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Nashville Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > General > Can You Sue For a Dog Bite?

Can You Sue For a Dog Bite?

can you sue after a dog bite

When people think about personal injury claims, they tend to associate them with vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, product defects, or slip and fall accidents. In these scenarios, proving that someone else’s negligence led to the incident that caused your injuries or other damages is key to your ability to recover compensation.

One lesser-known type of claim that you can file is for a dog bite. You may be thinking that a dog cannot be held liable for its actions, and of course, you cannot sue an animal. You can, however, pursue legal action against the owner of the dog depending on the circumstances of the incident. Before we get into the details of a dog bite injury case, let’s talk about why dog bites can be dangerous.

Types of Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bite victims can suffer from many types of physical damage, from relatively mild to very serious injuries.


Dog bites typically result in lacerations, which means that the skin was broken, cut, or punctured. Usually caused by sharp objects, a laceration is a result of the dog’s teeth digging into and breaking the skin. This type of injury could be relatively minor, but severe lacerations can occur as well.

Broken Bones

The jaws of a dog can be very strong depending on its size. As a result, if they get a good grip on the victim’s hand, arm, or leg, a broken bone could easily occur. Plus, dogs tend to tug when they get a grip on something, which can lead to a break.


This injury is one in which pieces of flesh or ligaments have been torn away from the body. They are at a huge risk of infection because of the amount of exposed flesh. It can cause serious nerve damage, cosmetic surgery, and permanent scarring. Avulsion injuries caused by a dog often require immediate medical attention.


Though most dogs are immunized against Rabies, an irresponsible owner could have failed to have the dog treated. If the infected dog bit you, it could result in the transmission of this disease, making treatment necessary.

Amputations or Death

In the most severe dog bite cases, a victim could end up having an amputation or even lose their life if the attack is serious enough. Large dogs are capable of sending victims to the emergency room.

Other injuries can occur as well for victims bitten by a dog, but these are some of the most common.

Are There Grounds for a Dog Bite Lawsuit?

A dog bite lawsuit is a real possibility for an injured person, but it depends on the circumstances that led to the event and who is liable.

Is the Dog Owner Liable?

Most of the time, the dog owner is responsible for the actions of their pet. Most dog bites can be avoided with ample protection against the dog getting free, such as a leash, fence, or another barrier to prevent the dog from engaging with people. It could also happen if the owner knew about a dangerous situation and did not properly control the dog. If a dog attacks someone else due to the negligence of its owner, then the victim has grounds for a lawsuit.

In Tennessee, the state’s dog bite laws dictate that dog owners are liable if they fail to properly control their pet when it attacks someone. If a dog is uncontrolled and off the owner’s private property, any injury suffered by a victim could have a strong case. It might even be possible to bring criminal charges.

Is the Injured Person Liable?

Not all bites are the fault of the dog’s owner. No claim can be filed if the victim provoked the dog attack. If they entered the dog owner’s home without permission, it will be difficult to prove negligence on the part of the owner and earn damages.

Are There Damages From the Dog Bite Incident?

Damages are a key aspect of any injury claim, and the same is true of dog bites. There must be a financial or emotional loss that was incurred for dog bite claims to move forward. If the injury caused by the dog had some type of lasting damage, the following categories for compensation could apply.

Financial Losses From Dog Bites

Financial losses from a dog bite case could include medical bills from treatment, lost wages from an inability to work, permanent disability, or even funeral expenses if a wrongful death occurs. If the person injured by the dog has to undergo physical therapy to recover, those medical expenses would also qualify.

Mental and Emotional Distress After the incident

In some cases, a fair settlement offer can also be obtained because of emotional losses after the attack. A dog bite victim could experience pain and suffering as a result of the incident, and although it is harder to calculate an amount for the settlement, it is possible to earn more compensation.

What Should You Do?

If you are the victim of this type of incident, you could have the grounds to file a dog bite claim against the owner. As long as your claim falls within the statute of limitations and you can prove liability belongs to the owner, then you have a great chance of winning a fair settlement.

To file a claim after being injured by a dog, you should work with a dog bite lawyer who can help you navigate the process legally.

Reach Out to Mitch Grissim & Associates

At our law firm, dog bite injuries are taken seriously because victims deserve to be compensated for the damages incurred due to the dog owner’s negligence. It is possible to receive a payout for these damages from the dog owner’s insurance company, whether the losses include medical bills, lost income, or emotional suffering.

The team at Mitch Grissim & Associates has helped many dog bite victims pursue legal action against dog owners who failed to control their pets. A personal injury attorney who is on your side will be the best strategy for defending your case. It is crucial to have a lawyer who can compile evidence to earn an out-of-court settlement and defend your rights if the case proceeds to court.

We Offer a Free Consultation

Some victims may not understand their legal rights after they are bit by someone else’s dog. The solution is to seek legal advice that can inform you about the strength of your claim. For this reason, our team will provide a free consultation to discuss your dog bite case. We believe that dog owners should be held accountable for their negligence, but we also want to make sure that you understand the process upfront.

Call a Dog Bite Attorney Today

To learn more about dog bite laws in Tennessee and whether or not your injury after a dog attack could be the basis for a successful claim, call 615-255-9999 today. We will uphold the attorney-client relationship and protect your interests.

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