According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and tens of thousands of them require reconstructive surgeries as a result. Most of those severely injured by dog bites are young children, who are often bitten on the face, neck, or head. Among adults, animal bites to hands are more likely than others to lead to dangerous infections.
If you or your child suffered injuries as a result of a dog bite in Tennessee, you may be able get compensation for the resulting harm. Such compensation would cover medical bills and wages lost as a result of the injury; it would also cover aspects of the injury that may be more difficult to translate into monetary terms—such as pain and suffering, scarring, and disfigurement.
When the injured victim is a minor, the parents may bring suit on their child’s behalf. If you are a parent of an injured child, your focus will rightly be on helping the child recover, physically and emotionally. Keep in mind however, that in Tennessee any personal injury claim must be brought within one year of the injury (or of the discovery of that injury)—and that financial compensation for the child’s injuries may enable you to provide the child with all the medical care necessary for recovery.
In Tennessee, a number of factors will determine whether or not an injured person will recover compensation: the location where the incident occurred (whether in a public area, or on private property where the victim was lawfully present); the amount of information that the dog’s owner (or the person in control of the dog at the time) had about the dog’s tendency to be vicious or aggressive; the measures taken by the dog’s owner to prevent such attacks; the behavior of the injured person; etc. According to Tennessee laws, if the injured person provoked the animal, or was negligent and bears part of the fault for the injury, he or she may be barred from receiving any compensation.
It is important, therefore, that you discuss your situation with an experienced Tennessee personal injury attorney as soon as possible. You should also promptly gather as much information as possible about the circumstances of the dog attack and about the dog and its owners. An attorney can help you collect that key evidence (including statements made by the dog’s owner or witnesses to the attack), and use it to build the strongest case possible on your behalf.
Knoxville attorney Mark C. Hartsoe has decades of experience in representing individuals and families who have been severely injured in Tennessee. At the Hartsoe Law firm, we provide a free initial consultation to assess the details of your case. We handle all personal injury cases on a contingency basis, which means that we only get paid if you recover compensation. Most of the cases we accept are settled through negotiations with insurance companies; however, our firm has also achieved numerous successful outcomes at trial.