Colorado is amongst the top dog-friendly states in the country. As a result, the streets of Colorado are full of happy dog owners and their pets. Colorado even has policies to provide dog parks and dog-accessible owners for the recreational enjoyment of dogs and owners.
Unfortunately, sometimes dogs can turn aggressive and attack people. Dog bites may result in infection, disfigurement, temporary or lasting disability, and even death. If you’ve been bit by a dog, you may not even realize the extent of your injury and damages. In extreme cases, a dog bite can cause facial disfigurement or permanent nerve damage. If you have been a victim of a dog bite, you may be curious as to whether you need a Denver dog bite attorney or not? Or if you have sufficient grounds to bring a claim against the dog owner? Representing yourself after being bitten by a dog could be a mistake.
Is Colorado a One Bite Law State?
Regarding dog bite laws, Colorado is a unique state. Most states either fall into strict liability or negligence under premises liability laws. Colorado implements a combination of the two.
CRS 13-21-124 is the Colorado Statute states that if a dog bites someone, there is a strict liability on the owner. The owner is liable whether the person bit is on public or private property.
There is a common misconception that a dog owner can only be liable for a second offense from their dog. This is called the one-bite rule. The one-bite rule states that the owner can only be held accountable if the dog has previously bitten someone. The idea is that a dog’s owner cannot know a dog is dangerous until after biting someone the first time. But most states do not follow the one-bite rule anymore. Colorado puts a greater liability on pet owners.
Under Colorado’s Revised Statute 13-21-124, any person who suffers serious bodily injury or death from a dog bite is entitled to press charges against the owner. This can help the victim of the attack to recover economic damages.
Dangerous Dog Owner Liability
Colorado dog owners have a civic duty to keep the public safe from their animals. It is the responsibility of a dog owner to care for and adequately train their animals and watch for the public’s safety as it relates to their animal. This means a pet owner is required to socialize their dog appropriately. If a pet owner notices their dog demonstrating aggressive behavior, the owner is accountable for correcting and restraining the pet. Pet owners carry liability if they fail to carry out these duties. Pet owner responsible practices include:
- Keep dogs on a leash when not at home or on their personal property.
- Be observant and correct any signs of aggression promptly.
- Keep their dogs in good health and keep vaccinations up to date.
- Have a secure fence around their personal property to keep their dogs from attacking strangers.
- Post “beware of dog” signs inconspicuously, especially if a dog has shown previous signs of aggression.
Determining Liability in a Colorado Dog Bite Case
To determine liability after a dog bite, you must determine who owns the dog. Under Colorado’s dog bite law, strict liability is imposed on dog owners. So if someone’s animal injures you, they are responsible for reimbursing you for medical costs due to the attack. Even if the owner(s) had no knowledge that the animal had any inclination to be dangerous, they are still accountable.
Suppose a dog has a history of violent propensity. In that case, you can better prove the owner knew that the dog could be vicious. This would make it easier for you to recover both economic and non-economic damages related to the attack.
Even if you cannot prove that the dog bit someone before, you still have legal recourse. If you are relying solely on Colorado’s dog bite statute, you could receive compensation to restore medical expenses and financial losses from the attack. Colorado’s dog bite will only require the dog owner to reimburse you for economic damages. Non-economic damages cannot be recovered under Colorado’s dog bite statute. Examples of non-economic damages would include:
- Emotional distress, but not direct physical suffering as a result of the injury
- Pain and suffering
- Inconvenience or diminished ability to carry out life
- Loss of enjoyment or quality of life
To receive full compensation for a dog bite in Colorado, the victim must prove one of the following:
- The bite was due to the negligence of the owner.
- The owner violated a dog law, leash law of other prohibited dog law
- The dog owner knew that the animal had a history of dangerous or vicious tendencies (biting or threatening to bite).
This is when a Denver dog bite attorney can prove to be necessary. If you or your child was unexpectedly attacked by a dog, Denver dog bite attorneys can help you receive full and fair compensation.
Denver Dog Bite Cases by Breed
The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) tracks dog bites. A total of 518 dog bites were reported in 2019. Here are the numbers by breed:
- LABRADOR RETRIEVER: 54 (10%)
- GERM SHEPHERD: 49 (9%)
- UNKNOWN DOG: 42 (8%)
- AMERICAN BULLDOG: 41 (7%)
- PIT BULL: 38 (7%)
- AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG: 27 (5%)
- SIBERIAN HUSKY: 23 (4%)
- CHIHUAHUA (SHORT HAIR): 18 (3%)
- BORDER COLLIE: 16 (3%)
- BOXER: 15 (2%)
- BULL TERRIER: 13 (2%)
- ROTTWEILER: 12 (2%)
- ENGLISH BULLDOG: 10 (1%)
- SHIH TZU: 10 (1%)
- WEST HIGHLAND TERRIER: 10 (1%)
- BEAGLE: 8 (1%)
- AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD: 6 (1%)
- MASTIFF: 6 (1%)
- MINIATURE POODLE: 6 (1%)
- CHIHUAHUA (LONG HAIR): 4 (0%)
- CHINESE SHAR PEI: 4 (0%)
- CHOW CHOW: 4 (0%)
- DACHSHUND: 4 (0%)
- DOBERMAN PINSCHER: 4 (0%)
- GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER: 4 (0%)
- Others: 90 (17%)
Contact a Dog Bite Attorney in Denver, CO
Denver dog bite attorneys understand how traumatic it can be to be attacked by a dog or watch an animal attack your child. We want to get you the maximum compensation possible. A settlement may not be able to fix the damage and trauma from a dog bite. But it can help you and your family move forward and recover from the incident.
If you need a skilled, sympathetic, and capable dog bite attorney with a proven track record of success, contact us as soon as possible.
With a combination of a proven track record, impressive financial resources, esteemed legal reputation, and a compassionate approach, we believe there is no better Denver dog bite attorney team than us.