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. 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. This statute does not apply to individuals who are trespassing on private property, who have 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 for 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 experience Colorado dog bite attorney to evaluate the facts and determine whether or not there is enough information to pursue the dog owner for compensation.
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