Liability for a Dog Bite

I live in the country in Tennessee.  My dog runs loose.   The dog bit a neighbor kid over at his house about 700 feet down the road.  The dog never bit anyone before.  Am I responsible for what my dog did?  I thought every dog got one free bite?

A dog’s owner used to be able to avoid responsibility for a dog bite if he did not know the dangerous propensities of the dog, but that is no longer the law if the bite occurs off the dog owner’s property. Subject to several exceptions, if you let your dog run at large, you are responsible for injuries caused by your dog even if you had no reason to believe the dog was dangerous.

You report the bite to your homeowner’s insurance as soon as possible.  Your homeowner’s insurance policy may provide you with some protection in the event you are asked to pay medical bills or get sued  by the neighbor.

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