Coloradoans love their dogs. As a state with outdoor recreation built-in, dogs have become a constant companion to thousands, joining their people on hiking trails, bike paths, and city streets. In Denver alone, there are nearly 30 dog parks where pooches can play off-leash and neighboring cities to the North and South have been listed on various “Most Pet-Friendly Cities in America” lists.
While we love living with and around dogs, that arrangement can spell disaster when an uncontrolled animal attacks. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious dog bite in Denver or surrounding areas, the personal injury attorneys at Leventhal Sar LLC can help. Give us a call at 720.667.3030 to schedule a free consultation and learn more.
Dog Bites in Denver: A Look at the Statistics
According to extensive research done by the Coalition for Living Safely with Dogs, a group comprised of veterinarians, animal-control officers, and other animal-care professionals, less than 1% of dogs in Colorado bite humans. Over the course of a five-year study, during which 22 Colorado animal control agencies contributed data, approximately 2,300 bite incidents were reported annually. During the course of this study, only .06% of dog bites reported by participating agencies were maulings. Only one dog bite during the study proved fatal.
While extremely rare, serious injury from dog bites in Denver does occur – and victims of these attacks are often left disfigured and traumatized. However, because many dog bites are suffered from animals the victim knows, perhaps even animals owned by friends or neighbors, taking legal action may seem uncomfortable. Our Denver dog bite attorneys understand the hesitation that can accompany filing suit after an attack. We also understand that without legal action, you will likely never receive the compensation you need to fully recover from your injuries.
Denver Dog Bite Statutes
In Denver and throughout Colorado, dog bites fall under “strict liability.” This means that dog bite victims do not need to prove that a dog was known to be vicious in order to seek damages. However, if a dog is known to be vicious, an attack may fall under the “one bite rule,” which we will cover in more detail below.
Strict liability for dog bites offers victims of these attacks a more direct way to seek compensation for economic damages. Unfortunately, the level of injury required by Colorado dog bite statute to seek compensation is prohibitive. According to Colorado dog bite statute, strict liability applies only to "bodily injury which involves a substantial risk of death, a substantial risk of serious permanent disfigurement, a substantial risk of protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part or organ of the body, or breaks, fractures, or burns of the second or third degree." Clearly, not all serious dog bites are extreme enough to bring the victim close to death or to cause permanent damage. Does this mean that these victims are not deserving of compensation? Not at all.
Regardless of the severity of your injuries, if you have been bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other economic damages. The best way to learn about the damages you may be able to seek is through a one-on-one consultation with the dog bite lawyers at Leventhal Sar LLC. Use the contact form on this page or give our Denver office a call today to schedule your free consultation and learn more.
The One Bite Rule
Under strict liability, victims of dog bites in Colorado are entitled to economic damages, but not damages for pain and suffering, trauma, and emotional duress. With a lawsuit, you can seek compensation for these noneconomic damages, but they may prove difficult to secure in cases where an animal was not known to be dangerous. In cases where the animal was a known danger, however, things can look very different.
Under the one bite rule, if it can be established that an owner or handler had previous knowledge of a dog’s propensity for aggressive behavior, they can be held liable for noneconomic damages. Knowledge of a dog’s inclination towards violence is often based on previous attacks on humans or animals. Proving that an owner or handler possessed this knowledge is, however, difficult. This is just one more reason you will need an experienced attorney on your side as soon as you are injured by a dog. Leventhal Sar, LLC can investigate all aspects of your attack to build a solid case and work towards helping you secure the full compensation you are due.
It is important to remember that under both the one bite rule and strict liability, it may be impossible to recover damages if it can be established that you were trespassing, intentionally provoking a dog, or ignoring a “Beware of Dog” sign. People who work in dog-related industries are also barred from seeking compensation due to the inherent risk involved in their professions. If you are uncertain about your right to file suit, call us at 720.667.3030 to schedule your free consultation and learn more.
Who can be Held Liable?
In Colorado, dog owners can be held liable for dog bite injuries. Under strict liability, only an owner can be held accountable for his or her dog’s behavior. Exempt under this statute are dog walkers, handlers, and others who may come into contact with the animal but who are not responsible for its primary care.
With the one bite rule, a handler may be held accountable, though these claims are still most often filed against a dog’s owner. Under certain circumstances, a landlord or property manager may be liable for damages related to dog bites as well.
You have two years to file suit following a dog bite. This means you have two years to get in touch with our Denver personal injury lawyers so that we can investigate your claim and identify all liable parties. We encourage you to act sooner rather than later to improve your chances of securing the total compensation you deserve.
We are Here to Help
The dog bite attorneys at Leventhal Sar LLC are here to help you get fair compensation for your injuries. We have the tenacity, resources, and experience needed to assist victims of dog attacks in their pursuit of justice. We are prepared to get to work on your case right away and to do everything possible to secure for you fair and full compensation.
To schedule a free consultation at our Denver, Colorado office, call 720.667.3030 today. Our attorneys serve victims of dog bites throughout Metro Denver and along the Front Range.