Dogs are some of the most popular pets in the Aurora region and throughout the United States. While most families would consider their dogs to be family members, the reality is that animals are unpredictable, and dog owners must understand their responsibilities when it comes to injuries their dogs inflict on others. Colorado has a strict liability statute in place on dog bite injuries. Both dog owners and anyone injured by a dog must understand this law as it applies to their unique situation.
At the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal, we understand that dog bite injuries are painful, damaging, and traumatic. If you or a loved one recently suffered an injury from a dog bite or dog attack, contact our office. An experienced Aurora dog bite attorney can help you pursue legal action against the owner to recover your losses.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
If you have experienced a dog bite, you might believe your situation is straightforward and obvious, so you should have no trouble securing compensation for your losses on your own. Unfortunately, this approach is rarely successful. Without legal representation, you risk overlooking critical aspects of your claim, missing potential channels of compensation, or making critical procedural errors with your court filings that jeopardize your claim.
Hiring an Aurora dog bite lawyer to manage your claim means you can focus on recovery while your case is in capable hands. Your attorney will not only help you build your claim but also thoroughly research all the potential types of compensation available in your claim. They will handle court filings on your behalf and guide you through all of your legal proceedings with helpful advice and professional insights along the way. Ultimately, hiring an experienced Aurora dog bite attorney is one of the best steps you can take toward a recovery after a dog bite injury.
Colorado’s Strict Liability Law for Dog Bites
One of the most important aspects of any personal injury claim is fault, or responsibility for the damages claimed by the plaintiff. Every state has different laws for different types of situations, and Colorado upholds a strict liability law when it comes to dog bites. Many other states have “one bite rules” or similar statutes that are a bit more lenient toward dog owners, but this is not so in Colorado. State lawmakers uphold that a dog owner is strictly liable for any severe injuries their dog causes to others, regardless of whether the owner knows the dog has any potential to attack someone.
Colorado’s strict liability statute for dog bites applies whenever a dog causes a serious injury, such as any injury carrying a substantial risk of death, a substantial risk of permanent scarring or disfigurement, or any injury that results in a long-term or permanent disability. If a dog attacks someone and only causes minor injuries, the state’s negligence statute applies, and the victim must prove the dog owner failed to exercise reasonable care in their handling of the dog.
In one-bite states, a dog owner may avoid complete liability for a dog bite injury if it is the very first time the dog has ever bitten someone. After a bite has occurred, the owner is essentially on notice as being strictly liable for future similar incidents. Colorado’s strict liability statute does not provide this defense to dog owners, so dog owners need to maintain control and supervision over their dogs at all times, even if they believe the dog is perfectly harmless.
Potential Damages in a Dog Bite Claim
When a dog bites someone, the dog can inflict serious damage, even if the dog is a smaller breed. The larger the dog, the greater the chance for severe injuries in a biting incident, and larger dogs are also likely to cause secondary injuries as well. For example, a larger dog that bites a person very hard can cause puncture wounds or even crushing fractures. If the person falls to the ground in the attack, the impact can cause secondary fractures, traumatic head wounds, or other injuries. It’s not uncommon for dog bite injuries to require expensive medical treatment and long-term recovery.
Dog bites can damage soft tissues like muscle, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. There is also the possibility of the victim suffering nerve damage, potentially resulting in loss of motor function or paralysis in the affected part of the body. A dog attack can also be a traumatizing event. Many people who have suffered dog attacks report Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, and other psychological distress following these painful experiences.
The plaintiff in a dog bite claim in Colorado can claim compensation for any medical care they required due to their experience. This includes immediate medical expenses like ambulance fees, hospital bills, and prescription medication costs. It may also include long-term damages such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other necessary rehabilitative treatments. If the victim’s injuries require them to stay home from work to recover, they can claim their lost income during recovery as damages as well. An Aurora dog bite attorney can help the plaintiff recover lost future income if their injuries prevent them from returning to work at all.
Potential Defenses in Dog Bite Claims
Colorado’s strict liability law leaves very little room for a dog owner to avoid liability for a serious injury their pet causes to another person. Generally, the only defenses available to a dog owner in this situation are provocation and trespassing; dog owners have no responsibility to prevent injuries to trespassers on their property. If a person provokes a dog to attack, the owner cannot be held strictly liable for the dog attempting to defend itself.
Dog bite injuries can cause serious damage. Liability for such an incident may not be immediately evident. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury, an Aurora dog bite attorney can help you assess your damages and determine your best available options for legal recourse. If you are ready to discuss your dog bite injury claim with a reliable and experienced Aurora dog bite lawyer, contact the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal today to schedule a case review with our team.