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Colorado’s Dog Bite Laws

By Peters & Nolan, LLC on October 29, 2018

They aren’t always man’s best friend. Being attacked by a dog can be a traumatic and possibly even life-altering event. Colorado law protects victims who have been seriously injured by a dog bite, but sometimes it can be difficult to know when a bite is worthy of reporting.

If you have been attacked by a dog, your best bet is to consult with a knowledgeable Grand Junction personal injury attorney to learn more about your rights regarding compensation.

Who Can Be Found Liable for a Dog Bite in Colorado?

According to Colorado Revised Statute section 13-21-124, “A person or a personal representative of a person who suffers serious bodily injury or death from being bitten by a dog while lawfully on public or private property shall be entitled to bring a civil action to recover economic damages against the dog owner 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.” Whew.

The first thing we’ll unpack from that law is that in order to bring a civil claim against the dog’s owner, your injuries need to rise to the level of serious bodily injury. While this is a high standard, it is also rather ambiguous. Typical injuries that are recognized as “serious” include broken bones, deep skin damage, nerve damage, lost fingers, or injuries that will leave permanent scarring.

If you aren’t sure if your injuries qualify, it’s best to talk to a lawyer.

Another important aspect of Colorado law is there does not need to be any history of vicious behavior on the part of the dog for the owner to be held responsible. Dog owners are expected to have their dogs under control at all times, and a failure to do so is considered negligent if it results in someone being injured. Someone who is looking after the dog for the owner would also be held to blame in the same way.

In general, Colorado dog bite law is strongly in favor of protecting victims. There are only a few notable exceptions, such as a dog biting as the result of someone attacking or taunting the dog, or if someone is bitten while trespassing on private property. Service dogs in a military or law enforcement role at the time of the bite are also exempt.

Naturally, victims often hesitate when it comes to reporting or prosecuting a dog bite. They might worry about what might happen to the dog, or how it will affect their relationship with the owner. But bites cost money, and the victims shouldn’t be the ones paying it. We know the dog isn’t to blame, but that the owner could have done things differently and kept the whole thing from happening. As such, the owner is truly responsible for making sure you’re okay—that includes paying for your medical treatment, lost time at work, and perhaps even emotional distress.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog, the friendly and compassionate Grand Junction dog bite attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC, can help. Call us today at (970) 243-4357 to schedule a free consultation.

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Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.

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