Mintz Law Firm
Denver Dog Bite Lawyers
Dogs are widely considered loveable and endearing pets, but they can also inflict a great deal of physical harm, stress, and emotional damage if they attack. The CDC reports that 2% of the U.S. population—or 4.7 million people—is bitten by dogs each year, even when the dog previously showed no signs of aggression. Fortunately, victims of dog bites are entitled to medical and financial compensation for their injuries and may even be able to seek punitive measures against the dog owner. Colorado law protects victims by requiring dog owners to take responsibility for any injuries inflicted upon others by their animals. The owners must cover all financial damages—medical and otherwise—for an attack that causes serious bodily injury. If you or someone close to you has been bitten by a dog in Denver, our experienced personal injury lawyers can help you pursue compensation for your losses. Let us help you heal by getting your case started today.
The History of Colorado’s Dog Bite Laws
It wasn’t long ago that fighting for justice in a dog bite case was difficult. As recently as 2003, dog bite injury victims were required to prove that the dog owner had prior knowledge of the dog’s dangerous behaviors and aggressive tendencies before the incident. This required extensive research into the dog’s past, which often included talking with neighbors, obtaining information from the animal control office in the appropriate jurisdiction, and consulting the canine’s veterinarian.
In 2004, however, Colorado laws regarding dog bite claims changed. Today, victims may immediately pursue justice against a dog owner anytime the dog causes serious bodily injury, regardless of whether the owner had any knowledge of prior incidents or aggressive tendencies. This makes the personal injury process much easier for victims to receive the care and compensation they deserve.
Understanding Colorado’s Current Dog Bite Laws
Colorado’s dog bite statute—C.R.S 13-21-124—states that an individual can be held liable if their dog bites someone who was lawfully on public or private property and if that bite caused serious bodily injury or death.
The statute defines bodily injury as, “any physical injury that results in severe bruising, muscle tears or skin lacerations requiring professional medical treatment or any physical injury that requires corrective or cosmetic surgery.” A serious bodily injury is defined as “an injury that involves a substantial risk of death, serious permanent disfigurement, loss or impairment of a bodily function or organ, or a break, fracture, or second- or third-degree burn.”
Colorado has a statute of limitations that sets a time limit on filing a personal injury case. In the case of a dog bite, Colorado gives injured people two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit in the state’s civil court system. If the lawsuit is filed after this two-year deadline has expired, the court may throw out the case without hearing it.
Liability for Dog Bites in Denver
Determining liability after a dog bite can be complex in some instances, though the dog’s owner will most often be responsible for any losses and injuries. If the animal doesn’t have a direct owner, whoever is legally considered accountable for its care, its last owner, or a sitter may be liable for damages.
In certain circumstances, more than one party may be liable. Other individuals could also be responsible for your losses. For assistance determining who is accountable for your damages and injuries, we suggest you work with a dog bite lawyer. Your attorney can help narrow the potential list of liable parties, collect evidence, and assist you in holding each party accountable for their actions.
The Most Common Injuries That Stem from Dog Bites in Colorado
Each year, thousands of Colorado residents are injured because of the negligence of dog owners. Dog bites can take several different forms and lead to a range of injuries. If you were attacked by a dog, you must know what kind of dog bite injuries you sustained. Here’s a look at some of the most common injuries that stem from dog bites:
- Puncture wounds: A puncture wound might not look as dramatic as some other dog bite injuries, but the complications can be life-threatening and can lead to serious nerve damage and infections.
- Infections: Because dog bites and scratches involve dog teeth and paws that are often covered in soil, waste, bacteria, and other unclean materials, there’s a high chance of infection.
- Scars and disfigurements: Even though most dog bites will heal, some could leave the victim with permanent facial or body scarring.
- Nerve damage: If the bite extends into the nerves, you may experience nerve damage.
- Rabies: Rabies is a viral infection that affects the central nervous system that’s typically transmitted through the saliva of an infected host.
- Wrongful death: Even the most well-trained dogs can become aggressive. Whether the incident was provoked or the victim did nothing at all, Colorado residents must get the help that they need after losing a loved one to a fatal dog attack.
Even the gentlest dogs can bite if they’re harmed, frightened, or overexcited. Likewise, no matter the size or breed of the dog, a bite from any animal can cause open wounds on the skin, leading to a risk of infection. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, visit a medical professional as soon as possible after the injury.
Dog Bites Are Common with Children
Victims of dog bite injuries are often children who play and move erratically around dogs. Children may misinterpret a dog’s behavior as playful when, in fact, an attack is imminent. When a dog bite does occur, small children are prone to serious physical damage and emotional scarring. Dog bites are the second leading cause of visits to the emergency room for children.
While it’s important to educate children to approach strange dogs with caution and provide supervision when children and dogs are interacting, dog owners should still be held responsible for any physical or mental harm. When injuries of any kind are sustained—whether the victim is a child or not—get in touch with legal experts who can help. Our experienced dog bite lawyers in Denver may be able to prove that the dog owner was primarily responsible for any damage sustained.
What Steps Should You Take After a Dog Bite Injury?
Following an incident with a dog bite or another animal attack, you may have questions about what steps to take next or what strategies you can utilize. The following recommendations could be invaluable while you navigate the court system:
- Seek medical attention: Your or your child’s health is the most important priority after a dog bite, and it’s best to visit a provider as soon as possible. Your doctor can help you identify any issues, find latent injuries, recommend treatment plans, and much more.
- Follow your doctor’s treatment plan: When your doctor recommends a particular treatment, try to follow their directions as well as possible.
- Organize documents: If you have any records or evidence on hand, we recommend organizing these pieces and keeping them safe. They may be helpful during your legal matters and can doctor’s notes, medical bills, and other related documents.
- Speak with a lawyer: One of the most important ways to protect yourself during legal matters is to retain assistance from a lawyer. Your Denver dog bite lawyer will have access to helpful information, valuable knowledge and experience, and many other useful tools and resources.
Your lawyer will also need sufficient time to dedicate to your case, as this will allow them to adequately prepare any arguments, gain a deeper understanding of your case, and collect and analyze evidence related to your circumstances.
Contact the Expert Denver Dog Bite Attorneys at Mintz Law Firm
Dog and animal bites are a major problem in the State of Colorado and throughout the rest of the country. More than 800,000 Americans get medical treatment for dog bites every year, and one in five dog bite incidents require medical attention to prevent dangerous infections for the victim. Fortunately, dog bite victims may be able to seek compensation for their medical bills and other accident-related expenses with the help of the trusted dog bite attorneys at Mintz Law Firm
With over 150 years of combined experience, the personal injury attorneys at Mintz Law Firm understand the ins and outs of Colorado personal injury law and will help you achieve the best results possible based on the circumstances of your injury. Our team of lawyers has the compassion to empathize with those suffering from harm done by others and will work tirelessly to protect your rights. For a free consultation, give us a call at (303) 462-2999 or complete our online contact form today.