What is the “One Bite Rule” for Dogs and Does it Affect Liability?

by David Peel on December 19, 2013

What is the "One Bite Rule" for Dogs and Does it Affect Liability?Someone bitten by a dog may be wondering whether he can bring a lawsuit against the dog’s owner to recover money for his injuries. It is important to understand what the “one bite rule” is. It is also important to know whether Tennessee uses the “one bite rule” when determining owner liability.

The “one bite rule” means that a dog owner is liable for damages only if he knew or had reason to know that the dog was likely to bite. This means that if a dog has bitten someone before, the owner should know that the dog is likely to bite someone else, which makes the owner liable for any injuries that result from his dog biting someone.

Tennessee does not have a “one bite rule.” This means that even if the owner did not know or had no reason to know that a dog was likely to bite, the owner is still liable for injuries caused by the dog. However, Tennessee does have a residential exception, which means that if a person is on the dog owner’s property, with permission, and the dog attacks, the owner is not liable unless it can be proven that he knew or had reason to know the dog would bite.

Also, in Tennessee, dog owners are not liable in certain situations. The military or police whose dog is performing its official duties are not liable for injures from dog bites. If a person is trespassing and is injured from a dog bite, the dog owners are sometimes not liable for it. A dog owner is usually not liable if the injured person was harassing or provoking the dog.

If you or someone you know is interested in more information on dog bite liability, please contact Mr. Peel through Mr. Peel focuses on personal injury. He practices throughout West Tennessee and has an office in Millington, Tennessee.

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