In the U.S., 48% of the population owns a dog. For most Americans, dogs really are the best of friends.
Still, while most dogs are friendly, an estimated 337,103 people visit the ER for dog bites every year.
Victims of dog bites often sustain painful injuries. Though the resulting pain and suffering can be hard to quantify, Colorado law allows dog bite victims to seek compensation from dog owners.
Under strict liability law, dog owners are liable even if their dog never previously bit someone or exhibited violent behavior.
In this article, our Boulder, Colorado personal injury lawyers will go over the ins and outs of dog bite settlements. If you have questions, please contact us today.
A Dog Owner’s Legal Responsibility
Dog owners are strictly liable for the harm their dog causes, whether on public or private property.
Under strict liability law, a dog bite victim may file a claim for economic damages if the dog bite results in serious bodily injury or death.
This is true notwithstanding the dog owner’s knowledge, or lack of knowledge, of their dog’s aggression.
A victim may also be able to collect compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering under separate negligence laws.
To do so, a victim must show that the owner knew the dog had dangerous tendencies. Victims must also show that the dog owner failed to take reasonable steps to prevent an attack.
Average Dog Bite Settlement Amounts
In 2015, the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm conducted a study on home insurance claims for dog bite incidents.
The study found that the national average for dog bite settlements was $32,000. However, every dog bite case is different, so dog bite settlement amounts in Boulder vary.
Under strict liability laws, compensation may include money for damages like hospitalization, reconstructive surgeries, medical bills, rehabilitation, psychological counseling costs, and lost income or earning potential.
A victim may also be able to recover non-economic damages like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, grief, sorrow, and emotional distress under separate negligence laws.
However, Colorado law caps non-economic damages, so recovery is limited except for permanent physical impairment.
Overall, factors that influence dog bite lawsuit settlement amounts include:
- The dog owner’s level of fault for the victim’s injuries;
- Any comparative fault on the victim’s part;
- The extent, severity, and permanence of the victim’s injuries;
- The monetary value of medical bills the victim sustained from the injury;
- Income lost from being out of work;
- Out-of-pocket expenses the victim incurred from their wounds; and
- Documentation supporting the scope and severity of the victim’s injuries.
The value of dog bite claims can vary widely based on individual circumstances. When a dog bite results in the loss of life, settlements or judgments are significantly higher.
Whatever level of injury you sustained, a skilled dog bite attorney can work with you to estimate your claim’s value accurately and help you obtain a fair settlement.
The Tenge Law Firm Can Help with Your Dog Bite Settlement in Boulder
The Tenge Law Firm in Colorado is here to help you navigate the legal process. We are a boutique injury litigation firm specializing in serious personal injury and insurance cases.
Our skilled injury attorneys have recovered more than $50 million for clients in the last seven years and will fight to recover all the dog bite damages you suffered.
We provide aggressive, comprehensive representation and are known as one of the finest personal injury firms in Colorado.
Contact us today at 303-529-1328 or contact us online for a free consultation.