Colorado laws seek to balance the rights of dog owners with their responsibilities to make sure their dogs are not a danger to the public. If you, your child, or a loved one was bitten by a dog, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries and other damages.
It may be important to talk to a Westminster dog bite lawyer as soon as possible, so that they may examine every aspect of your case and lend you favorable legal options going forward. A seasoned personal injury lawyer could help you prove that the dog owner is liable and help you pursue a fair compensation for your losses.
Dog Bite Damages
Individuals suffering from dog bites could be awarded reimbursement for economic damages such as medical bills, surgery, rehabilitation, skin grafts, pain medication, lost wages, and other costs. Injured individuals may also be awarded compensation for nonmonetary damages, such as for pain and suffering or emotional trauma if they are able to prove that the owner should have known the dog had a tendency to bite.
If the dog owner acted especially egregiously, such as by abusing the dog or forcing it to fight, the individual might even be eligible for punitive damages aimed at punishing the owner and discouraging similar conduct by other dog owners. These damages may be subject to certain limits.
A Westminister dog bite lawyer who understands the nuances of dog bite laws could help individuals determine which damages they may be eligible to receive.
Laws About Wrongful Pet Ownership
Under a state law called the strict liability rule, a dog owner could be automatically liable if their dog bites an individual and causes serious bodily injury. For less serious dog bite injuries, the state applies the one-bite rule. Under this law, owners may be liable if their dog has bitten once previously, even if it did not cause a serious injury and the owner did not otherwise act negligently by, for example, letting the dog run loose.
Dog owners are also more likely to be held liable for dog bites if they violated animal control or animal cruelty laws. In some instances, landlords or premises owners might be held liable for a dog bite if they knew the dog residing on their property had a tendency to bite and agreed to allow the dog anyways. For more information about the pet laws, consult with a dog bite attorney in Westminster.
Serious Bodily Injury in Animal Cases
Some dog bite cases may be determined based on whether a dog caused serious bodily injury. Under the Colorado dog bite statute, a serious bodily injury is defined as an injury with a substantial risk of:
- Permanent disfigurement
- Loss of limbs or body parts
- Long-term impairment or loss of function of an organ or body part
- Breaks, fractures, tears, and second- or third-degree burns
Exceptions and Defenses
There are several factors that could cause a court to rule in favor of the defendant dog owner, and courts in Westminster consider the specific circumstances involved. For instance, if the victim trespassed on the dog owner’s property or provoked the dog to bite, the court could find that the dog owner is not liable for the injuries to the victim, especially if the victim knew the dog was dangerous.
On the other hand, if the trespasser did not know the dog might bite, or the trespasser is a child under a certain age, the court might still find the dog owner responsible, even if the individual provoked the dog.
Consult with a Westminster Dog Bite Attorney
Whatever the circumstances that led to your dog bite, a Westminister dog bite lawyer could fight to hold the negligent pet owner responsible and help you obtain the compensation you need. You may be able to receive damages to cover your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost time from work, and more. Consult with an attorney today to review your legal rights and options.