A serious dog bite can be devastating, leading to life altering injuries, extensive reconstructive surgeries, and treatment to fight infections. In the worst cases, dog bites can be fatal.
With nearly 100 million pet dogs in America, attacks can happen quickly and without warning. Even a dog that a person is familiar with can be prone to aggressive episodes. It is reported that one is five households adopted a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic, only growing the share of dog ownership in the United States. While most dogs do not display aggressive behavior, there are 4.5 million incidents of dog bites each year. It is important to remember these are animals, and need to be owned and interacted with in a responsible manner.
After a dog bite occurs it is imperative to seek immediate medical attention. Even a wound that may appear superficial could develop into a life-threatening infection within a matter of days. Oral cavities contain millions of bacteria particles that can be transferred via punctured skin. Do not delay in getting treatment, antibiotics are most effective the earlier they are administered.
If you are left with severe injuries that result in scarring, rehabilitation, or surgery, it is recommended to consult an attorney. They will be able to document your injuries and recover compensation for the medical bills, lost wages, and damages you have incurred.
What is the law surrounding dog bite claims?
The relevant law that deals with dog bites is found in CRS 13-21-124 Civil Actions against dog owners. There are two requirements that the statue lays out to bring a claim: (1) A person suffers serious bodily injury or death from being bitten by a dog, (2) while lawfully on public or private property, is able to bring a civil action to recover economic damages against the dog’s owner. It should be noted that it does not matter what the owner knew or didn’t know about the viciousness or dangerous propensities of the dog, which makes this a strict liability action.
What if the owner knew about the dog’s viciousness?
When it is alleged and proved that the dog owner had knowledge or notice of the dog’s viciousness or dangerous propensities, the court, upon a motion made by the victim, may enter an order that the dog be euthanized by a licensed veterinarian or licensed shelter at the expense of the dog owner.
What is considered to be Lawfully on Public or Private Property
A person is considered to be lawfully on public or private property if they are in the performance of a duty imposed by local, state, or federal laws or regulations or if they are on property upon express or implied invitation of the owner of the property or is on their own property.
What is considered Serious bodily injury?
Serious bodily injury means bodily injury which, either at the time of the actual injury or at a later time, involves a substantial risk of death, serious permanent disfigurement, 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.
Can I recover damages as a result of the bite?
Yes, as a result of the statue a person who suffers a dog bite that fits into the statute will be able to recover economic damages. Economic damages include: loss of income, future loss of income, medical bills, future medical bills, etc.
Are there any exceptions?
A dog owner will not be liable to a person who suffers bodily injury, serious bodily injury, or death from being bitten by the dog in the following circumstances:
• While the person is unlawfully on public or private property;
• While the person is on property of the dog owner and the property is clearly and conspicuously marked with one or more posted signs stating “no trespassing” or “beware of dog”;
• While the dog is being used by a peace officer or military personnel in the performance of peace officer or military personnel duties;
• As a result of the person knowingly provoking the dog;
• If the person 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; or
• While 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.
What should I do after being bit?
• Evaluate the severity of injury.
• Get the dog owner’s contact information.
• Take pictures/video of the injury.
• Seek appropriate medical attention depending on the severity of the injury.
• Determine if you would like to explore your legal options in the situation.
• Call a personal injury attorney experienced in handling dog bit cases
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a dog bite attack please do not hesitate to call McDivitt Law Firm at 877-577-3918. Our attorneys are experienced in recovering compensation for clients who are victims of dog bites. Learn more about dog bite cases.