Aurora Dog Bite Lawyer
Dogs make great hiking buddies and camping companions, and they also provide excellent security for a home and family. However, even a friendly dog will bite if it feels it needs to protect itself or its owner. Some dogs are aggressive because they have been poorly trained or not trained at all, and sometimes owners are irresponsible in the way they handle their dogs.
The American Veterinary Medicine Association estimates that about five million people are bitten by dogs every year. If someone else’s dog has bitten you or one of your family members, you might be able to get damages for any injuries that resulted with the help of a trusted attorney. The amount of damages that could be available depends on the circumstances, so it makes sense to consult with an Aurora dog bite lawyer before making any decisions about how to proceed.
Severe Injuries Trigger Dog Bite Statute
Colorado statute C.R.S. §13-21-124 makes any dog owner liable for the serious injuries caused by their dog’s bite. Under this statute, a serious injury is one that causes death or a substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement, or loss of function of a body part. The dog owner need not be aware that the dog is aggressive, and the dog need not have bitten someone before.
The law contains several exceptions that protect a dog owner from liability. Certain individuals in the animal care industry may not sue under the statute, including veterinary workers, groomers, animal shelter workers and professional handlers, trainers, and dog show judges. Others will not be able to seek damages for a dog bite injury if:
- There was a sign on the property warning of the dog or forbidding trespassers
- The injured person was trespassing at the time of the attack
- The dog is a working dog and was engaged in hunting, herding, farm or ranch work, predator control, police or military duties when the attack occurred
- The injured person provoked the dog
Damages under the dog bite statute are limited to economic damages, which means compensation for the actual costs associated with the injury. The dog bite statute does not allow victims to seek damages for their pain and suffering or punitive damages.
Proving Dog Owner Negligence
Most dog bite injuries are not severe enough to trigger the dog bite statute, but that does not mean that the victim is without a remedy. Anyone can seek damages for any injury, including dog bites, caused by another’s negligence as long as the person making the claim was less than 50 percent at fault. Damages could include compensation for all their expenses plus an award for their pain and suffering.
The victim must establish that the dog owner had a duty to the injured person and breached that duty. That usually means that the victim must show that the dog owner knew of the animal’s vicious tendencies and failed to protect others from the dog.
However, failing to follow applicable laws is considered “negligence per se” in most Colorado courts, and a seasoned dog bite attorney might use that fact to the victim’s advantage. Aurora has a ban on Pitbulls, so if the dog in question is a Pitbull that might be sufficient to prove owner negligence. Similarly, allowing any dog to run free in violation of the local laws could constitute negligence per se.
Speak with an Aurora Dog Bite Attorney Today
If you have been attacked by a dog, do not try to negotiate with its owner or their insurance company alone. The laws are complex and the remedies available are fact-specific.
It takes an Aurora dog bite lawyer to determine what the best course of action may be, and how much compensation you should reasonably expect. To get an attorney on your side who understands dog bite cases, call the office today for a complimentary consultation.