Brentwood Dog Bite Lawyer

Suffering a dog bite can be traumatic and life-changing, particularly when it happens in  Brentwood, TN, a community that values safety and tranquility. A dog attack can result in physical disfigurement and lifelong emotional trauma. Some of the more serious dog attacks can even cause nerve damage, amputation, major scarring, pain disorders, emotional trauma, and even death.

Tragically, small children are disproportionately victims of dog attacks, because they are too young to realize when they are provoking a dog. These young victims often have to undergo reconstructive surgery, and even then they might be left with permanent disfigurement. Here at Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers, we have seen firsthand the emotional and financial devastation that a dog bite injury can cause. 

At the same time, many of our clients feel torn. The offending dog certainly isn’t to blame, and the dog owner might be your next-door neighbor. With the average dog bite claim amounting to tens of thousands of dollars, you might be reluctant to file a lawsuit against a family friend. 

Here at Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand the nature of the delicate balancing act you are trying to perform, and we know how to handle it from both sides. Contact our Brentwood dog bite lawyer today or call (615) 455-3384 for a free consultation. 

How Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You Resolve Your Dog Bite Claim in Brentwood

How Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You Resolve Your Dog Bite Claim in Brentwood

Recognizing this unique dilemma, Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers offers compassionate yet assertive legal guidance. We believe in a resolution that serves justice and empathy in equal measure. Navigating these sensitive cases requires not just legal acumen but also a deep understanding of the emotional ties that exist in community settings. 

Our approach focuses on securing fair compensation and accountability while maintaining respect for personal relationships. We aim to achieve a resolution that brings closure and healing to all parties involved, ensuring that your rights are protected without fracturing community bonds. Below is a sampling of some of the ways that our Brentwood personal injury lawyer can help you resolve your claim:

  • Analyzing the terms of the applicable insurance policy (probably a homeowners’ insurance policy);
  • Assessing liability;
  • Gathering evidence;
  • Handling all communications with insurance companies to ensure fair treatment and avoid lowball settlements.
  • Determining applicable law;
  • Evaluating emotional trauma, which might drastically increase the value of your claim;
  • Filing a lawsuit if necessary (this doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a trial);
  • Investigating the dog’s history to establish a pattern of aggression or previous attacks;
  • Coordinating with doctors to document the extent of injuries and future medical needs;
  • Ensuring that you receive maximum compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering;
  • Providing you with skilled legal counsel so that you can make informed decisions; and
  • Negotiating a settlement and drafting a settlement agreement.

We understand that no two dog bite claims are alike, and that your goals and priorities are unique to you. We will handle your case accordingly. Call our law offices serving Brentwood, Tennessee, today for a free case review.

What To Do After a Dog Bite

The immediate aftermath of a dog bite is a critical time. Make all the right moves, and you will maximize the value of your claim. Take the following measures, at a bare minimum:

Photograph Your Injuries (and the Dog)

It’s a good idea to photograph your injuries as soon as possible after the accident, to the extent that your condition allows. You might also ask a friend to photograph them. 

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Dog bites often produce deep puncture wounds that can cause additional complications or even death. Additionally, the sooner you seek treatment, the less likely it is that the insurance company will claim that your wounds were pre-existing. EMT personnel can confirm that your wounds were fresh at the time they treated you.

Find Out Who Owns the Dog (If You Don’t Already Know)

Obviously, you cannot file a personal injury claim against a dog. That means you need to identify the owner. In some cases, however, a third party may be responsible (a kennel owner negligently allowing a dog to escape its enclosure, for example). 

Otherwise, you might contact animal control. If the dog’s owner had it microchipped, animal control can probably identify the owner

Obtain Insurance Information From the Owner

Obtain insurance information from the owner. If the owner owns a home, homeowners’ insurance may cover your injuries. If they rent, then renters’ insurance likely covers your injuries. Keep in mind that your own health insurance might cover some or all of your medical expenses.

Generate Additional Evidence

Photograph your injuries at various stages of the healing process. Keep a “pain journal” of your symptoms and the effect of your injuries on your daily life. Include descriptions of any psychological turmoil you might be experiencing (such as nightmares). 

