What Happens If A Pet Bites A Person?

For many of us, pets are considered another member of the family. While pet owners love their pets, they may end up costing their owners money if they bite another person through personal injury lawsuits. Though dogs and cats are the typical animals involved, Tennessee law is applicable to all living creatures, other than human beings, which may be affected by rabies. If you have been bitten by a pet, a Memphis personal injury lawyer can help you navigate through your legal options.  

What is an owner’s responsibility regarding protecting their pet and the public from rabies?

 Under the law, pet owners are required to make sure that all dogs and cats three months of age and older are vaccinated against rabies. Vaccinations should be kept up to date throughout the pet’s life.

What happens if a pet bites a person?

Each county in the state has its own division that is in charge of controlling the spread of rabies and the overpopulation of dogs and cats, using humane education, rabies vaccines, impoundment, and any other means deemed necessary to accomplish these goals.

As a Memphis, TN personal injury lawyer can explain, in the event that an animal bites a person, the animal is confined under the observation of a licensed veterinarian for 10 days. Immediately upon confinement, the veterinarian reports the clinical condition of the animal to the county.  

At the end of the confinement period, the veterinarian submits a written report to the county indicating the final disposition of the animal. If the animal has been inoculated against rabies and the veterinarian deems it satisfactory, the animal may be confined to a house or in any other manner in which it will be prohibited from biting a person for a period of 10 days. At the end of this confinement, the animal is examined by the veterinarian. 

An owner who is aware that his or her animal has bitten someone must inform the county. It is illegal for the owner to euthanize, sell, give away, or otherwise dispose of the animal until it is released.

What legal recourse does a victim have for the bite or attack?

If an animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack or injures a person, the owner of such animal is civilly liable to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused by the attack or attempted attack. This places owners under strict liability, meaning they can be ordered to pay damages without the victim proving negligence or any fault on the part of the owner; all that needs to be proven is an injury caused by the animal.

 If you have been bitten by another person’s pet, it is possible that you have a valid claim for personal injury against the owner. You may be entitled to damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, scarring, and more. Contact a Memphis, TN personal injury lawyer from Patterson Bray PLLC to schedule a free and confidential consultation to learn more.

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