Dogs are human’s best friends. But when they bite or attack, they can cause serious harm. If you or a loved one suffered injuries from a dog bite attack, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the resulting medical bills and other expenses. Contact a Memphis dog bite lawyer from Wright Gray Law Firm to hear how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Why Choose Wright Gray Law Firm for your Dog Bite Claim?
Wright Gray Law Firm was established by two experienced personal injury lawyers to provide solid, trustworthy legal support to accident victims. With a combined 60 years of experience, our lawyers have recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients to help them in their recovery. Contact us today to hear how we can help you hold the responsible party accountable and recover the compensation you need and deserve.
How Common are Dog Bites?
Dogs take up residence in more than 65 million households. They are faithful companions and treasured pets. Unfortunately, they can also be dangerous. Each year, around 45 million people are injured in dog attacks. Nearly 20% of those injuries become infected. Non-fatal dog bites send about 1,000 people to the emergency room each year. Tragically, 20 to 50 of these cases result in fatalities.
Dog bites can require extensive and costly medical treatment. The average cost of treating a hospitalized dog bite victim averages $18,200 — about 50% more than the cost of the average injury-related hospitalization. Dog bite victims, as a whole, incur about $2 billion in annual financial losses. In most cases, the dog owner’s homeowners policies foot the bill, totaling $882 million in liability claims.
What Makes Dog Bites So Dangerous?
Dog bite injuries can vary in severity, and the specific injuries depend on factors like the dog’s size, aggression, and the victim’s age and size. Common dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture Wounds: Dogs have sharp teeth, and their bites can result in deep puncture wounds. These wounds may not bleed much but can damage underlying tissues, nerves, and blood vessels.
- Lacerations: Dog bites can cause lacerations or tearing of the skin and underlying tissues. These injuries can be extensive and may require stitches or surgery to repair.
- Abrasions: Less severe than puncture wounds or lacerations, abrasions are superficial scrapes or grazes on the skin. They can still become infected if not properly cleaned and treated.
- Contusions: Dog bites can cause bruising, which occurs when blood vessels beneath the skin rupture. While not as severe as other injuries, bruising can be painful and may indicate underlying damage.
- Avulsions: In severe cases, dog bites can result in avulsions, where a portion of the skin and underlying tissues is torn away. This requires surgical repair.
- Fractures: In some instances, a dog bite can lead to bone fractures, especially if the dog’s bite force is strong or if the victim tries to defend themselves.
- Infections: Dog mouths contain various bacteria, and a dog bite can introduce these bacteria into the victim’s body. Infections, such as cellulitis, abscesses, or osteomyelitis, may develop and require antibiotic treatment.
- Nerve Damage: Dog bites can damage nerves, leading to temporary or permanent sensory or motor deficits. This can result in numbness, weakness, or loss of function in the affected area.
- Scarring: Regardless of the type of injury, dog bites can lead to permanent scars, which can be both physical and emotional.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Dog bite victims, especially children, may experience psychological trauma, which can manifest as anxiety, nightmares, or a fear of dogs.
It’s essential to seek medical attention promptly if you or someone you know is bitten by a dog, even if the injury seems minor. Dog bites can lead to complications, and proper medical care is crucial to minimize the risk of infection and other long-term effects. Additionally, reporting the incident to local authorities and animal control may be necessary to ensure the dog is properly quarantined and its vaccination status is verified.
Memphis Dog Bite Laws
Tennessee follows a strict liability statute when it comes to dog bite cases. Under the state’s dog bite law, a dog owner can be held strictly liable for any injuries or damages that result from a dog bite, regardless of whether the dog has shown any prior aggression or the owner’s knowledge of such behavior.
Here are the key elements of Tennessee’s strict liability law for dog bite cases:
- Dog Owner Liability: The law holds the dog owner responsible for any injuries or damages caused by their dog’s bite.
- No “One-Bite” Rule: Tennessee’s law does not incorporate the “one-bite” rule, which means that the owner can be held liable for the very first instance of their dog biting someone.
- Exceptions: While the law imposes strict liability for dog bites, it does not apply if the person who was bitten was trespassing on the dog owner’s property, committing a criminal act, or provoking the dog. In such cases, the dog owner may not be held strictly liable.
- Leash Laws: Local ordinances and leash laws can also play a role in determining liability. If a dog is off-leash in an area where leash laws apply, the owner may be subject to additional penalties.
What Constitutes Reasonable Care?
Reasonable care in a dog bite case refers to the actions and precautions that a dog owner or person responsible for the dog should take to prevent harm to others. It involves responsible ownership and control of the dog to minimize the risk of a dog bite incident. What constitutes reasonable care can vary by jurisdiction and specific circumstances, but some general principles include:
- Proper Supervision: Owners should supervise their dogs to ensure they do not pose a risk to others, especially in public places or when the dog is around unfamiliar people. This may involve using a leash, leash laws, or other forms of restraint when necessary.
- Socialization and Training: Dog owners should socialize their dogs and provide appropriate training to ensure that the dog is well-behaved and does not pose a threat to people or other animals.
- Secure Containment: Dogs should be kept in a secure and safe enclosure, such as a fenced yard, to prevent them from roaming freely and potentially biting others.
- Warning Signs: If a dog has a history of aggressive behavior or poses a risk, the owner should take appropriate precautions, including using warning signs, muzzles, or other safety measures when the dog is around people.
- Responsible Ownership: Dog owners should be aware of their dog’s temperament and behavior and take measures to prevent incidents, such as avoiding situations where their dog might feel threatened or anxious.
