Understanding Colorado’s Dog Bite Statute
Colorado’s dog bite statute only applies to someone who suffers bodily injury from a dog while lawfully on public or private lands.It allows victims to recover compensation for their losses after a dog bite. Bodily injury is defined as any bruising, laceration, or muscle tear that requires medical attention or any disfigurement or injury that requires corrective or cosmetic surgery. However, the right to compensation does not apply to trespassers on private property, those who intentionally provoked the dog, or certain dog care professionals such as groomers and dog show judges. In addition, it does not apply to any dog that is working in a military or police capacity or to dogs who are working in ranching, hunting, herding, or other related activities.
Settlements for dog bites are limited to only economic losses when it can be proven that the dog’s owner was negligent in their responsibilities as an owner. This means that the settlement amount will be based on actual past medical bills, future medical bills, psychological treatments, and lost wages due to the injury. Non-economic losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life will not be factored into the final agreement.
In cases where the victim is able to prove that the owner was knowingly negligent in handling the dog, it is possible to make a claim for non-economic damages. The victim must prove that the owner knew the animal’s propensity for aggression and failed to act as any other reasonable owner would in the same situation. The only way to know if your case is eligible for this type of claim is to hire an experienced Colorado dog bite attorney to evaluate the facts and determine whether or not there is enough information to pursue the dog owner for compensation.
What Is the Colorado Dog Bite Statute?
Colorado follows strict liability law when it comes to dog bite claims. In other words, it does not matter if the dog’s owner was unaware that the dog was dangerous and could bite someone. In other words, you do not have to show that the owner knew about the dog’s potential to injure someone. According to the Colorado dog bite statute, if an individual was lawfully on private or public property and sustained a serious bodily injury or died after a dog bite, they can hold the dog owner liable.
Can a Dog Owner Be Responsible for Negligence?
You and your attorney must prove all four elements of negligence to have a successful claim. These elements are duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Dog bite victims can also potentially file a claim for negligence per se. This can be complex, but our skillful attorneys can help you to understand your options. Do not hesitate to contact us at Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. for a free consultation.
What Is a “Serious Bodily Injury” Under the Statute?
A “serious bodily injury” has a specific meaning under Colorado law. This can refer to an injury during the dog attack or later on. It can involve any of the following:
- A major risk of severe permanent disfigurement,
- A substantial risk of long-lasting impairment of or loss of a body part,
- A significant risk of death,
- Burns in the second or third degree, or
- Broken bones or fractures.
If you have sustained an injury in a dog attack, get in touch with our experienced legal team as soon as possible. We can help you to analyze your claim and provide more guidance on the Colorado dog bite law. With over 100 years of combined experience, our lawyers are here to advocate for you.
Common Kinds of Dog Bite Injuries
A dog bite can cause many injuries that impact a person’s daily life. These injuries can result in expensive medical bills or keep a person from returning to work. Some of the most frequent dog bite injuries are below.
Dog bites can cause a shocking amount of harm to those involved in an attack. Dogs often have powerful jaws that put significant force on a person’s body. This can cause severe bone fractures and result in the need for ongoing medical care.
Another injury that a dog bite can cause is nerve damage. This happens when a dog bites an individual in their hands or another area with nerves close to the skin. Types of dog bite nerve damage include:
- Axonotmesis, and
Such nerve damage may require various types of medical treatment. Ensure that you see a doctor right away following a dog attack. Then, reach out to our experienced legal team for assistance in recovering compensation. We can aid you with receiving damages for lost wages, medical bills, and more.
How Are Damages Determined in a Dog Bite Incident?
Economic damages are calculated by adding up receipts, invoices, and pay records that establish your tangible losses. Non-economic damages, if you qualify for them, are harder to assess because they are less tangible. Calculating such damages requires the help of an attorney.
If you are found to be partially at fault for the dog bite, you can likely still recover damages as per Colorado’s modified comparative fault rule. If you are over 50% at fault, you cannot receive compensation. But if you are less than 50% at fault, you can still recover partial damages that are reduced by your percentage of fault. Reach out to our attorneys if you have any questions regarding dog bite laws in Colorado.
What Is the Colorado Dog Bite Statute of Limitations?
Following the Colorado dog bite statute of limitations is crucial when filing a claim. In Colorado, you will have two years from the date of the attack to file your claim. This is because, in Colorado, every personal injury claim outside of car accident claims has a two-year filing deadline.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to bring a claim after the statute of limitations for a dog bite passes. So you should contact a lawyer far in advance of the deadline. Our attorneys can help ensure that you punctually file your claim, so contact us for more information.
How Our Attorneys Can Assist You
For advice on how to file your claim after suffering from a dog bite injury, contact our top-notch attorneys. At Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C., our sophisticated lawyers in Boulder are ready to advocate for you. Over the years, we have recovered more than 100 million dollars in settlements or verdicts for our clients.
We recognize how stressful the healing process can be, but we are here to help. With over 100 years of combined experience, our client-centered team can assist you so you can concentrate on recovering. Call us at 303-447-1144 or complete our form online for a free consultation.
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