Colorado Dog Bite Laws
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of George E. McLaughlin with McLaughlin Law Firm.
It is important to exercise caution whenever you find yourself around a dog you have not met before, or in a situation in which you have not been around the dog before. Failing to do so could result in dog bite injuries for which the owner of the dog may be considered liable. If you or a loved one were injured by an aggressive dog, reach out to a dog bite attorney to learn more about your options for physical and financial recovery.
When an aggressive dog causes serious bodily harm, Colorado imposes “strict liability”.
Although the laws regarding dog bite cases vary from state to state, in Colorado the court often decides by strict liability. In cases of strict liability, it is not necessary to prove that the dog’s owner was aware or should reasonably have been aware of the dangers their pet presented. Under strict liability, even if the animal’s owner did everything they could to prevent the bite from occurring, they are still considered liable in most cases of serious injury.
However, if the injury was not severe, the “One Bite Rule” may apply.
This rule allows for more understanding on the part of the dog owner. If the injury which the dog caused was of a less serious nature, the dog owner may or may not be considered liable. In order to prove that a dog’s owner should be held liable for relatively minor injuries caused by their pet, the injured party must first prove that the dog has bitten at least once before, or that the owner was aware or should reasonably have been aware that the dog was potentially aggressive. If these factors cannot be proven, the dog’s owner may not be considered liable.
Under Colorado law, additional situations in which a dog-bite victim may not be eligible to seek compensation include the following:
- The dog-bite victim was trespassing at the time of the attack
- The victim was antagonizing or provoking the dog
- The victim was performing a requested service, such as grooming or veterinary care
- The victim was judging a dog show
- The dog was conducting military or police work at the time of the bite
- The dog was working as a farm, ranch, hunting, herding, or predator control dog on the owner’s property
In Colorado, the statute of limitations for dog bite cases is two years.
A statute of limitations is considered the window of time immediately after an injury during which the injured party can seek legal compensation. If this statute of limitation ends before the claim was filed, the injured party forfeits their right to seek legal compensation for damages such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. This means that in the case of a dog bite or other personal injury case, it is a good idea to seek legal counsel and consider filing a claim sooner rather than later. Waiting to file could result in the victim becoming ineligible for compensation.
Immediately after sustaining a dog bite injury, it is important to do the following:
- Call 9-1-1 if the injury is potentially life-threatening.
- Seek medical care.
- Take pictures of the injury.
- Take thorough pictures of the scene where the attack occurred.
- Talk to a dog bite attorney.
All of these steps are necessary to building a successful dog bite case in the event of a serious injury. To learn more about Colorado dog bite laws or for help filing a claim, reach out to a dog bite attorney.