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What Are Tennessee’s Dog Bite Laws?

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Are you a dog owner? Have you ever wondered about what would happen if your pet bit someone?

Unfortunately, insurers estimate that about 4.5 million dog bite incidents occur nationwide each year. Some of these incidents result in personal injuries, requiring stitches, resulting in scarring and vaccinations. Additionally, in some cases, small children have been mauled to death by animals.

Because of this, Tennessee has dog bite laws that impose strict liability on pet owners, depending upon where an incident takes place. Under these laws, victims who want to pursue litigation can hold a dog owner liable if an incident takes place in a public place. In these cases, a dog owner is considered liable for any injuries, regardless of whether or not he or she knew the animal was aggressive. This serves as a layer of protection for citizens, who may be attacked in a public space in an unprovoked fashion.

However, when a dog bite incident occurs on a private farm or non-commercial property, injury claims can become complicated. In these cases, Tennessee has a “one bite” rule, where a victim has to show that the dog owner knew that the dog was aggressive in order to pursue damages.

In any case, you should contact an attorney about your legal rights. In some circumstances, defendants will attempt to fight off litigation by saying that a victim provoked an animal or that a dog was confined at the time of an incident. An attorney can help you preserve evidence following an incident and provide you with guidance about how to best move forward with your case.


You should be aware that time is of the essence when it comes to a dog bite claim. Victims have up to one year to file a lawsuit under Tennessee law. This one-year period begins on the calendar date when an attack takes place.

As the information above proves, it is important for dog bite victims to seek legal guidance, as Tennessee laws are complex. While our Nashville injury attorney loves animals and you may too, it does not mean that you should have to suffer due to a negligent owner.

After seeking medical attention, discuss your case with our lawyer who can determine the value of a potential claim. Continue following our blog and visit us on Facebook for more information.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6

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