Many Tennessee families have dogs, cats, caged birds or other animals as pets, and most of them know that they could be held liable if their beloved pets should harm somebody. Many personal injury lawsuits are filed in civil courts every year by victims of animal bites, and not all of them involve domesticated animals. Owners of wild animals may not realize that they are subject to the same laws of strict liability regardless of the measures they take to protect others.

Whether a person is attacked and bitten by a dog, scratched by a cat, kicked by a horse or bitten by a pet snake, the owner of that animal can be held responsible for medical and other damages. Animal owners in Tennessee are held to the state’s doctrine of strict liability. Based on that, the owner of the animal will be liable for all damages regardless of any prior knowledge he or she had of vicious tendencies that the pet might have. One exception to this rule is if the victim was a trespasser on the property where the incident took place.

When it comes to farm animals such as horses, the owner might claim that the injured person knew that horses are known to kick and, therefore, assumed the risk, making him or her contributorily negligent. However, owners of animals that are potentially vicious and uncontrollable must understand that they are inherently dangerous. For that reason, the owners could be held liable even if they went to great lengths to protect others from being injured.

Victims of bites or attacks by any type of animal that belongs to another person might have grounds to seek recovery of damages through the civil justice system. This is a complicated field of the law, and it might be wise to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who has a comprehensive knowledge of Tennessee laws related to premises liability and animal attacks. A lawyer can provide support and guidance throughout ensuing legal proceedings in pursuit of recovery of financial and other losses.