Denver, Colorado Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
Many families in Denver have dogs as beloved family members or working dogs on ranches and farms. But vicious dogs are a public menace. Irresponsible dog owners who fail to control dangerous dogs should be held accountable when the animals bite or attack people without provocation. Each year, more than 885,000 Americans sustain dog bites serious enough to require medical attention. Young children account for half of all dog bite victims. The owner of a dog that bites any one lawfully visiting the property of the dog owner or in a public place may be held legally liable for dog bite injuries. Contact our Denver dog bite injury lawyers today.
Denver dog bite attorney Michael Sawaya and the legal team at The Sawaya Law Firm are committed to helping Coloradans injured by dangerous dogs. Our committed advocacy on behalf of thousands of clients and the 12 core values on which The Sawaya Law Firm was founded 40 years ago have shaped our success. Many of our personal injury attorneys including our founding attorney have been recognized by Colorado Super Lawyers®.
We have helped many Coloradans rebuild their lives after serious injuries. The law is clear: if you have sustained a serious dog bite injury from a dangerous dog, you may have legal options to seek compensation. Call 720-709-2855 for a free consultation with a Denver dog bite lawyer. Our dog bite injury attorneys at The Sawaya Law Firm represent clients in Denver, Greeley and throughout Northeastern Colorado.
Colorado Dog Bite Law
Colorado dog bite law makes the owner of a dog strictly liable for dog bites if the victim suffers serious bodily injury or death while the person was legally on the public or private property. Strict liability means that the bite victim is not required to show that the dog owner knew the dog had a tendency to bite or act viciously. In Colorado, dog owners may be held liable for serious bodily injuries or fatal injuries whether or not the dog owner was aware of the dog’s propensity to bite, according to the Animal Legal and Historical Center.
The dog owner may be liable, as long as the victim was legally allowed on the property and did not provoke the dog attack.
Dog bite victims may recover compensation for economic damages such as emergency medical bills, reconstructive surgery, rehabilitation and lost income by filing a dog bite injury lawsuit against the dog owner. However, the Colorado law does not allow the victim to recover damages for pain and suffering.
The Colorado dog bite statute says that a dog owner is not liable when the victim is illegally trespassing on public or private property, or disregarding clear warnings on the dog’s owner’s property such as signs indicating “Beware of Dog” or “No Trespassing.”
How Does Colorado Law Define Serious Bodily Injury in Dog Bites?
A serious bodily injury includes injuries that cause a substantial risk of death, a substantial risk of permanent scarring and disfigurement, a substantial risk of permanent loss or impairment of any body part or organ as well as bone fractures and breaks.
Children represent more than half of victims of dog bites and attacks. Young children are attracted to animals and may not yet have the capacity to recognize an agitated dog or a dog that feels threatened. A study by medical researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine found that unsupervised children are at greatest risk of dog bites, and the attacks can be devastating because a small child’s face is within reach of an animal’s mouth.
Young children often sustain serious bites wounds that may cause facial scarring or disfigurement. Some wounds are so severe that they require multiple plastic and reconstructive surgeries. In the worst cases, a mauling by a dangerous dog may cause a child’s death.
Do I Still Have an Injury Claim if I Suffered a Dog Bite That Did Not Cause Serious Bodily Injury?
Yes, you may in some cases. You may have some other options for seeking compensation for your dog bite injuries if they do not meet the legal definition of serious bodily injuries. You may be able to file a dog bite injury lawsuit based on the dog owner’s negligence.
Denver, CO Dog Bite Property Laws
Homeowners and property owners in Denver have a duty to take reasonable steps to make their property safe to protect visitors from injuries on their property. Dog bites and other injuries related to dogs represent more than a third of all homeowners’ insurance claims paid out in 2016, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
A dog bite victim may be entitled to file a negligence-based claim against a dog owner, asserting that the property owner failed to use reasonable care to manage or restrain the dog from attacking. In these types of cases, a dog bite attorney at The Sawaya Law Firm seeks evidence that the dog had a history of biting people and the owner was aware that the dog was dangerous, showing negligence on the owner’s part in controlling the animal.
If the dog has bitten someone else and that individual required medical treatment, the doctor who administered the care was required to report the attack to the Colorado Board of Health. We may find a record of that previous animal bite.
Denver Dangerous Dog Ordinance
The city of Denver defines a dangerous dog as any dog with a known propensity to attack without provocation or endanger the safety of people or livestock.
The ordinance requires a dog owner to keep a dangerous dog confined in a secure enclosure and keep the dog muzzled and on a leash if taken out of the enclosure.
Pit bull breeds including American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers used to be banned under local Denver ordinances. However, voters overturned the ban in 2020.
Can a Landlord Be Liable if His Dog Attacked Me in Colorado?
Yes, a landlord may be liable for your dog bite injuries if you were lawfully on the property and did not provoke the attack. It is important to have an attorney who understands the Colorado dog bite law to analyze the specific facts surrounding your dog attack injury and discuss whether a claim is in order.
Do Colorado Dog Owners Have Defenses Against Dog Bite Claims?
A dog owner may not be liable if the bite victim obviously provoked the dog and contributed to the injury. A dog owner may claim the victim brought on the attack by taunting or teasing a dog.
A dog owner may argue that the person injured was unlawfully trespassing on the property, or ignored warning signs, and therefore the owner did not owe a duty of care to the trespasser.
