Anyone from Denver knows how much Coloradans love getting outside with their dogs. From its majestic outdoor scenery, canine-friendly businesses and myriad off-leash parks, Colorado is an ideal place to raise your beloved pet. However, animals can act unexpectedly, and suffering from a dog bite can be a frightening, painful experience. We understand the life-altering impact a vicious dog attack can have on your life, family and earning potential, and we won’t rest until you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
If you or someone you love suffered a traumatic injury caused by a dog in the Denver, Aurora or Cherry Creek area, a dog bite lawyer at Leventhal Sar LLC is ready to help you begin your road to recovery. Contact us today online or at 720.667.3030 to schedule your free consultation.
Colorado Dog Bite Laws
Dog bite cases are complex and require expert legal counsel to successfully prove liability. While most states use either a “negligence” or “strict liability” rule for dog bite cases, Colorado uses a combination of the two.
Colorado’s dog bite statute uses a strict liability rule to hold the dog’s owner liable if a dog bite results in serious bodily injury or death. In order for a strict liability to apply, the bite victim must be lawfully on private property or on public property. This liability is applied even if the owner didn’t know or could not have known that the dog would act aggressively.
“Serious bodily injury” includes any injury that causes:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Second or third degree burns
- A substantial risk of loss or impairment of the function of any part of the body, including organs
- A substantial risk of serious permanent disfigurement
- A substantial risk of death
Strict liability law only applies for injuries caused solely by a dog bite. If a dog causes injury by some other means, such as knocking someone down, the injured person can seek compensation via a negligence-based claim.
Colorado’s negligence rules also apply to cases where an injury is not “serious” or deadly. In negligence dog bite cases, the victim must prove that that the owner failed to adequately control his or her dog, and a dog bite or other attack resulted.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog attacks are common in the United States, and cause an estimated $2 billion in damages every year. At least 61 percent of dog attacks happen in the owner’s home or immediate neighborhood.
Dog attacks can affect people of any age, but unfortunately, the most common injuries are inflicted on children. Canine attacks account for more children’s emergency room visits than any other injury. The overwhelming majority of these tragic child-related injuries involve heads and faces, forever altering the life and self-confidence of a child.
Generally speaking, the most common injuries from dog bites include:
- Puncture wounds
- Nerve damage
- Crush injuries
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional distress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
What Types of Compensation Can I Seek in a Dog Bite Case?
Dog bite injuries can affect every facet of your life. If you were hurt by a canine, our dog bite attorneys want to help you and your family pursue justice and seek the compensation you deserve. We have experience representing clients harmed by dangerous dogs and we are familiar with the far-reaching challenges these attacks can inflict on the lives of the injured and their families.
Beginning with a consultation at our office, or in your hospital room, our Denver dog bite lawyer will evaluate your case and support you during this difficult time while pursuing compensation on your behalf for:
- Medical expenses: These costs can include initial emergency treatment and extended hospital stays, in addition to current and future physical therapy, future care and medications for physical and mental pain.
- Lost wages, employment and earning potential: This includes the loss of a current job or contract, time off work or an inability to adequately perform tasks in the future.
- Pain and suffering: You are entitled to compensation for the pain you are presently experiencing. However, you also have a right to seek compensation for the suffering you initially endured as well as future discomfort and difficulty.
- Specialized care: Some injuries require assistance beyond the walls of the hospital. Home nursing care, as well as necessary assistive equipment is included in these damages.
- Loss of consortium: This particular form of suffering includes the emotionally painful loss of love, companionship, affection and household services.
- Punitive damages: In extreme cases, if it can be proven that an owner “sicked” his dog on you, compensation beyond the standard damages can be awarded. These damages are applied when an attack is caused by an intentional and deliberate act, in order to punish the perpetrator.
What to Do If You’ve Been Attacked By a Dog
- Identify the dog, its owner and the potential insurer. Immediately determine who owns or had custody of the dog when it attacked you. Identify the liability insurance company providing potential coverage. In some cases, your own insurance company may provide coverage for your wounds.
- Seek medical care. Depending on the severity of your injury, call first responders to the scene or arrange to be taken to the emergency room. Even if your injury seems minor, an untreated wound can lead to serious infection or rabies, and possibly lead to amputation.
- Gather evidence. Obtain contact information from any witnesses. Document the dog’s license information and ask about the dog’s history. Has the dog injured anyone in the past or been legally designated as “dangerous” or “potentially dangerous”? Photograph your injuries, including lacerations, bruises any torn, bloody clothing. It’s also a good idea to photograph the location of the attack.
- File a dog bite report. Once you’ve been medically treated for your injury, file a dog bite report with the city or county, even if the injury was minor. This will legally document your case and leave a useful paper trail for the next potential victim of the same dog.
- Contact Leventhal Sar LLC. Call our Denver dog bite lawyers right away. The legal issues surrounding your case are complex and difficult to navigate alone. Your dog bite attorney can best look out for your best interests from this point forward.
- Start a journal. Dog bite claims can take time to resolve. Begin a journal to document your experiences following the attack. Spend a little time each day recording your thoughts and challenges.
- Preserve evidence. Safely preserve photographic evidence, witness information and any other pertinent information that will help your case. It is important to preserve the clothes you were wearing during the attack, including any blood and dirt. Do not wash the clothes; place them in an adequately-sized plastic bag or container.
If the owner of the dog is insured, you might get a call from an insurance company representative. If that happens, ask the insurer for information including:
- The name, address and phone number of the insurance company
- The claim number
- The name of the person insured
While some things are appropriate to discuss with the insurance representative, there are some things you do not want to do:
- Do not allow your conversation to be recorded
- Do not accept any offers
- Do not discuss who is responsible
- Do not write a memo or letter
- Do not schedule an appointment
- Do not discuss injury value, payment terms, settlement or anything involving money
Dog Bite Lawsuit Statute of Limitations
Every state sets a time limit for filing a personal injury case such as a dog bite injury. In Colorado, the statute of limitations requires injured people to file a lawsuit in the state’s civil court system within two years from the date of an injury. If your lawsuit is filed later than the two-year deadline, your case won’t make it to court.
Since missing this state-mandated deadline will cause you to lose the right to obtain court-ordered compensation for your injury, it is crucial to contact our dog bite lawyers as quickly as possible to begin building your case.
Why Choose Leventhal Sar LLC for Your Denver Dog Bite Case
The Denver dog bite attorneys at Leventhal Sar LLC can provide you with the skill, experience and compassionate attention you need. We will aggressively defend your rights and work diligently to ensure you obtain the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.
Contact Experienced Dog Bite Lawyers in Denver
At your initial free consultation, we will listen closely to the details of your situation. If we don’t think you have a good case, we’ll tell you immediately. We work on a contingency basis, which means that we don’t get paid unless you win your case.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a vicious dog in the Denver, Aurora or Cherry Creek areas, contact the skilled dog bite lawyers at Leventhal Sar LLC online or at 720.667.3030 to begin discussing your case. We proudly serve clients in the greater Denver area and throughout Colorado.