A dog bite injury can have serious consequences for the victim, both physically and emotionally. Fortunately, Colorado law favors the victim over the pet owner. It holds dog owners strictly liable for attacks and injuries suffered by victims, in most cases. If you have been bitten by a dog in Colorado, learn how to pursue fair financial compensation for your losses.
Colorado Dog Bite Law
Colorado’s dog bite law is found in Section 13-21-124 of the Criminal Law and Procedure. This law states that a civil action can be brought against a dog owner for bodily injury or property damage caused by the dog, regardless of the viciousness or dangerous propensities of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of these traits (or lack thereof). In other words, a dog owner will be held strictly liable for a dog attack whether or not he or she knew the dog was violent.
Under this law, a victim of a dog attack generally does not need to prove prior knowledge or negligence on the part of the pet owner. It is typically enough to show that an injury was caused by the owner’s dog. As long as the victim was not trespassing at the time of the incident and did not instigate the attack, he or she will be eligible for financial compensation from the dog owner for related medical bills and other expenses.
Who Pays for a Dog Bite Injury?
Most dog bite injury claims go through the pet owner’s property insurance policy. This could be homeowners insurance or renter’s insurance. These policies typically cover harm caused by a policyholder’s dog, since pets are viewed as property in the eyes of the law. If the pet owner does not have this type of insurance, he or she may have to pay out of pocket for your losses under Colorado’s dog bite injury law.
What Damages Are Available For a Dog Bite Injury Claim?
Damages is another word for the financial compensation that may be available through a personal injury claim. Listing the damages available in your claim can help you understand the full extent of what the dog attack cost you and your family. It is important not to rush into a fast insurance settlement or private agreement with the pet owner before you understand the extent of your injuries. This could lead to you accepting less than you deserve.
Available damages may include:
- Existing and future foreseeable medical costs
- Hospitalization or reconstructive surgeries
- Medications or follow-up care
- Any necessary physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Psychological counseling costs
- Travel and transportation expenses
- Emotional distress, mental anguish or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Damage inflicted upon your property
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Lost wages and future earning capacity
- Loss of consortium
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Attorney’s fees and out-of-pocket costs
How much your dog bite injury claim might be worth depends on the scenario. Each case is different. Settlement values can vary based on factors such as the severity of the injuries, how long it will take the victim to recover, and the monetary value of medical bills and lost income from being unable to work. A Denver personal injury attorney can review your case to help you determine its potential value.
How to Pursue Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries in Colorado
As soon as you can after a dog attack, call the dog owner’s property insurance company to file a claim. Follow the steps they give you to file, which will include giving the insurance company information about the incident. However, do not admit fault for the attack or give the insurer a recorded statement. Before you begin the insurance process, it can help to speak to an attorney. This is especially true if you or a loved one suffered severe or catastrophic injuries in a dog attack in Denver. A skilled dog bite attorney in Aurora can help you understand and protect your legal rights.