- Compliance with Local Laws: Dog owners should comply with local laws and ordinances, which may include leash laws and requirements for vaccinations and licensing.
- Not Allowing Dogs to Roam Unrestrained: Allowing dogs to roam freely without supervision can be seen as a failure to exercise reasonable care, as it increases the risk of encounters with other people or animals.
- Preventing Access to Dangerous Situations: Owners should take steps to prevent their dogs from entering situations where they may be provoked or exposed to stressful or dangerous circumstances.
Who May Be Held Liable in a Dog Bite Attack?
Liability in a dog bite attack can vary depending on the circumstances and several parties may potentially be held liable for a dog bite attack, including:
In many cases, the primary party held liable is the dog’s owner. Dog owners are typically responsible for the actions of their dogs. Memphis’ strict liability laws hold the owner responsible for dog bite injuries, regardless of the dog’s prior behavior or the owner’s knowledge of it.
Landlord or Property Owner
In some cases, a landlord or property owner may be held liable if they had knowledge of a dangerous dog on the premises and failed to take appropriate action, such as evicting the tenant or imposing restrictions on the dog.
Caretaker or Custodian
If someone other than the owner is responsible for the dog’s care and control, such as a dog sitter, walker, or boarding facility, they may be held liable if they were negligent in supervising the dog or if the attack occurred while the dog was under their care.
Parents of Minor Owners
If the dog is owned by a minor, the minor’s parents or legal guardians may be held liable for any dog bite injuries caused by the minor’s dog if they were aware of the dog’s dangerous propensities.
Negligent Third Parties
Individuals who provoke or antagonize a dog, or who engage in criminal activities that lead to a dog bite incident, may share some degree of liability, depending on the circumstances.
In some cases, local animal control or authorities may be held liable if they were aware of a dangerous dog, had the authority to take action, and failed to do so.
Property or Business Owners
If a dog bite occurs on someone else’s property or within a business, the property or business owner may be held liable if they were aware of the presence of a dangerous dog on their premises and failed to take appropriate precautions.
How Can a Lawyer Help with My Dog Bite Claim?
A lawyer can provide valuable assistance with your dog bite claim by offering legal expertise and guidance throughout the process. Here are several ways in which a lawyer from Wright Gray Law Firm can help you with your dog bite claim:
- Legal Assessment: A lawyer from our firm can evaluate the specific details of your case, including the circumstances of the dog bite, the extent of your injuries, and the applicable laws in your jurisdiction. This assessment helps determine the strength of your claim and the potential liability of the dog owner or other parties.
- Investigative Support: Our lawyers can conduct investigations to gather evidence related to the dog bite incident. This may include interviewing witnesses, obtaining medical records, and assessing the dog’s history and behavior.
- Liability Determination: Your lawyer will work to establish liability, determining whether the dog owner or other responsible parties can be held accountable for your injuries. This may involve reviewing local leash laws, animal control regulations, and other relevant statutes.
- Negotiation with Insurance Companies: Many dog bite claims involve negotiations with insurance companies. Your lawyer can communicate and negotiate with the dog owner’s insurance provider to seek compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.
- Legal Advocacy in Court: If negotiations fail to reach a fair settlement, your lawyer can represent you in court. They will prepare and present your case, including gathering and presenting evidence, examining witnesses, and making legal arguments on your behalf.
- Maximizing Compensation: Your attorney can help ensure that you receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. This may include not only medical expenses but also lost wages, emotional distress, and future medical costs if your injuries are severe.
- Timely Filing: Our lawyers understand the statutes of limitations and deadlines for filing dog bite claims. They can ensure that your claim is filed in a timely manner, protecting your right to seek compensation.
- Protection from Counterclaims: If the dog owner or their insurance company files a counterclaim against you, your lawyer can defend your interests and rights.
- Guidance on Legal Strategy: Your attorney can provide advice on the best legal strategy for your case, whether that involves negotiating a settlement, pursuing a lawsuit, or exploring alternative dispute resolution methods.
- Peace of Mind: Dealing with the aftermath of a dog bite incident can be stressful. Having a lawyer on your side can provide peace of mind, knowing that you have a legal advocate looking out for your best interests.
If you’ve been bitten by a dog and are considering a dog bite claim, talk with a dog bite attorney at Wright Gray Law Firm. We can help you navigate the legal process, protect your rights, and work to secure fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
Contact the Memphis Dog Bite Lawyers at Wright Gray Law Firm Today
Have you or a loved one suffered injuries in a dog attack in Memphis? Don’t suffer in silence or bear the burden of medical bills and emotional trauma alone. The experienced Memphis dog bite attorneys from Wright Gray Law Firm are here to help.
Navigating the legal complexities of dog bite cases can be challenging. We have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve. Our dedicated team of legal professionals will be your advocates, working tirelessly to hold responsible parties accountable. We’ll seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact our Memphis personal injury attorney today at 888-912-4944 or through our online form for your free consultation and to hear your options for financial recovery.
“My experience with this law firm was outstanding! Rosalyn Dobbins is an exceptional Attorney who puts her clients first. This is a top notch personal injury law firm, and the entire team is spectacular. I would recommend this law firm to any of my friends, family, or associates because I am 100% sure they will be well taken care of.” Colleen C. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wright Gray Trial Lawyers – Memphis Office
5050 Poplar Ave Suite 1925
Memphis, TN 38157
P: (901) 519-3443