The dog owner may not be strictly liable in situations when the dog is working as a farm or ranch dog, herding dog or hunting dog on the owner’s property.
The dog owner is not strictly liable when the dog is performing police work or military duties.
The dog owner is not liable if the person injured is a veterinary worker, dog groomer or dog trainer bitten in the course of carrying out their duties.
How We Can Help You After A Dog Bite in Denver?
Injured woman talking to a Denver dog bite attorney about her case.A knowledgeable Denver dog bite injury attorney at The Sawaya Law Firm will review the details of your injuries from a dog attack and discuss your legal options free of charge.
If we represent you, we will put our attorneys, investigators and medical experts to work to understand how the dog attack occurred and the extent of your injuries.
We will submit a dog injury claim to the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurer or commercial insurer and negotiate for maximum compensation for your injuries
Our attorneys will handle your dog bite claim on a contingent fee basis. You will only pay a lawyer’s fee if we obtain money for you through an insurance settlement or jury award. Call us today to learn how we may help you and your family.
We are proud of our law firm’s heritage of seeking justice for Coloradans who have been injured through the fault of others. Our attorneys handle dog bite claims in Denver, Colorado Springs and throughout Colorado.
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Colorado?
Colorado law allows dog bite victims two years to file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation from the owner of a dangerous dog. If you wait too long to pursue legal action and miss the two-year deadline, the court may dismiss your dog bite claim without considering it. The two-year statute of limitations on filing dog bite lawsuits makes it important to contact a Denver dog injury attorney right away to start investigating the attack.
Personal Injury Due To Animal Bites
Many people are bitten by animals every year. These injuries may be serious; aside from pain, they can cause physical and emotional suffering, infection, other medical complications sometimes even death. The most common types of bites that we hear about are dog bites. Due to an increasing number of reported bite victims and the public’s response, most states now have dog bite statutes that hold the owner responsible if their pet injures someone else. Aside from dogs, these statutes may cover bites from wild animals kept as pets and animals in government parks, such as zoos. The applicable laws and possible claims may vary from state to state, so it is important to discuss your situation with a knowledgeable animal bite injury attorney to learn more about the legal options in your area.
Common Types of Animal Bites
The majority of states have dog bite statutes. In these states, an owner is liable for damages caused by their domestic pet in public places and on their own property. In some jurisdictions, the pet owner may have a defense to liability if the victim was on their property illegally. In states that do not have such a statute, the animal owners may be held liable if they knew their pet could be dangerous to others. This would apply for states without dog bite statutes, or laws regarding other domestic pets. Knowledge that the pet could be dangerous does not mean that the animal must have attacked someone, but that the owners should have known that, based on past behavior, there was a strong likelihood that their pet could harm someone. Evidence of past behaviors can range from previous attacks on people to evidence that the owner muzzled the animal (and therefore knew of the possible danger).
Wild Animals Kept as Pets
People who keep wild animals as pets do so at their own risk. Unlike domestic animals, wild animals are regarded as unsafe and unpredictable. For this reason, in most jurisdictions, the wild animal’s owners are held liable for any injuries caused by the animal. It does not matter if the animal has never attacked a person before, shown any aggression towards people or if the animal’s owners have taken all possible precautions. A wild animal is not considered safe in the eyes of the law. In contrast, a minority of jurisdictions will not hold the owner liable simply because they keep a wild animal. In these states, the injured person must be able to provide the court evidence that the owner had previous knowledge of the animal’s danger to others and, therefore, was negligent in keeping the animal as a pet.
Even though animals kept at a zoo are wild animals, most jurisdictions do not hold the zoo owners liable for injuries, simply because the animals are wild. Usually the injured person must show that the owners were negligent in some way and that their negligence created the situation that caused the injury.
Defenses by the Responsible Parties
Parties held responsible in an animal bite case may vary, depending on the circumstances. The person or persons held liable may be the animal’s owner or caretaker, the landlord of the premises on which the animal was kept, or the government. To determine who is responsible the court may look at a variety of factors, including who owned the animal, who had control over the animal at the time of the incident and who had knowledge of the animal’s potential danger. Even though the possible defendants may differ, there are several common defenses to an animal bite claim. Perhaps the victim’s injury was his or her own fault the injured party knew of the risks, acted unreasonably or aggravated the animal to attack or perhaps the victim was trespassing at the time of the injury. The defenses used will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding the incident, the responsible parties and the jurisdiction in which the claim takes place.
Dog Bite Injury Compensation
The amount and type of compensation you may be awarded by the court is based on the specific circumstances surrounding your injury and the jurisdiction that you are in. Some common damages that may be awarded in animal bite cases are medical costs incurred by the injured party, future medical treatment, lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain and suffering and any other damages resulting from the incident. The types of possible damages are dependent on the facts of your case. It is important to speak to an attorney in your area to discuss the facts of your personal injury case, your legal options and to answer any questions you may have.
Preparing to Meet With Your Denver Dog Bite Injury Attorney
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Contact Our Dog Bite Injury Lawyers in Denver Today
The dog bite injury attorneys and staff at The Sawaya Law Firm take our Heritage of Justice seriously. We take great pride in helping injured people recover their lives as well as recover from their injuries.
The Sawaya Law Firm offers personal assistance throughout Colorado, including Denver, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs.