When a dog bite results in a serious injury, Colorado law provides the injured party with an avenue to recover compensation for their injuries. The state’s dog bite statute allows the victim of a dog attack to pursue a lawsuit against the owner of the dog in some cases.
If you are the victim of a dog attack, a Colorado dog bite lawyer could assist you with pursuing a legal claim. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you could recover compensation if your claim succeeds. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, our team of attorneys can discuss your options and provide insight on your chances of success. To learn more, call (800) 816-0755 for a free consultation.
Dog Bite Injuries
When a dog’s bite results in lacerations or other penetrating wounds in the skin, there exists a possibility of additional medical complications. Healing from the cuts and bruises that come with a dog bite is challenging enough on its own, but the long-term repercussions that can follow are far more debilitating.
Severe bite injuries can result in extensive scarring and disfigurement. In some cases, no amount of cosmetic surgical repair is enough to undo this physical damage. This is especially true for injuries to the face or head.
In addition to scarring, there is also substantial risk of infection or disease following an animal bite. While rabies is the most common ailment associated with dog bites, simple infections are the most common serious complication that comes with these injuries.
Another common injury that many people might not relate to dog bites is nerve damage. This type of injury is common with both large and small dogs. When a dog bite pierces the skin and damages a nerve ending underneath, it can have permanent consequences, including pain and numbness.
A Colorado dog bite lawyer could assist you in pursuing financial compensation for any of these injuries. Once you get the medical care you need following a dog bite, you have the option of reaching out to a law firm for help with your claim.
The Potential for Dog Attacks
A study published in the journal Heliyon completed a thorough review of the demographics of dog attacks in 2019. The study reviewed dog attacks from 2005 through 2013 and came to the conclusion that these injuries represent a public health issue.
The study reflected a number of conclusions about at-risk demographics. While men were more likely to suffer dog bites than women, the difference between the two was minor.
On average, younger individuals are more likely to suffer a dog bite injury. According to the study, the average age of injury victims is 28.9 years. The study also reviewed the most common types of dog bite injuries, concluding that 47.3% of bites involve the upper extremities, including the arms and hands. Roughly 26% of dog bites occur to the head or neck, and 21.5% occur to the lower extremities. Only 4.4% of all dog bites impact the trunk of the body.
Understanding Dog Bite Laws
Throughout the United States, there are two general approaches to determining liability following a dog attack. Some states use a negligence theory, which is commonly known as the “one-bite” rule. Other states apply a standard known as strict liability. Colorado relies on a combination of the two.
Civil liability for dog bite injuries is governed by Colorado Revised Statute §13-21-124. According to the statute, a plaintiff may rely on the strict liability standard in cases where a dog bite results in serious bodily injury.
A serious bodily injury involves a substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement, or body part impairment. Under the strict liability standard, a plaintiff needs only to establish that the defendant owned the dog that bit them. Outside of establishing these facts, only showing that the plaintiff was trespassing or provoked the animal could serve as a valid defense.
There are circumstances where a dog bite injury victim must rely on the negligence standard to prove their injury claim. This standard is more difficult than the strict liability theory. The negligence standard is appropriate in cases where the plaintiff’s injuries were not as serious, or when the dog attack did not involve a bite. For example, injuries resulting from a dog knocking a person to the ground are covered by the negligence standard.
Proving a negligence claim requires the plaintiff to show that the dog owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous or aggressive. While this can be difficult to establish, evidence that the dog had previously attacked another person can be used as evidence that the dog owner knew of the animal’s aggressive nature. What’s more, courts will assume negligence in cases where the dog owner violates state or local safety standards, which include leash laws.
Deadline to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit
Every plaintiff faces a limited amount of time to file a dog bite injury lawsuit. Known as the statute of limitations, this deadline to file a lawsuit varies across jurisdictions. In Colorado, a plaintiff must file their dog bite injury lawsuit within two years of the date the attack occurs.
The failure to file suit within this two-year window can be fatal to an injury claim. The court has the power to dismiss a case entirely based on the violation of the statute of limitations. This is true even when the underlying facts of the case are favorable to the plaintiff.
You Could Recover a Monetary Award for Your Dog Bite Injuries
From investigating your claim to filing it within the statute of limitations, your Colorado dog bite lawyer will handle every aspect of the case for you. You do not have to pursue legal action without the guidance of experienced counsel. To move forward with your dog bite injury claim, call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 816-0755 for a free consultation with a member of our team.