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Written by: J. Todd Tenge

Proving Liability For Dog Bite Compensation in Colorado

| Read Time: 4 minutes
dog bite compensation

Dog bite attacks are unforgettable and traumatizing and happen more often than we know. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported over 4.5 million people bitten by dogs in 2022 alone.

Many of us may take for granted the friendly dogs we’ve interacted with over the years and may not recognize their ability to bite you.

While a few breeds of dogs tend to be more aggressive than others, the reality is any dog can bite and attack when you least expect it.

Suffering injuries due to a dog bite often leads to lasting physical injuries and emotional trauma—especially in children.

Dog bite cases represent a complex area of the law and require a dog bite injury lawyer to ensure you receive the compensation you and your family need and deserve.

Read on to learn more about Colorado dog bite compensation and how liability is determined in these cases. If you have questions, or would like to speak to a member of our team, please contact us today.

What Can I Recover After a Dog Bite? 

After surviving a dog bite, compensation for your injuries can be at the forefront of your mind. Many who have endured such a traumatic experience are curious about dog bite injury compensation amounts.

Since the circumstances of each case vary, there is no average settlement value for dog bites. 

Your dog bite injury lawyer may instead review with you the potential damages you are eligible to recover. Determining an average value for your case is easier after calculating your compensatory damages.

Colorado breaks compensatory damages down in personal injury cases into economic and noneconomic damages. 

Economic damages represent calculable losses stemming directly from the dog bite. Examples of economic damages include the following: 

  • Medical expenses, 
  • Lost wages, 
  • Loss of future earnings, and
  • Property damage. 

Receipts, invoices, pay stubs, and other similar documentation assist your attorney in calculating an accurate value for these damages. 

Noneconomic damages include intangible losses, usually resulting from your injuries’ psychological and emotional effects. Examples of noneconomic damages include the following: 

  • Pain and suffering,
  • Emotional distress, 
  • Loss of consortium,
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, 
  • Permanent injury or disability, and
  • Disfigurement.

These effects and injuries may be invisible to an outsider, but negatively affect a victim’s quality of life. Despite the challenge of calculating and proving these losses, noneconomic damages should not be overlooked.

Many victims find that recovering compensation for these subjective losses helps them adapt to their new way of life after an accident. 

How is Dog Bite Liability Determined? 

Colorado’s dog bite law operates under a theory of strict liability for dog owners in certain circumstances.

The dog owner is liable if a person suffers severe injuries or death due to a dog bite while legally on public or private property. There is no requirement to prove that a dog owner knew their pet tended to bite or be aggressive. 

There are situations where a dog owner may not be liable after a dog bite attack. For example, if a person suffers injuries after illegally trespassing on public or private property or disregarding warning signs of a dangerous dog.

Other circumstances where a dog owner may not be liable include the following: 

  • Where the victim provoked an animal;
  • Where the animal was aiding military or law enforcement personnel;
  • Where the victim was a professional dog handler, groomer, or veterinarian, and the bite occurred in the scope of their regular duties; or
  • The dog bite occurred when the dog was on their owner’s property and performing herding, farming, or other similar activity. 

A dog owner may try to escape liability by claiming any of the above exceptions. It’s vital to have an experienced dog bite injury lawyer protecting your interests to ensure that the pet owner is held responsible for your harm. 

Can I Still Recover If I Didn’t Suffer Serious Bodily Injury? 

Victims may wonder how their dog bite injury compensation amounts are affected if they were bitten but did not suffer serious bodily injury.

Even non-serious dog bites can be traumatic, and a victim may be eager to recover damages for their harm.

Unfortunately, Colorado’s strict liability law only applies to dog bites resulting in serious bodily injury or death.

There is, however, a way for victims to recover compensation under the theory of premises liability. Under premises liability, liability is usually determined by proving that the dog owner was negligent in controlling their dog.

Their negligence must have created an opportunity for the dog to attack. In these cases, it may be helpful for your Colorado dog bite injury attorney to investigate whether the owner knew their dog was vicious or aggressive and had a tendency to bite or attack others.

Dog bite liability in these cases depends significantly on the specific facts and circumstances of the event. 

What Should I Do If a Dog Bites Me? 

Your first step after a dog bite attack is to seek medical attention. If a dog bite has broken the skin, it’s crucial to obtain antibiotics and other medication to avoid an infection.

If the dog is unknown to you, a doctor may recommend other preventative treatments, including the rabies vaccine. 

Your next step is to file a police report. A reporting police officer will create a record of the events in their official capacity. This unbiased report is helpful for your attorney and documents your version of events and any witness statements.

Your last step is to contact a Colorado dog bite injury attorney. It’s vital to speak to one as soon as possible.

Your attorney immediately begins investigating the facts of your case and determines the best course of action to get you the compensation you need. 

Contact a Denver Dog Bite Lawyer Today

At the Tenge Law Firm, we understand that people come to us when they’ve experienced something terrible.

At our firm, we feel a profound responsibility to provide superior legal representation and ensure our client’s physical and emotional well-being throughout their case.

We work hard to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients as soon as possible. We know that you may be hurting financially and emotionally, so reaching a favorable result in your case is our top priority.

Because each case and each client are different, we work directly with clients to meet their needs. Our past successes have earned us an impeccable reputation in our community and many satisfied clients.

Contact our office today by phone or email to learn how the Tenge Law Firm can help you!

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