Colorado dog owners can be held strictly liable for serious bodily injuries as a result of a dog bite or attack. This means the dog’s owner does not have to have knowledge the dog was dangerous or that it had the propensity to attack in order to be held civilly liable for any bodily injuries the dog caused.
However, under the strict liability dog bite statute, a dog bite victim who suffered serious bodily injury or death is allowed to recover only economic losses.
A dog owner may also be held liable for a dog bite or attack for a lesser injury or for all damages, including non-economic damages if it is established that the owner was negligent, that the animal had dangerous propensities or if the owner violated animal control laws.
It is important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Denver as soon as possible if you have been attacked by a dog while lawfully on private or public property. According to section 13-80-102 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, the statute of limitations (SOL) to file a claim for bodily injuries sustained due to a dog bite is two years.
This time period prevents an injured party from bringing a lawsuit for damage sustained from a dog attack after this time period has passed. Two years is a very short period of time, so it is very important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Colorado as soon as possible after your attack.
Denver Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
If you were seriously injured or your loved one was killed by a dangerous dog, the owner of the animal could be liable for your medical bills, disfiguration, and other financial damages. The Law Office of Jennifer L. Donaldson fights for dog attack victims in Denver County, Boulder County, Arapahoe County, Adams County, and Jefferson County.
Colorado personal injury lawyer Jennifer Donaldson has more than a quarter-century of experience helping clients in these kinds of cases. Call (303) 458-5000 right now to have her review your case during a free, no obligation consultation.
Denver Dog Bite Information Center
- Colorado’s Dog Bite Laws
- Liability for Dog Bites in Denver
- Colorado Dog Bite Resources
- Dog Bite Injuries
Colorado’s Dog Bite Laws
Dogs are defined under Colorado law (CRS § 13-21-124) as any domesticated animal that is related to the fox, wolf, coyote or jackal. Some of the most common domesticated dog breeds considered dangerous include, but are not limited to:
- Chow Chow;
- Doberman Pinscher;
- German Shepherd;
- Pit Bull;
- Rottweiler; and
- Siberian Husky.
Colorado Revised Statutes § 13-21-124 states that anyone who suffers from serious bodily injury or death after receiving a dog bite while lawfully on private or public property is entitled to sue the dog owner for economic damages, regardless of whether the dog was vicious or a dangerous dog breed, or whether the dog owner knew or had knowledge of the dog’s dangerous or vicious propensities.
A person is considered lawfully on another person’s property if:
- They are on the property in performance of a duty imposed on them by local, state or federal law or regulations; or
- They are on the property from the express or implied invitation of the owner.
Colorado Revised Statutes section 18-1-90 defines serious bodily injury as any bodily injury that involves a substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement, or long-term loss or impairment of any part or organ of the body, including breaks, fractures or burns of the second or third degree. The serious bodily injury can occur either at the time of the injury or at a later time.
Dog Bite Injuries
Types of injuries resulting from a dog bite may vary depending on the size of the animal and the size of the victim. For example, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, adult victims commonly report injuries to the feet, legs, hands, and arms.
The CDC also states that children are more likely to be bitten in the face and neck than adults. Although few severe injuries are reported, many bites resulted in nerve damage. These types of injuries can lead to expensive medical bills.
A qualified personal injury attorney can help you to obtain the damages owed to you by the dog owner.
Liability for Dog Bites in Denver
Although a dog owner in Colorado is strictly liable for any economic damages arising out of the serious bodily injuries caused by the attack of their dog, they may not be required to pay for the non-economic damages you may have suffered, such as time off from work, pain and suffering, mental anguish and/or job loss, unless you can prove the dog owner was negligent, that the owner violated animal control laws or had knowledge that their dog had dangerous propensities.
A dog owner is not civilly liable for damages a person sustained from a dog bite if:
- The victim is unlawfully on public or private property;
- The property is clearly and conspicuously labeled with one or more “no trespassing” or “beware of dog” signs;
- The dog is used by a peace officer or military personnel in the performance of their official duties;
- The victim provoked the dog;
- The victim is a veterinarian, groomer, professional dog handler or trainer acting in the scope of their job or duties; and/or
- The dog is working as a hunting dog, herding dog or predator control dog while under the control of the dog’s owner.
If victims are not able to recover for their bodily injuries under a theory of strict liability, they may still be able to recover for their injuries, damages and losses if they can prove that the dog had dangerous propensities, that the owner acted in a negligent manner or that the owner violated local or state animal control laws. Additionally, the victim of the dog attack may also be able to recover under any of the following theories of liability:
- Failure of the owner to stop the attack after it began;
- Intentional acts involving the dog; or
- Premises liability.
Colorado Dog Bite Resources
Civil Actions against Dog Owners under Colorado Law– Visit the Tornado State website of the Colorado Revised Statutes to find out more about any liability for vicious dog owners. This website provides legal definitions for terms used in Colorado’s statute. Also, find more information on exceptions to owner liability.
Dog Bites in Colorado July 2007- June 2012: Data, Conclusions, and Tips for Keeping Communities Safer — The Coalition for Living Safely with Dogs is a group developed by the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, the Denver Area Veterinary Medical Society, and five other organizations to “educate dog owners and the general public on how to live safely with dogs and to offer assistance to municipalities that are establishing new or more effective dangerous dog laws.” This study collected dog bite incident data from July 2007 through June 2012.
Colorado Veterinary Medical Association
191 Yuma Street
Denver, CO 80223
DogsBite.org — This 501(c)(3) nonprofit research and education nonprofit organization is “dedicated to conducting research on the growing, but underreported, public safety issue of severe and fatal dog attacks inflicted by well-documented dangerous dog breeds.” You can find statistics, learn more about dangerous dog breeds, and find answers to frequently asked questions.
Find a Dog Bite Lawyer in Denver
Did you suffer catastrophic injuries or was your loved killed because of a dog owner’s negligence? Make sure that you have legal representation before speaking to any insurance company so you will have the best chance at recovering full and fair compensation.
The Law Office of Jennifer L. Donaldson helps dog attack victims throughout the Denver metro area, including surrounding communities such as Boulder, Arvada, Lakewood, Thornton, Littleton, Centennial, Aurora, Longmont, and Westminster.