When a Dog Causes Serious Harm to You or Your Child
Going pet-friendly is an increasingly popular trend among coffee shops, breweries, and home improvement stores. After all, most pet owners consider their dog a part of the family and want to include it in family outings. However, mixing dogs with strangers in unfamiliar settings can produce dangerous results.
When a dog bites you or your child, you should hold that dog’s owner responsible. The two most important things to consider are whether the owner was aware the dog possessed aggressive tendencies, and what your rights are in seeking compensation for the injury. For immediate answers to these and other questions, you should contact an experienced Boulder dog bite lawyer at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, today.
Colorado Dog Bite Laws
Under Colorado law, dog owners are strictly liable for injuries that their dogs cause, whether on public or private property. This rule applies regardless of the dog owner’s knowledge, or lack of knowledge, about a dog’s aggression or tendency to cause harm. Under the state’s rules, a victim filing a personal injury claim is only entitled to seek economic damages; noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, are not covered when dog owners are strictly liable.
Under Colorado law, you can file a civil case for economic damages if the dog bite results in serious bodily injury or death. Colorado Revised Statute 13-21-124 considers “serious bodily injury” as a wound that has a high risk of causing death, long-lasting disfigurement, or impairment of any part or organ of the body. However, if you’re a victim of a dog bite and your damage doesn’t qualify as serious bodily injury, you haven’t lost the opportunity to seek damages. You may be able to pursue your case through Colorado’s negligence laws.
Colorado’s negligence laws can apply to a variety of cases, including ones that involve an injury from a dog that was not bite-related. For example, if you sustained a broken bone from a dog knocking you down, that would qualify under Colorado’s negligence laws.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding an incident, your case may also involve aspects of premises liability law. With more retail stores, restaurants, and hotels becoming pet-friendly, the likelihood of encountering an unfriendly dog increases, as does the risk of injury. When these establishments—or even friends or neighbors—invite you onto their property, they are promising that their property is safe, and they may be liable for any injuries that you sustain while on their property. A property owner owes a duty of care to all invitees to protect them from potential injury by warning guests about or securing all dogs.
If you’ve encountered an unfriendly dog who bit you while dining at an outdoor cafe, a neighborhood cookout, or at a friend’s house, contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, as soon as possible to discuss your potential claim.
Dangerous Dog Laws
Colorado is one of 39 states with dangerous dog laws, and their owners must abide by certain rules.
These conditions may include the following:
- Getting a microchip implanted in the dog, and paying a microchip licensing fee.
- Confining the dog to an enclosed area.
- Immediately reporting any changes in the dog’s situation.
- Notifying any provider of treatment or service, such as a veterinarian or groomer, in writing, that the dog is subject to the state’s dangerous dog law.
- Disclosing in writing to any future owners that the dog is subject to the state’s dangerous dog law.
Colorado is one of only four states that uses criminal proceedings to declare a dog dangerous, and one of only three states that defines harboring, maintaining, and/or owning a dangerous dog as a crime. The experienced Boulder injury lawyers of the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, can often demonstrate that a dog owner knew long before the current incident that the dog was capable of potentially causing harm. Potentially dangerous actions include:
- Fighting with other dogs
- Jumping on people
- Excessive barking and growling at strangers
- Previous attacks and complaints
Dog bite cases can be complex, and require the experience and knowledge of a personal injury attorney. At the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, our lawyers work hard to prove liability, and we are diligent in our pursuit of fair compensation for our clients. If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, we are not afraid to take a case to trial.
Dog Bites Are a Serious Problem
Millions of victims suffer dog bites each year. The pressure exerted by a dog’s jaws can cause serious damage to muscle tissue, nerves, blood vessels, tendons, and even bones. Some of the most common injuries you can sustain from a dog bite include:
- Nerve damage
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Broken bones
The recovery from a dog bite can be extensive due to the risk of infection and the possible need for reconstructive surgery. When a dog bite leads to the death of the victim, the dog’s owner could face serious criminal charges. If the owner was aware of the dog’s viciousness prior to the death, they could be charged with involuntary manslaughter or even second-degree murder. Sometimes, even the most well-behaved dogs may be provoked into attacking a victim. In other cases, the owner has trained a dog to act aggressively towards other people. With cases like these, the owner is far more likely to face murder charges than if their dog had a history of being well-behaved.
Kids aged 5 to 9 years old experience the highest percentage of dog bites. If you or your child has suffered a dog bite, seek medical attention immediately, and then contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, to discuss your options. Be sure to ask the dog’s owner about the dog’s rabies immunization status. If you find the owner to be uncooperative, ask animal control or law enforcement to help you obtain the requested information.
Speak with a Boulder Dog Bite Lawyer
Dogs can make wonderful pets, but not all dogs do well interacting with strangers. The growing trend among businesses to go “pet-friendly” is also increasing the risk of dog-human interactions at these types of establishments. The experienced attorneys of the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, understand how to navigate Colorado’s complex legal system. It is this experience, coupled with our commitment to our clients, that has contributed to our past success.
Contact us today at (303) 665-2929 to schedule a free consultation and discuss the validity of your claim. You are not required to hire us following your consultation, and should we decide to pursue litigation on your behalf, you will only be required to pay attorney’s fees if we are successful.
The Tenge Law Firm, LLC, has offices in Boulder, Denver, and Fort Collins. Make sure to contact us immediately following your accident, as Colorado imposes a statute of limitations on these types of cases. We will act swiftly and firmly to secure the best possible outcome for you.