Dog Bite Injury Lawyers in Boulder, Colorado
CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A BOULDER DOG BITE LAWYER FOR FREE
Not all dogs deserve the nickname of man’s best friend. Reports of dogs severely injuring people are unfortunately common. Some bites may cause severe injuries, but even minor dog bites may cause infection.
If you or your loved one has been injured by a dog bite and seeks to file a dog bite lawsuit, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our Boulder dog bite lawyers.
Colorado Dog Bite Law
In Colorado, the statute that governs dog bites is CRS 13-21-124. According to this statute, an owner is strictly liable if his or her dog bites a person who is lawfully on public or private property. Strict liability simply means that a defendant is responsible for an injury even if he or she did not intend to cause the injury. Whether or not the dog showed violent tendencies does not matter.
Filing a Negligence Claim
If you cannot file a lawsuit under CRS 13-21-124, you may still file a negligence action if the owner did not take reasonable measures to control his or her dog. Like any other negligence case, a claimant must show that there was a duty owed, that there was a breach of that duty, that the breach caused the injury, and that there was an actual injury.
When determining if a dog owner has liability for a negligence claim, you must prove that there was a duty owed. For instance, a dog owner has a duty to have his or her dog on a leash when out in public. You must then show that there was a breach of that duty. If the dog owner did not leash his or her dog in public, he or she has violated the duty to leash his or her dog. Next, you must show that the breach caused an injury. For example, if the unleashed dog bites you, then you have shown that the breach caused an injury. Finally, you must show that there was an injury, which in this case would be the bite.
Common Causes of Dog Bites
Failure to Leash
Dog owners sometimes do not put a leash on their dog. An aggressive dog not on a leash may attack individuals without warning.
Failing to Provide Adequate Enclosure
Some owners let their dogs live in some enclosure outside their homes. However, they may have set up fences that are too low or too weak, allowing the dog to escape and attack individuals.
Some dog breeds are more naturally aggressive than others. These dogs are much more likely to attack strangers on a whim.
Lacerations are simply cuts and or tears in the skin.
Disfigurement is when your physical appearance has been permanently altered. For instance, there have been several cases where a dog bites the victim’s face, permanently distorting the victim’s face.
Nerve damage can cause a person to lose sensation in certain parts of his or her body. For instance, if a dog bites the victim’s finger and damages the nerves of the finger, the victim may no longer be able to feel anything using that finger.
Any kind of traumatic event can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A victim of a dog bite may have recurring nightmares of the dog bite and may become anxious around dogs.
Dogs can carry many diseases if they are not properly vaccinated. For instance, an unvaccinated dog can transmit rabies to its victim.
What to Do After Being Bitten by a Dog
1. Wash the Wound
Get some antibacterial soap and wipe the affected area. Also, let water flow over it for five minutes. This is to prevent infection of the wound.
2. Cover the Wound
Get some sterile bandages or disposable paper towels to cover the wound.
3. Seek Medical Treatment
Schedule an appointment with a physician to get additional treatment. Though most dog owners now take their dogs to veterinarians for a rabies shot, you can never be sure. Therefore, seek a rabies or tetanus shot right away. Furthermore, getting medical attention will document your injuries. Such documentation will be important if you decide to file a claim.
4. Contact an Experienced Lawyer
It is advised that you call an experienced dog bite lawyer so that you can find out your rights.
Filing a Dog Bite Claim
Having evidence to support your claim is important, so be sure to report the attack. Whether it is to an animal control agency or the police or sheriff department, you should report the attack to document it. You should also take photographs of your wounds as these will provide concrete evidence of the injuries you received. Furthermore, you should keep any items that relate to the dog bite. For instance, keep the clothes that you wore on the day of the attack, keep medical bills and other receipts for expenses related to the dog bite, keep letters from the dog owner’s insurance company, etc.
2. Do Not Respond to Dog Owner’s Insurance Company
Soon after a dog bite injury, the dog owner’s insurance company will likely contact you. They may ask you for a statement regarding the incident or access to your medical records. Decline these requests, as they may affect your ability to receive just compensation. They may also ask you to sign a release or to accept a settlement offer. You may want to consult with an attorney before accepting an offer from an insurance company, as these offers are infamously insufficient.
3. Call an Attorney
Though filing a dog bite claim may seem simple enough to do alone, an experienced attorney is an asset that may maximize the compensation you receive. An experienced attorney may thoroughly investigate your claim and help you maneuver through the complicated negotiation process.
Dog Bite Compensation
In general, compensation is calculated by accounting for the victim’s economic and non-economic losses.
Economic losses can include many factors. One such factor is medical costs. A severe dog bite is not something that can be treated with an inexpensive home first-aid kid. After a dog bite injury, an ambulance or even an airlift may be required to transport the victim to a hospital. Once the victim is at the hospital, a doctor may have to perform a suture or surgery. Even after the initial treatment, there may be additional medical costs to prevent a post-operation infection. As you can imagine, a hefty bill may result from the totality of these events.
But economic losses include more than medical bills. Because a victim may not be able to work due to his or her injury, lost wages may also be compensable. There could also be property damage to consider, such as if the dog damaged clothing, furniture, or electronics. In any case, economic damages consider a variety of factors that can be calculated monetarily.
Non-economic losses include factors that are more difficult to calculate than economic losses. For example, they include factors like the pain and suffering you felt after the injury. Mental suffering due to post-traumatic stress and scars is also considered.
Besides compensation for economic and non-economic losses, dog bite victims may also be able to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages depend on the conduct of the dog owner. For example, if a dog owner intentionally let loose a trained fighting dog, the dog owner may be liable for punitive damages to punish him for his egregious conduct.
Can I Get Compensation for a Dog Bite?
You will likely be able to sue the dog owner if you receive an injury. How much compensation you recover may depend on many variables, such as how serious the bite is.
How Long After a Dog Bite Can you Sue?
You may sue immediately after the dog bite. Remember that in Colorado, you have two years from the date of the bite to file a lawsuit.
How Long Does It Take for a Dog Bite Settlement?
There is no set amount of time for a dog bite claim to settle. Depending on how long the investigation is and how stubborn the dog owner, a claim may take months or even years to settle. Of course, these are not the only factors, so speaking with an attorney may give you a clearer picture of how complex your case is.
CONTACT A BOULDER DOG BITE LAWYER
The experienced Boulder attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you with your personal injury claim. After an attack, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.