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Understanding Colorado’s Dog Bite Laws and 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. Therefore, 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.

Nikki Nicholaou was incredibly helpful and responsive. I felt very comfortable with my case in her hands, which was a great decision because she won me a settlement before we had to go to court
Veronica Blake
Veronica Blake
Highly recommended.
Andy B
Andy B
One day in June, 2019, our world was turned upside down. My husband was nearly killed by a motorist while riding his bicycle. He was lucky to come away from the accident with “only” a neck broken in 5 places, facing surgery and a long two-year recovery period. His extreme pain, our anger, and the total shock of the event overwhelmed us. We decided to focus all our energy on his healing. Dealing with the insurance company was more than we could handle. So, a little investigation brought us to Sloat & Nicholson. During the first phone conversation, Randy Nicholson explained that we could not only file a claim against the driver’s insurance, but also against our Underinsured Motorist insurance. Randy also explained that it was likely that he would have to fight Mike’s health insurance which would certainly ask to be totally reimbursed for their expenses. We’d learned that it was a bigger issue than we’d expected, but we knew we had found someone who could help us, and that has a great relief. After that first call, and in the subsequent months of meeting with Randy and his team, we knew we’d made the best possible decision. Randy got the full claim against the driver’s insurance. He convinced our health insurance that they had no standing in filing a claim against us. We didn’t have to pay them anything. And he negotiated with our Underinsured Motorist insurance and got the full claim against them as well. It was not easy, and Randy worked hard. He completely relieved us of a ton of stress. He kept us informed each step of the way. Every time we worked with him and his team, we became more and more convinced that we’d made the right decision. We were so glad we found Sloat and Nicholson. After the accident, we felt like the world was against us. The court system totally dropped the ball, and we constantly had to fight back our anger at the driver and the judge. But we had Randy Nicholson and his team on our side, and we are forever grateful to all of them.
midge castillo
midge castillo
I was in a car accident and needed legal advice. Robert Hoover was both professional and informative! He was so helpful, and I would recommend him to anyone. I also appreciated his Christian perspective!
colleen G.
colleen G.
I was a case form many years ago Gerald handled everything completely professionally there is not one thing I would do differently My case was complicated but the end result was everything that I was entitled to! If your case is in his practice area I highly recommend a phone call consultation or visit to his office. You won't be disappointed his years of experience knowledge and fair treatment of his clients would not be more apparent!
Adam Townson
Adam Townson
Jerry Sloat and his staff treated our family with great respect and helped us to receive compensation for the injuries, pain and suffering we incurred during a car accident. We owe him so much and are truly grateful that we stopped trying to deal with the insurance company and allowed Jerry and his wonderful team of professional to take care of everything for us.
Leonard Romano
Leonard Romano
Gerry Sloat was amazing, after my car wreck I was at a loss on what was going on. I didn't know the process or what to even expect. I turned to him because he was the only one willing to take the time and speak with me to answer all my questions. My insurance company wouldn't even call me back to answer my question of what was happening. Gerry took quite a bit of time explaining the different aspects of the insurance and the other driver and the county issues that I didn't even know where separate, he really set my mind at ease with my mind running with all of the "what ifs" I now know where I stand and what to expect going further and can now make informed decisions on what I need to be prepared for what lies ahead! Thank you again Mr Sloat!
landa raddon
landa raddon
Gerry Sloat was a very skilled and helpful attorney when I needed one to negotiate a settlement for many, many medical bills resulting from a head on collision. What impressed me most was his fair handedness in dealing with us, but also with dealing with the other parties involved. Further, since the accident a half dozen years ago, he has been more than helpful in answering questions about all matters of the law, and seems to genuinely enjoy hearing from me when I call. A stellar human and an outstandingly thorough attorney.
Bonnie Carol
Bonnie Carol
Ever since I started working with with Robert Hoover it's been more like working with family he's taking the time to get to know me and my family on a personal level the office staff know by name and they are the best
Jason Swartz
Jason Swartz

What Is a “Serious Bodily Injury” Under Colorado’s Dog Bite Law?

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.

Broken Bones

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. 

Nerve Damage

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:

  • Neurotmesis,
  • Axonotmesis, and
  • Neurapraxia.

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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