Legally Handling Dog Bites and Other Animal Attacks
Have you been the victim of a dog bite or other animal attack in Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee or Mississippi? Dog bites and other animal attacks often can result in serious personal injuries to their victims. These injuries can result in the need for serious medical treatment, including doctor’s visits, surgeries and various other treatment modalities. They can also result in significant pain and suffering for attack victims. However, in many cases, the dog owner may be liable for your injuries suffered as a result of a dog bite or other animal attack and the dog bite victim can pursue a damages claim through the courts against the dog’s owner.
The Law Regarding Dog Bites and Other Animal Attacks in Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi
Like many states, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi each have their own unique laws, which set forth a dog owner’s responsibility for controlling his, or her animal and which govern a dog bite or animal attack case. Nevertheless, the laws among these four jurisdictions share certain similarities. Under Florida’s dog bite statute, the owner of a dog that bites someone who is in a public place, or lawfully in a private place, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. Like Florida, Tennessee also has a dog bite statute that is virtually identical to Florida’s. Under Tennessee’s dog bite law, a victim can hold a dog’s owner strictly liable for injuries caused by his or her dog if the dog caused the person’s injury or damage to the person’s property, and the injured person was in a public place or lawfully in a private place.
Neither Mississippi nor Arkansas has a dog bite statute. Nevertheless, both states have similar laws to each other governing dog bite claims. A dog bite victim who is injured in either Arkansas or Mississippi must prove either that the dog owner had, or should have had, knowledge that the owner’s dog was likely to bite someone or else the dog owner was negligent. An owner not confining a breed like a pit bull or a Doberman pinscher in the yard or walking the dog without a leash when the dog has snarled, lunged at or growled at visitors before even if the dog has never actually bitten someone shows negligence.
Damages Available in a Dog Bite or Animal Attack Case in Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi
A victim injured by a dog bite or other animal attack in any of the four states can recover damages consistent with any losses and injuries the victim has suffered. This includes any bills for medical treatment or other expenses related to the dog bite or animal attack, any lost income (both past and future) the victim may have suffered as a result of the dog bite including any periods for recovery from surgery or other medical treatment, and any other damages the victim may have suffered. This might also include any pain and suffering, both past and future, the victim may have experienced as a result of the animal attack. Whereas in both Florida and Arkansas, there are no caps on pain and suffering in cases relating to dog bites, in Tennessee an award for pain and suffering is capped at $750,000 for most personal injury claims (including dog bites) and $1,000,000 for catastrophic injuries. In Mississippi the recovery of noneconomic damages is limited to $1,000,000 in personal injury actions, including dog bite claims. In addition to the elements of damages that the actual injured party is entitled to recover, his or her spouse and children generally can also recover damages for any lost support or services they suffer due to injuries from a dog bite or animal attack in Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi or Tennessee.
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