Understanding Colorado Dog Bite Laws – Who is Liable?
Colorado Dog Bite Laws
Although domestic dogs play an important role in many families and pose no threat of danger to others, animals attacks still can and do occur at an alarming rate. Dog bite victims can collect compensation for their injuries. However, they must file a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner. It is critical to speak with an experienced dog bite attorney after an attack. They will protect your interests.
In Colorado, when a dog bite causes serious injury or death, the animal’s owner is liable for damages. This means that the injured party does not have to show that the dog’s owner was negligent or reckless. This is true even if the dog’s owner had no prior knowledge that the animal posed a risk to others. However, injured parties can only collect damages under this legal theory if they can demonstrate that the injuries sustained satisfy the definition of serious bodily injury, which includes any bodily injury that involves:
- Risk of death
- Permanent disfigurement;
- Protracted loss or impairment of a body part’s function; or
- Breaks, fractures, or second or third-degree burns.
Generally, bodily injuries include:
- Any physical injury that requires professional medical treatment; or
- Any physical injury that requires cosmetic or corrective surgery.
Even if a dog bite does result in a serious bodily injury, the victim will be unable to collect compensation under a strict liability theory if he or she:
- Was not lawfully on public or private property at the time of the attack;
- Entered the property of the dog’s owner, but owner marked property with at least one “no trespassing” or “beware of dog” sign;
- Knowingly provoked the dog; and
- Was a veterinarian, dog groomer, dog handler, or trainer acting in the performance of his or her duties?
The law prohibits recovery if a peace officer or military personnel was using the dog. The same applies if the dog was working on a farm or ranch.
Injured parties who suffered serious bodily injury as a result of a dog bite can collect economic damages, which includes compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and property damage.
When an injury does not rise to the standard of a serious bodily injury, a dog bite victim can still file a claim against the owner. Although, he or she will be required to demonstrate that the owner failed to use reasonable care to control the dog. Furthermore, unlike the strict liability law, the negligence rule covers all injuries caused by a dog and is not restricted to damage caused by a bite. For instance, if a dog knocks a person over on the sidewalk and he or she breaks an arm, that person can collect compensation by filing a negligence claim against the owner.
Call Today to Schedule a Consultation With a Colorado Dog Bite Attorney
Dog bites tend to result in especially severe injuries that can leave victims disfigured, scarred, and prone to infection, so if you were injured by someone else’s dog, please contact the Law Office of Steve Roberts, LLC by calling (720) 515-7058 to speak with a dedicated member of our legal team.