How Much Is Your Claim Worth?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly a million serious dog bites occur every year. Most of these incidents never result from insurance claims. In 2022, the Insurance Information Institute pegged the value of the average dog bite claim as about $64,555 and rising. 

The value of a dog bite claim varies widely, however, based on the specific circumstances of each case. It is also likely that smaller claims go unreported. For this reason, relying on an average can be very misleading – instead, set up a free consultation with an attorney for insight into how much your claim is worth.

The Tennessee Dog Bite Statute

Tennessee has enacted a special law dealing with dog bites. Under the general statute, a dog owner is strictly liable for injuries caused by their dog if: 

  • The owner cannot keep the dog under reasonable control; or
  • The owner lets the dog run free.

“Strict liability” means that the owner is liable regardless of whether the dog had ever before shown any aggressive tendencies. The rule of strict liability applies not only to dog owners, but also to other parties who may manage a dog, such as a professional dog trainer or a kennel. 

The Residential Exclusion

Strict liability does not apply to dog bites that occur on the owner‘s property. If the bite occurs on the dog owner’s non-commercial property, the victim can win by proving that the owner knew or should have known of the dog’s dangerous tendencies. 

Although people call this the “one-bite rule,” the dog does not have to have bitten someone before. It simply needs to have acted in a manner that should have warned the owner that their dog might be dangerous.

The Military and Police Dog Exclusion

A dog bite victim cannot win a claim against the police or the military if one of their dogs attacks them. 

The Protection Exclusion

A dog bite victim cannot win a claim against a dog owner if the victim suffered injury while the dog was protecting someone from an attack.

The Kennel Exception

You cannot win a dog bite claim if your injuries occurred inside a kennel or other secure enclosure.

The Provocation Exclusion

The victim cannot win a claim against a dog owner if their injuries were the result of provoking the dog.

Who pays a dog bite claim? If your child was injured by a dog owned by your next-door neighbor and best friend, you might be hesitant to drive them into bankruptcy or force them to sell their house to pay a $50,000 dog bite claim. At the same time, you might desperately need the compensation.

Fortunately, you probably won’t have to face that dilemma; homeowners’ insurance policies cover most dog bite claims, and the coverage is typically more than enough. Read these policies carefully, however, because they often contain exclusions. Common exclusions include:

  • Dog bites that occur off your property;
  • Victims who live on your property (household members);
  • Dogs with a history of biting; and
  • Certain restricted dog breeds, such as Rottweilers.

Renters’ insurance policies provide similar coverage and exclusions.

Negotiating With the Insurance Company: Know Who You’re Dealing With 

The insurance adjuster’s sole purpose is to save as much money as possible for their employer, the insurance company. You can expect the insurance adjuster to reject your claim or use every trick in the book to minimize its value. You will have to negotiate a settlement, and insurance adjusters are expert negotiators. Following are just a few of the tricks they like to play on claimants who try to represent themselves:

  • Delay tactics designed to wear you down;
  • Disputing the necessity of your medical treatments;
  • Misrepresenting the terms of the policy, especially if the policy is written in ‘legalese’;
  • Spying on you, looking for evidence to use against you–especially your social media accounts; and
  • Convincing you that you don’t need a lawyer.

Never forget that the insurance adjuster is not your friend, and they are not your “good neighbor,” even if you’re claiming against your own insurance policy. Insurance companies are businesses, and they make money by collecting premiums, not by paying claims. Treat the insurance company as the adversary that it is.

Our Brentwood Dog Bite Attorney Can Multiply the Value of Your Claim

No ethical personal lawyer will offer you an absolute guarantee of victory, or of a certain settlement amount. What we can say is that, on average, people who retain skilled personal injury lawyers end up with far more compensation than those who don’t. What’s more, you only pay legal fees if we win compensation for your case.

Here at Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers, we can help. Set up your free consultation with our experienced Brentwood dog bite attorney today. Contact our Brentwood dog bite lawyer today or call at (615) 455-3384.