Grand Junction Dog Bite Lawyers
Have you suffered from a dog bite? People say that dogs are man’s best friend and in most cases it’s true, but sometimes man’s best friend becomes more like Cujo than Lassie. If you are the victim of a vicious dog bite, you need an attorney with experience litigating this type of matter.
We know that being attacked is alarming and it can have lifelong effects on your health. Our Grand Junction premises liability attorneys have helped numerous others who have been bitten, and we can help you, too. Don’t hesitate to call us at (970) 243-4357. With our many years of experience, we may be the attorneys you need.
A dog bite can be a catastrophic injury. Not only do bites often lead to lacerations and puncture wounds, but they can also become infected if not properly cleaned. Dog mouths are full of dangerous bacteria, that can leave a person incredibly sick. That is why it is so important to know what to do after a dog bite before you experience one. We recommend that you:
Seek medical attention: If the bite resulted in severe injury, the very first thing you should do is call 911 for medical assistance. The bite will need to be cleaned and inspected immediately to heal properly.
Gather evidence: If you are well enough to do so, gather evidence after your dog bite. Take a picture of the wound, any other damages you suffered (such as torn clothing or personal belongings), and the dog that bit you. You should also speak to any witnesses and get their information so that you can use their testimony in any claims that you may file.
Speak to the owners: If possible, find the owner of the dog and exchange information, including their homeowner's insurance policy. In order to be given compensation for your injuries, you need someone to file a claim against. It can be very difficult to recover damages from the at fault party if you don’t know who they are.
Report the incident: Inform animal control and other related authorities about what happened. They will write up an official report on the incident, which you can receive a copy of afterward. Your incident report will be valuable evidence, especially if you find that the same dog has been reported for aggressive behavior in the past.
Get copies of your medical records: In order to be awarded damages, you have to know how much you are owed. The best way of doing that is to have your medical records. These documents will also confirm the severity of your injuries, which could help your case.
Seek help from an experienced attorney: It can be difficult to navigate a dog bite claim if you don’t already have expertise in the field. Contacting a seasoned attorney may be the most important step of all.
The number of dog bites every year might surprise you. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 4.5 million dog bites every year in the United States. Among the fatalities, about 40% of the victims were children under the age of 10, while nearly 60% were aged 30 and above.
Even when the bites aren’t fatal, serious injuries are common. In the most recent year with available statistics, over 28,000 people had to undergo reconstructive surgery as a result of dog bites. Moreover, nearly 1 out of 5 bites became infected due to bacteria commonly found in dog mouths. Another danger of bites is rabies, which is often fatal if contracted.
Even without the fear of rabies, a dog attack may cause:
- Deep skin damage
- Permanent scarring
- Loss of fingers
- Loss of eyesight
- Nerve damage
Many victims of dog attacks also suffer from emotional damage, leaving them frightened of interacting with dogs. Victims may show symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as increased anxiety, depression, nightmares, emotional mood swings, and more. The emotional trauma can be especially prominent with younger victims, and the effects could linger for the rest of their lives.
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.”
This means victims have the right to compensation for dog bite injuries even when the dog has no prior history of violence. However, this is restricted to what is defined as “serious bodily injury” or death. The law states this is an “injury which, either at the time of the actual injury or at a later time, involves a substantial risk of death, a substantial risk of serious permanent disfigurement, a substantial risk of protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part or organ of the body, or breaks, fractures, or burns of the second or third degree."
There is some ambiguity when it comes to determining what does and does not constitute serious bodily injury, and this is where a trained lawyer comes in.
There are certain exceptions to the above where a victim would lose the ability to sue for compensation. For instance, if he was on the person’s property illegally when the attack occurred. Another exception would be if the property owner had clearly marked signage indicating a dangerous dog on the premises. Other examples include if the dog was being used by the police or military in a law enforcement role, or if the person attacked was a veterinarian or service provider trained to care for dogs and actively engaged in that activity at the time of the attack.
It is important to note that in Colorado trespassers have no right to recover damages. This means that if you were bitten while on the dog owner’s private property, you will have to be able to prove that you were there lawfully. As in, you were invited by the owner or otherwise acting within the law. Similarly, if it is clear that you provoked the dog, perhaps by acting aggressively towards it or by taunting it, then you will be considered the one at fault and will not be granted damages for your injuries.
When you file a dog bite claim, an incredibly important step is knowing what types of damages you can claim. This will help you during negotiations, when the at fault party will probably try to get you to take a lowball deal.
There are two types of damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages cover financial losses you may have suffered as a result of the bite. This means anything you would not have had to pay for were it not for the dog attack. Common examples of economic damages include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost job opportunities
Most people filing a claim for the first time may assume that economic damages are the only ones they can claim, but that isn’t true. Non-economic damages are perfectly viable to file and expect compensation for. These damages can include:
- Emotional trauma
- Lowered quality of life
- Pain and suffering
At Peters & Nolan, LLC, we know that any animal attack can be a traumatic and stressful event. That’s why it is important to hire a skilled Grand Junction personal injury lawyer who can advocate on your behalf. We’ll provide you with peace of mind so that you and your family can concentrate on your recovery. If you or a loved one have suffered a dog bit, call our firm at (970) 243-4357 and find out how if you have a case for a personal injury claim.
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.