IT'S MORE TO US, IT'S PERSONAL
Get the Legal Help You Need: Knoxville Dog Bite Lawyer at Your Service
If you've experienced a dog attack in Knoxville, TN, you need to contact a personal injury attorney from Wettermark Keith as soon as possible.
You could be on a hike with your best friends, your child could be walking home from the bus stop, or your partner could be mowing the front yard when the attack occurred. A dog attack can come sudden, swift, and without warning, leaving the injured hurt and shaken to the core. What makes the situation even worse is that, unfortunately, many dog attacks happen to the youngest and most vulnerable people in our population: children.
Dog owners are usually shocked to discover that their dogs caused harm to another person, but it happens often without warning. Nearly 4.7 million people are attacked by dogs each year in the United States, and more than half of those attacks happen to children under 10 years old. It is a known fact that some dogs are more equipped to kill than others due to the strength of their jaws and brute force, and those sometimes cause fatal accidents. However, it takes very little power to overwhelm babies and small children, who make up 50% of dog bite fatalities.
In addition to the immediate and lasting physical pain, emotional trauma and mental anguish can follow a dog attack. Dog bite victims often report long-term distress when in the presence of dogs after experiencing an attack. Someone who previously loved animals now links viciousness and ferocity to all dogs. These feelings of fear can lead to serious panic attacks and other disorders that plague daily life, making a dog attack an event that persists throughout its victims life long after the incident.
If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, do not hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney from Wettermark Keith in Knoxville, Tennessee to pursue your dog bite case. Your pain and suffering should not be overlooked– let us help you. Contact a dog bite lawyer from Wettermark Keith today by giving us a call or contacting us through our online form.
How Common Are Dog Bites?
Dog attacks are, unfortunately, more common than their owners would hope. According to the Humane Society of the United States and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that 4.7 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. Nationally, the CDC reports an average of 34 dog bite fatalities per year, and children under the age of 10 are proven to be the most vulnerable. Roughly 800,000 of those cases require some form of medical attention, and our country sees around 1,000 people in emergency care for dog bite injuries every day. In fact, five percent of emergency room stints relate to dog attacks.
Alarmingly, children comprise almost half of those who suffer dog attack injuries. That rate is amplified in ages five through nine. For children aged four and younger, the share of injuries (nearly two-thirds) take place above the shoulder because of the child’s height. Rural areas witness more ER visits and hospital stays than their urban counterparts — four-fold and three-fold, respectively. When it comes to bite injuries, concerns can easily extend beyond physical. Medical bills get steep — and quickly. On average, the cost associated with a hospital stay for dog bite injuries totaled $18,200.
If you have been affected by a dog attack, then you should seek medical treatment and contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. You are entitled to justice and our attorneys at Wettermark Keith can help you handle your case in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Protecting Friendships: Pursuing Homeowner Insurance Claims, Not Dog Owners, After a Bite Incident
Dog bites are traumatic for the victim and the dog owner. When a dog attack occurs, the victim might worry about filing a dog bite claim, since they may fear that the animal’s owner will be liable for the actual damages. In fact, most people assume that the dog owner is responsible for any injuries or damages caused by their dog, but this is not usually the case.
Instead of the dog owner themselves paying out the compensation for the claim, homeowner insurance policies cover dog bites and other injuries caused by pets. Therefore, if a dog attacks someone, the victim can pursue a legal case against the owner, but the financial liability is covered by the insurance limits of the homeowners insurance policy. This means that any payments will be coming out of the insurance policy rather than being directly paid by the dog owner. By pursuing a legal case, the victim can protect friendships, avoid potential conflicts between friends or neighbors, especially if they are close with the owner, and get the necessary compensation.
Additionally, by pursuing damages through a homeowners insurance claim, we can help ensure that the victim receives the compensation they deserve, especially since the dog owner might not be in a position to payout the sum of the damages themselves. Homeowner insurance policies have higher liability limits meaning that the victim will be able to receive the necessary compensation for their injuries and damages. If you have been the victim of a dog bite, do not hesitate to consult an experienced personal injury attorney from Wetterman Keith.
Most Common Dog Breeds Involved in Tennessee Personal Injury Cases
Although breed does ultimately determine whether or not a dog will be involved in a dog attack case, some breeds are often known to be more aggressive than others. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the dog breeds that are most commonly involved in dog attacks in the United States include:
- Pit Bull
- German Shepherd
- Siberian Husky
- Doberman Pinscher
These breeds are not the only dogs to be involved in dog bite incidents, and their breed alone does not determine whether or not they will be aggressive towards others. In fact, many factors can contribute to a dog's behavior, including socialization, training, and individual temperament. It is important to always approach all dogs with caution and respect, regardless of breed. If you were involved in a dog attack, then you should contact a dog bite attorney from Wettermark Keith in Knoxville, TN as soon as possible.
The Extent of Injuries from a Tennessee Dog Attack
Dog bites often leave lasting scars, physically and emotionally, that can haunt someone for life. Injuries from a dog bite vary widely and some include:
Dogs tend to aim for the face in the event of a dog bite accident, which is a sensitive area prone to scarring. Depending on the severity of the bite, stitches may be required, which increases the risk for prolonged scarring. Many scars heal up around the six-month mark, but others stay etched in for life. In severe circumstances, plastic surgery serves as the only avenue for full scar removal, and the bill for these surgeries can range from $4,000 to more than $100,000.
In the event of a dog attack, broken bones can occur if the victim suffers a fall or is knocked to the ground. Some breeds have strong enough jaws to even break bone through their bites.
