What is a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
Dog bites - though many are minor - can be dangerous enough to cause serious bodily injury in the case of an aggressive or threatened pet. Whether you are being sued under the Colorado Dog Owner statute - or are looking to bring a civil dog bite lawsuit against another - the need for swift and efficient resolution is of utmost importance.
The Colorado Dog Bite Statute
C.R.S. § 13-21-124 (“Dog Bite Statute”), titled “civil actions against dog owners” is the Colorado law that governs dog bites in the state. Under the Dog Bite Statute, an individual who suffers “serious bodily injury or death” from being bitten by a dog is able to bring a civil action in court to recover economic damages against the dog owner. In addition to physical harm, the harmed individual must have been bit while “lawfully on public or private property.”
Colorado's Dog Bite Statute, however, goes further than other states in establishing that economic damages can be recovered by an injured person “regardless of the viciousness or dangerous propensities of the dog or the dog owner's knowledge or lack of knowledge of the dog's viciousness or dangerous propensities.” In other words, the Dog Bite Statute subjects dog owners to strict liability: if the harm occurs as outlined by law, then the dog owner must be liable for economic damages arising from such harm, regardless of whether the owner had prior knowledge of the dangerous traits of the dog. Because the statute only allows economic damages, damages from subjective harm such as pain and suffering (and other emotional distress) are not recoverable.
What are the Defenses to Dog Bite Lawsuits?
The Dog Bite Statute does, however, account for a few possible defenses that relieve dog owners of economic liability. First, if the dog is working as a “hunting dog, herding dog, farm or ranch dog, or predator control dog on the property of or under the control of the dog's owner,” then the dog owner is not liable for any injury from being bitten. Additionally, the owner is not liable if the injured individual is attacked while:
- Unlawfully on public or private property;
- The property is clearly and conspicuously marked with one or more posted signs stating “no trespassing” or “beware of dog”;
- The dog is being used by a peace officer or military personnel in the performance of peace officer or military personnel duties;
- Knowingly provoking the dog; or
- The individual is a veterinary health-care worker, dog groomer, humane agency staff person, professional dog handler, trainer, or dog show judge acting in the performance of his or her respective duties.
Contact a Lawyer Today to Help You With Dog Bite Litigation
At Volpe Law, our dog bite lawyers prioritize our client's interests and work diligently to resolve any and all situations where dog bites are at issue. Contact us today at 720-441-3328 or complete a Consultation Request Form to request a Free Consultation.
The information contained on this website is provided for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be construed as providing legal advice on any subject matter. Laws frequently change and therefore this content is not necessarily up to date, nor comprehensive. Contact us or another attorney with any legal questions specific to your matter. You may request a consultation by completing our consultation request form.