Dog Bites

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    Dog Bite Laws in Colorado

    Most dogs are beloved family pets, but these animals can still be unpredictable. Every year, millions of Americans seek emergency treatment for dog bites and related injuries. Sadly, the majority of dog attack victims are children.

    If you, your child, or your loved one was attacked or bitten by a dog, you could be entitled to financial compensation. In Colorado, you do not necessarily need to prove that the dog owner was negligent to file a personal injury claim. Our Denver dog bite attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and options. At Boesen Law, we offer compassionate, client-focused representation and personal attention throughout the legal process. We are committed to maximizing your recovery and can even represent you at trial if necessary.

    Contact us online or call our office at (303) 999-9999 to request a free, in-person consultation with a member of our legal team.

    Is Colorado a Strict Liability State for Dog Bites?

    When it comes to dog bites, most states either follow a “negligence” or “strict liability” rule. Under negligence laws, dog bite victims must typically prove that the dog owner, handler, or controller acted negligently, leading to the bite and its resulting injuries. Under strict liability laws, dog owners (and others responsible for controlling/handling dogs) are considered “strictly liable” for injuries bite-related injuries, regardless of whether they acted negligently. This means that dog owners, controllers, and handlers in strict liability states are nearly always responsible for dog bite victims’ injuries and damages.

    Colorado follows a combination of strict liability and negligence laws when it comes to dog bites and related injuries/damages. In cases involving “serious bodily injury” or death resulting from a dog bite, the dog owner, handler, or controller is considered strictly liable for the victims’ damages, including wrongful death damages sought by surviving family members of fatal dog bites. This means that you can hold the dog owner liable for your damages if you were seriously injured after being bitten by their dog, even if the dog owner did not act negligently.

    What is Considered a Serious Injury in Colorado?

    The state of Colorado defines a “serious injury” as either a bone fracture or a second-/third-degree burn or one that results in a substantial risk of:

    • Serious and permanent disfigurement
    • Significant and lasting impairment of a bodily function, organ, or member
    • Death

    If a victim’s injuries do not meet the state’s definition of a “serious injury,” they can still seek compensation for the animal attack, but they must prove that the dog owner, handler, or controller was negligent.

    Common Defenses to Dog Bite Claims

    Dog owners may try to argue or dispute your claim. In fact, there are several valid defenses to dog bite claims in Colorado.

    Your claim could be denied if the defendant successfully proves any of the following:

    • You were trespassing on private property when the incident occurred
    • You provoked the dog, leading to the bite
    • There were clear and obvious posted signs warning against trespassing or noting the presence of a dog on the property
    • The dog that bit you was actively working as a herding, hunting, ranch, or farm dog
    • The dog that bit you was actively carrying out law enforcement or military-related duties

    Dog owners can also defend claims when the injured party was interacting with the dog professionally and carrying out professional duties as a veterinarian, veterinary worker, humane agency staff member, groomer, dog handler, or dog show/competition judge.

    Proving Your Dog Bite Case

    To successfully prove your dog bite case, you will need to prove that none of the valid defenses outlined above apply. This means proving that you were bitten by a non-working dog while you were lawfully on public property or private property where there were no clear posted warnings regarding the presence of the dog. You will also have to prove that the dog was not carrying out work- or law enforcement-related duties when the incident occurred, and that you did not provoke the animal into biting or attacking.

    At Boesen Law, our Denver dog bite attorneys know how to develop powerful, persuasive cases on behalf of severely injured dog bite victims, as well as the families of those wrongfully killed. We recognize that these are often highly sensitive cases, especially when the dog was a known and trusted pet. Remember, you are typically not bringing a claim against the actual dog owner but against their insurance company. This is the purpose of insurance coverage: to pay for covered damages, including those resulting from dog bites and attacks.

    What Damages Can Be Recovered After a Dog Bite?

    Our team is here to provide the guidance and answers you need to heal and move forward after a traumatizing dog attack.

    We help our clients fight for maximum recovery, including compensation for their:

    • Medical bills
    • Medication costs
    • Future medical expenses
    • Lost income and wages
    • Pain and suffering
    • Trauma
    • Disfigurement
    • Emotional distress
    • Lost earning ability
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder
    • Counseling/therapy costs

    Our attorneys have decades of experience and a long track record of success. We have helped many dog bite victims—including children and their parents—hold negligent dog owners accountable, and we are ready to fight for you, too.

    What is the Statute of Limitations for a Dog Bite Claim in Colorado?

    Like other personal injury cases, dog bite cases in Colorado are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. This means you only have two years from the date of the attack to sue the liable party for damages. If you wait too long, and the statute of limitations expires, the court will almost always dismiss your case.

    In cases involving wrongful death, the two-year deadline begins on the date of death, even if this is not the same as the date of the initial attack. In most cases involving minors (children under the age of 18), the statute of limitations is deferred until the child turns 18. This means that a minor dog bite victim would have two years from the date of their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit.

    Schedule a Complimentary Case Evaluation with Our Team Today

    At Boesen Law, we take the time to get to know our clients. We want to listen to your story and share how we can help. Because of this, we emphasize in-person consultations, offered completely free of charge and with no obligation to hire. Unlike a lot of other personal injury law firms, we do not limit our consultations to just one hour; instead, we allow our clients and potential clients the time they need to fully explain what happened, how they have been affected, and their goals from the legal process.

    We encourage you to reach out to our dog bite attorneys in Denver to learn how we can help you seek the fair compensation you are owed. Our multilingual staff can assist you in English, Spanish or Russian, and there are no legal fees unless/until we recover a settlement or verdict for you.

    Call us at (303) 999-9999 or use our secure online form to set up an appointment today.