How Do Dog Bite Lawsuits Work in Tennessee?

The legal system is not universal. Laws vary from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Dog bite laws are no exception, and if you are wondering how dog bite lawsuits work in Tennessee, you are likely in need of a Nashville personal injury attorney. If you were attacked by a dog and bitten in Tennessee, depending on the circumstances, you might be entitled to compensation for any bite-related losses.

Dog-Bite Laws: Strict Liability and the One-Bite Rule

There are two fairly basic dog-bite law categories. The strict liability dog bite laws state that the owner of the dog is fully responsible for any injuries caused by their animal. The animal’s history of behavior does not come into play.

Under the one-bite rule, dog owners are only responsible for their dog’s behavior if there is a past history of violent acts done by the animal. If an animal is known to have bitten before, the owner has knowledge of their dog’s nature. If the dog has never bitten before, they are not liable for damages caused by their first known bite.

Tennessee Dog Bite Laws

Tennessee’s dog bite statutes are a combination of the two aforementioned laws. There are strict liabilities in place for bites under certain conditions. Under Tennessee law, dog owners are strictly liable if their dogs are loose and not under their control at the time of the bite, if the victim in no way encouraged or contributed to the attack, and if the bite took place on public property, private property that belongs to someone else, or any property that is not owned or rented by the dog owner.

Tennessee is the only state with a residential exception, and this statute states that dog owners are not liable for injuries caused by their dog if the attack occurred on their property. This is a very important factor that governs the outcomes of many dog bite incidents. If you are invited to the home of an individual with a dog and that dog bites you, you have no rights for damages because the bite took place at the residence of the dog and its owner.

Filing Your Dog Bite Claim

Under Tennessee law, dog bite injuries that have caused more than $25,000 damage would involve filing the lawsuit in the Tennessee Circuit Court or the Tennessee Chancery Court. For dog bite claims that are less than $25,000, your personal injury suit can be filed at the Tennessee General Session Court in the appropriate jurisdiction.

Your Tennessee dog bite lawyer will know which jurisdiction applies and which state laws apply to your dog bite claim and will guide you through the process from start to finish.

Punishments for Drunk Driving in Indiana

Officially, all drunk or drugged driving offenses in the state of Indiana are referred to as OWI or Operating While Intoxicated (instead of DUI/DWI/etc.). You will be booked for OWI if you were found operating a vehicle with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) of 0.08% or higher or if the motorist was found to be intoxicated with alcohol while driving.  For underage drivers, a BAC of 0.02% or higher will count as drunk driving.

The OWI offenses also involve driving under the influence of other drugs and controlled substances, but for the purpose of this article, we will discuss drunk driving and the punishments involved therein.

Punishments for Drunk Driving in Indiana

First of all, an Indiana OWI/DUI offense will never be erased from your record, which means it will always be regarded as a prior offense. However, if an offender happens to have priors in the span of the last five years, any further offense will be counted as a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

First OWI Penalties

If you are found guilty of your first OWI, typically the offense will be deemed either a Class C or a Class A Misdemeanor. If your blood alcohol level is found to be 0.15% or more, the offense will be interpreted as “endangering a person” while driving under influence. In this case, you will be found guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor. Otherwise, it will be a Class C Misdemeanor. Now, let’s look at the penalties for both.

Class A

  • Jail time: up to one year
  • Fines: up to $5,000
  • Suspension of License: typically, 180 days
  • IID (Ignition interlock Device): up to one year

Class C

  • Jail time: up to sixty days
  • Fines: up to $500
  • Suspension of License: typically, 180 days
  • IID (Ignition interlock Device): up to sixty days

Penalties for Second and Third Offense

Save the license suspension period, the punishments for second and third OWI offenses are identical—at least, on paper (that is, if they are still designated as misdemeanor and do not become a felony). However, for all repeat offenses, your license will get suspended for a period of at least one year.

A Felony OWI

If your OWI offense turns into a felony, you will be facing six months to thirty months of incarceration and fines up to $10,000.

OWI Attorney

If you are booked for an OWI offense, you must always engage the service of an experienced Terre Haute OWI attorney who will know all the ins and outs of Indiana OWI laws. Even if you are found guilty, a good attorney can always help in reducing the harm done to you. This includes reduction in fines, turning the jail time into probation, and other court options such as community service, participation in alcohol education programs, etc.

Keep in mind that an OWI can seriously jeopardize your life in more than one way. So, if you ever happen to find yourself in such an unfortunate circumstance, you must do all in your power to minimize the harm done to your person and your family.