Whether due to a fall or a bite, head injuries also serve as a significant danger in the event of a dog attack. Injuries to the head can be as benign as a simple bump or as devastating as serious head trauma, including a fractured skull or brain injury, which can lead to permanent disability.
Rabies and infections
Dogs carry the risk of infection, which includes rabies. Wounds from a dog attack can develop into an infection if not treated properly. Rabies shots should be administered if the dog cannot be identified, located, and tested.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Existing beyond just the physical, post traumatic stress disorder can linger for months, if not years, after dog attacks. This disorder can cause its victim to suffer from withdrawal, depression, behavioral issues, nightmares, anxiety, and more. When experienced by a child, PTSD can stunt academic performance, social relationships, and emotional development.
If you or a loved one are suffering from any of the above instances or another consequence of a dog attack, you should contact a personal injury attorney from Wettermark Keith in Knoxville, TN as soon as possible. Our team can help you get the compensation you deserve to pay for the damages you have suffered.
Tennessee Dog Attack Statutes and How They Are Used by Knoxville Dog Bite lawyers
According to Tennessee statutes, Tennessee dog owners are bound by duty to keep their dog under reasonable control. If a dog owner fails to maintain control and their dog attacks someone in a public place or on another individual’s property, the liability falls on the dog owner.
Depending on the setting, Tennessee law can become trickier. For instance, if a dog bite injury occurs on the dog owner's farm, residence, or private property, the victim must offer proof of negligence on the behalf of the owner. The victim has to demonstrate that the dog owner had prior knowledge of the dog's dangerous tendencies in order for the case to have a chance.
For police and military canines, liability does not apply, and this extends to a dog protecting someone from an attacker. If the dog is provoked in some way or remains restrained in a kennel or other enclosure, liability also does not apply to the situation, and you do not have a case.
Tennessee's common law liability places the onus of proof on the plaintiff. This means that a victim must establish that the dog owner's negligence contributed to the injury in order to recover compensation in a dog bite case.
Navigating Tennessee's laws and statutes is a complicated process; however, you do not have to handle it alone. Our dog bite attorneys at Wettermark Keith have the expertise to handle your case. At our firm, you can trust our attorneys to represent you and your interests in your time of need.
Pursuing Dog Bite Damages
Getting compensation for a dog bite injury usually depends on insurance. Homeowner's insurance is the most common coverage for dog bite claims, but renter's insurance may also be applicable. Seeking insurance coverage in a building or apartment complex depends on the situation and the landlord's knowledge of the dog's behavior. Some policies exclude coverage for specific dog breeds, like Rottweilers and Pit Bulls.
In Tennessee, the statute of limitations for dog bite claims is one year from the accident date, except for minors who have until their 19th birthday to file. Time is critical when making a claim, so contacting a dog bite lawyer from Wettermark Keith early on is recommended for maximum compensation recovery.
Your Dog Bite Case
In dog bite cases, there is no set time frame for the claims process, since a number of dependencies factor into the length of the legal proceeding. Some of these include:
Most dog bite cases do not see the courtroom. If an unsatisfactory settlement seems imminent, however, a lawsuit may have to be filed. Afterwards, the case will be taken before a judge where a verdict could be reached in a matter of weeks or in a few months.
Seriousness of Sustained Injuries
The severity of you or your loved ones injuries plays a major role in the compensation you would receive from a dog attack claim, and this can influence the time frame of your case. Some insurance companies may opt to expedite your claim if the extent of your injuries are particularly serious. This is why consulting with a dog bite lawyer from Wettermark Keith in Knoxville can help ensure that your case is handled as professionally and swiftly as possible.
Injury Treatment and Recovery
Compensation can change based on the time it takes and how the scars, both physical and emotional, heal. In the recovery process, it is known that expenses rise in proportion to the care needed, and the medical bills that follow factor into your compensation recovery. It is important to speak with an attorney at Wettermark Keith to learn how to best maximize your compensation.
No matter what you or your loved ones' circumstances are, contacting an experienced dog bite lawyer at Wettermark Keith in Knoxville is strongly advised.
Wettermark Keith: Dog Bite Lawyers in Knoxville, TN
The aftermath of a dog attack can leave lasting impressions on a victim and their loved ones, whether this be through physical, mental, or emotional effects. Nobody should have to endure the pain and suffering that comes with an animal attack. Dog attacks in Knoxville are complicated. Without the proper legal knowledge, it can be hard to know how to proceed after an attack. For peace of mind, contact our Knoxville dog bite lawyers to pursue your case. We represent our clients with compassion, using our legal expertise to make your case a success.
At Wettermark Keith, we believe in taking cases personally. With offices located in Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida, we have an excellent reputation in many practice areas, including dog bite law. Our purpose is to practice with care and compassion - to tell our clients’ stories and make their voices heard. We do this by building strong relationships based on constant communication and an unwavering dedication to truth and trust. Winning cases isn’t our goal - caring for you is. Winning is just how we show it. It’s more to us, it’s personal.
No Recovery, No Fee!
Our firm operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win your case. Any legal fees and associated costs will be collected from your winnings at the conclusion of the case. If your attorney is not able to obtain a verdict or settlement for your injury, you will not be charged any legal fees for their efforts.
Frequently Asked Questions
In Knoxville, dog bite law is governed by both state law and local ordinances. According to Tennessee law, a dog owner is strictly liable for any injuries or damages caused by their dog, regardless of whether the owner knew or should have known that the dog had a propensity to bite. Additionally, the City of Knoxville has specific ordinances that require dog owners to keep their dogs on a leash and under control at all times.