Bitten by a Dog in Colorado? Here’s What You Need to Know
If you have ever been bitten by a dog that was in a playful mood, you are well aware of the razor-sharp nature of dog teeth and the damage that they can cause. Dog bites, especially from an angered dog, can result in serious bodily injury to the victim. The victims of dog bites may be able to file a claim for monetary compensation if the dog attack qualifies under the recent amendments to Colorado state dog law.
According to a study by Corona Research, less than one in every 350 dogs in Colorado was reported to animal control for biting a human. However, with the large number of dogs in Colorado, this still adds up to 2,060 reported dog bites in a one year period. When you consider that a large percentage of dog bites go unreported, the actual number of dog bites in a one-year period in Colorado is closer to 3,000 or 4,000. For many individuals who suffer a dog bite, their injuries are not severe enough to require medical attention or procedures. When an individual suffers serious bodily injury from being bitten by a dog, he or she may be able to seek protection under the state law.
In 2005, the state of Colorado passed a law that makes a dog owner strictly liable for dog bites only if the victim of the bite suffers serious bodily injury or death from being bitten on the dog while lawfully on the public or private property. This new law restricts the amount of compensation that the victim can recover to include only economic damages as opposed to noneconomic damages like pain and suffering, etc. This new statute also protects dog owners from bites and attacks that occur while the victim is unlawfully on private or public property that is clearly and conspicuously marked with one or more signs stating “No Trespassing" or “beware of dog".
Under the new state statute, dog owners are protected from situations where the victim is a veterinary health care worker, dog groomer, professional dog trainer, handler or dog show judge acting in the performance of his or her respective duties. The list goes on, but the overall purpose of the new statute in Colorado is to restrict the victim’s abilities to recover compensation from a dog bite.
If you or someone you love has suffered serious bodily injury from a dog bite that was caused by the negligence of the owner, it is wise to seek legal counsel from a Denver personal injury attorney who is experienced in this form of law. In order to file a claim for compensation, you must be able to prove that you have suffered “serious bodily injury" that can include severe bruising, skin lacerations, or muscle tears that require professional medical treatment. You may also be able to seek compensation from the dog owner if your injuries require cosmetic or corrective surgery.
Any dog can bite given the right circumstances, and it is particularly important to be watchful of children who are around dogs. The majority of dog bite incidents occurred while the dog was running at large, and breeds like Pit Bulls, German Shepherds and Boxers are the most likely to bite. If you have been bitten and are trying to determine whether or not you have a case for compensation, talk to an attorney who can evaluate the specifics of your situation. You may be able to prove that the dog owner was negligent by lacking to exercise ordinary care such as failing to take action or give a warning. A knowledgeable injury attorney can save you the time and effort of filing a claim if you are not eligible, and can provide you with strong legal representation if you are.