What is a dog owner’s liability regarding a dog bite?

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What is a dog owner’s liability regarding a dog bite?

One of the neighborhood kids came into my house after I told him to wait outside. When he came in anyway he startled the dog and it bit him.

Asked on May 26, 2011 under Personal Injury, Tennessee

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A dog owner is liable for negligence for the dog bite.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that in this case a reasonable dog owner in the same or similar circumstances would have exercised to prevent foreseeable harm).

If this is not the first time the dog has bitten someone, the dog owner would be liable under strict liability.  Strict liability is liability regardless of whether or not due care was exercised.

In a lawsuit filed against you by the parents of the kid who was bitten, damages (the monetary compensation they are potentially seeking) would include the medical bills and compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbirsement.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  The medical reports which document the nature and extent of the injury will be used to determine the amount of compensation for pain and suffering.


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