insurance carriers paid out more than $438 million dollars in dog bite claims. Of course, the severity of a dog bite claim can vary greatly. Some victims get away with only a small bite or scratch. While other dog bite incidents should be more appropriately characterized as an attack given the substantial injuries suffered by the victim. 

At The Law Offices of John Day, P.C., our award-winning lawyers are experienced in dog bite claims and would be glad to talk to you about your case free of charge. We handle all dog bite cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you. So call us any time at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 or simply fill out this form and we will call you.

To learn more about Tennessee dog bite cases and Tennessee dog bite law, click on the links below:

Certain breeds of dogs have historically been classified as bully breeds and subject to special rules. For instance, military bases ban certain bully breeds. And, in the past, many local governments passed bans prohibiting residents from owning specified bully breeds. But surprisingly, that legislative trend is now reversing itself. 

State lawmakers are now overriding these local ordinances and prohibiting communities from instituting breed-specific bans.  In fact, eighteen states have passed this type of measure and another six are considering similar proposals. Of course, this dog debate is often quite heated. Most pet owners view their pets as family members and reject the notion their dog could be aggressive or a bully.  Of course, victims of attacks, parents of young children and others often feel quite differently about the dangerousness of these animals.  

Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, you should know this: for homeowner’s insurance purposes, Pitbulls, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Akitas and Rottweilers are typically classified as bully breeds and are excluded from coverage in the event the dog attacks someone. So if you own a dog, check your insurance policy or call your agent and determine if any exclusions apply related to your dog’s breed. If you do not have insurance for your dog, get it. There are companies who specialize in writing policies for bully breeds. 

A recent report on the financial consequences of dog bites shows that there were 16,459 dog bite claims in the United States in 2012, a number actually less than the it was ten years earlier, when there were 16.919 claims.  No specific information was provided about the number of dog bite claims in Tennessee.

The data comes from the Insurance Information Institute("III"), a company that gathers and shares data about all sorts of insurance claims.  According to the III, he average cost per claim was $29,752.

State Farm, a major insurance company that sells homeowner’s insurance (the type of liability insurance that is typically available to victims of dog bites) paid 3,670 dog bite claims in 2012.  The total amount of money paid by State Farm on those claims was $108,000,000.  Thus, State Farm’s average cost per claim was quite close to the national average of all claims.

A dog presents a real hazard to bicyclists.  A dog can attack the bicyclist, or the bicycle, and cause a crash.  An attacking dog can cause the bicyclist to swerve, running off the road into a ditch or into the road and a passing car.  And, when you fall on a bicycle, particularly if you are traveling at a high speed, you will be very fortunate if you avoid serious injuries. (Clink on the link for more information about Tennessee dog bite or dog attack cases.)

Tennessee law provides that a dog owner has the responsibility to keep that dog under reasonable control at all times and to keep that dog from running at large.  "Running at large" specifically includes a dog going uncontrolled on a public highway or street.

A dog owner who does not keep the dog from running at large is responsible for any damages suffered by a person who is injured by the dog if the dog is in a public place or lawfully in or on the private property of someone else.  Liability is imposed in these circumstances even if the dog has never shown any dangerous propensities or whether the dog’s owner knew or should have known of the dog’s dangerous propensities. 

Under Tennessee law the responsibility of a landlord for dog bites or other attacks by dogs owned by the landlord’s tenant depends on the facts of the case.

The landlord is responsible only if he, she or it knew or had notice of the vicious propensity of the tenant’s dog and the landlord had sufficient control of the leased premises to require the tenant to remove the dog or safety restrain it.

Control can be demonstrated by provisions in leases that give the landlord the right to evict if the tenant engages in "dangerous" activities or "inappropriate" activities.  Control can also be demonstrated in the lease gives the landlord the right to allow or disallow the keeping of a pet.

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