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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Do Hospitals Report Dog Bites in Tennessee?

Dog bites can be an annoying personal injury situation to deal with for numerous reasons. As a victim, your quality of life can be severely affected, especially if the injury is a serious one. It would be easy enough if the dog's owner would just compensate you for your injuries, but this is often not the case.


Instead, they may try to prove that you were at fault and it was your actions that led to the eventual dog bite. Navigating this will require an expert dog bite law firm who is intimately familiar with Tennessee dog bite laws.


Once the victim didn't do anything wrong such as provoking the dog and the dog owner was negligent, it's much more likely for an attorney to be able to recover fair compensation on behalf of the victim.

There are a few matters to address here today. One is how the state of Tennessee handles dog bites, with another being reporting requirements that may apply to a dog bite case. Keep reading to find out what the statute of limitations for dog bite in Tennessee is.


Tennessee's Dog Bite Laws

Tennessee's Dog Bite Laws


You'll typically find states dealing with dog bites in one of two ways. The first is strict liability, This means that dog owners are responsible for dog bite occurrences and this will apply whether the dog had previously displayed aggressive tendencies or not before the incident occurred.


The other way to process dog bite cases is with what is known as the one-bite rule. In this scenario, an owner is only responsible for the bit if there is prior knowledge or if there should have been prior knowledge about the animal's violent tendencies.


Tennessee is one of the unique states where these kinds of animal bites are concerned since it applies both rules, which can seem confusing.


The general rule of thumb here is that when the plaintiff is in a public or private place and isn't trespassing, the rule of strict liability will apply.


However, if the plaintiff was bitten by a dog while on a non-commercial property such as a farm, private residence, etc., that is owned, leased, or occupied with permission by the owner, then the one-bite rule will apply.


Note also that these rules are not solely applicable to dog bites, which is the case for many states. Instead, the principles will apply to any damages suffered by a person. Therefore, even if the dog doesn't bite the person, but perhaps knocks them down, the owner can be held liable for whatever injuries the victim may have suffered from the incident.


Can You Claim for Any Dog Bite Incident?


It's pretty straightforward to identify liability in a dog bite case, though there may be some exceptions to this. Be that as it may, different defenses could apply depending on the situation. Here are some of the ones to keep in mind:

  • Provocation - Since neither the strict liability nor one bite rule applies in cases where the defendant disturbed, alarmed, harassed, or otherwise provoked the dog, then this defense may be used.

  • Police or military dog - The owner of a police or military dog will not be held liable if the animal bites someone during its official duties.

  • Secure confinement - The owner is not going to be held liable if the dog was confined in an enclosure such as a kennel when the bite happened since the plaintiff would need to have created extranormal circumstances for the bite to even happen in the first place.

  • Trespassing - This was briefly mentioned before. If the plaintiff is to enter the defendant's property without permission and is bitten, then the owner will not be held liable.

  • Protection - In some cases, the dog may simply be protecting its owner from being attacked by the plaintiff. In these cases, the owner also will not be held liable for the bite.

What Should a Dog Bite Victim Do After Being Bitten?


As straightforward as dog bite claims are, they can be a bit difficult to prove. Therefore, it's a good idea to take the right series of actions to minimize the likelihood of it not working out in the victim's favor. Here are the recommended courses of action:

  1. Get medical attention as soon as possible. This is both to get treatment to manage the injury and also to have evidence that the injury happened and what the extent of it is.

  2. Ensure that a report is filed with the relevant authorities. While there is no legal requirement to do so, filing a report with the police, local health department, or animal control creates a record that can help the claim later.

  3. Collect any useful evidence. This will include details such as the owner's contact details, pictures of the dog, the bite, the area, contact details for witnesses, etc.

How Long Do You Have to File a Dog Bite Injury Claim in Tennessee?


In Tennessee, the statute of limitations for dog bite victims to file a claim following an animal attack is one year, which means it's best to act quickly.


Does Tennessee Dog Bite Law Require Doctors to Report Dog Bites?


Tennessee law does not necessarily require doctors to report dog bites to authorities. However, they can do so if they're under the impression that the dog is a public safety hazard.


Be that as it may, if there is any hospitalization or death following an animal bite, healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, are required to file a report with the Tennessee Department of Health.


The report may lead to the animal being quarantined, particularly in cases where diseases may be a concern.


Exceptions to the Reporting Requirement

Exceptions to the Reporting Requirement


There may be exceptions to the reporting requirement imposed on healthcare facilities in cases where the bite happened outside the state or if the dog is a service animal. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also answer questions like What is the premises liability law in Tennessee?


Schedule a Free Consultation with a Well-versed Dog Bite Attorney Today!


A dog bite attack can be a life-changing occurrence for a victim who may need medical attention and support to continue a normal life. Dog owners should take the necessary steps to prevent these incidents, especially when the dog's dangerous propensities are known.


If you have been injured in a dog bite attack, schedule a free consultation with an experienced Indianapolis attorney at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys today!

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