Colorado Springs Dog Bite Lawyer
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According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), about 39% of households in the United States own dogs. Dogs are like family to many people, so being faced with a dog bite attack is something many of us do not care to think about.
It cannot be denied, however, that dogs can sometimes be dangerous; some may bite, especially if they feel threatened. Whether it is someone else’s dog who bit you or your own dog that bites another person, a dog bite can be terrifying. Unfortunately, many such attacks—even if they do not seem severe—require immediate medical attention.
Colorado’s dog bite laws
A dog owner may be responsible to you for any injuries if their dog bites you. They are responsible to you if the dog bites you while you are lawfully on the owner’s public or private property at the time of the bite and if the bite resulted in serious bodily injury or death. Serious bodily injury is defined as having a substantial risk of death, substantial risk of serious and permanent disfigurement, substantial risk of loss of impairment of loss of function of an organ, or broken bones and fractures.
It does not matter if the dog owner took reasonable care to restrain the dog, such as using a leash or keeping the dog behind a fence. If you were bit, you can hold the owner liable. This is known as a “strict liability” statute, which means that intent plays no role. You will not have to prove that the dog was vicious or had a propensity to bite; all you need to show is that the dog did in fact bite you.
A dog bite can give rise to a claim for personal injury. You may choose to file a lawsuit against the dog owner to pay for your injuries. Contact a personal injury lawyer in Colorado Springs to assist you in understanding the law and the claims you may have.
common injuries from dog bites
Approximately 334,000 people visit the emergency room every year for dog bites in the United States, according to the ASPCA. Only 2% of the emergency room patients are actually hospitalized. However, it is unknown how many dog bites actually occur that go untreated. Other injuries related to dog bites are also not accounted for, such as the injuries sustained while running away from a threatening or dangerous dog.
Injuries from dog bites can not only cause physical injuries, but mental trauma as well. Some of the most common injuries include:
- A lasting fear of dogs (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Anxiety or depression resulting from the dog bite
- Fractured bones
- Infections such as rabies
- Nerve damage
- Permanent disfiguration
- Puncture wounds
- Tissue loss
- Wrongful death
steps to take after suffering from a dog bite
Many dog bites will require medical treatment if the bite is deep or if there are multiple bites. If you have been bitten by a dog, consider taking the following steps:
1. Call 911
Always call 911 for emergency assistance. A dog bite can be a medical emergency and should be addressed immediately if the bite is serious. If the dog was a stray or an unknown dog, you may need to have a rabies prevention shot.
2. Identify the Dog
If possible, identify the dog that bit you. If you know the owner, take down their contact information. Take a picture of the dog if possible, to make sure you correctly identify it later should you decide to pursue a claim.
3. Collect Evidence
Record as much information as possible. If you were trespassing on private property at the time that you were bitten, then you will not be able to recover. Write down the address where the dog bite occurred and take pictures of your injuries.
4. Report the Dog Bite
You should report the dog bite by contacting your local animal control department where the bite occurred. This ensures that there is notice for the dog bite if someone gets bitten again.
5. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Personal injury attorneys are equipped to handle cases such as dog bites. Contact a Colorado Springs personal injury lawyer as soon as you can so that your claim can be evaluated.
How to treat a dog bite at home
Some dog bite injuries can be addressed at home or treated before visiting the hospital if the bite is not serious enough for the emergency room. Consider taking the following proactive measures:
- Clean the wound with mild soap and water
- Place a clean compress over the bite to stop any bleeding
- Elevate the injured area if possible
- Apply antibiotic ointment to prevent infection
- Apply sterile bandaging to the wound
If at any point the wound does not stop bleeding or shows signs of infection such as redness or swelling, you should have the bite looked at by a doctor.
how do dog bite claims get paid?
Some dog bites are covered by homeowners’ insurance. If you are the victim of a dog bite, it is important to ask the owner if they have homeowners’ insurance. This circumstance is similar to a car accident, so you will have to call their insurance and possibly animal control to address the situation.
Most dog bites occur at houses rather than on the street or on parks and trails, so most victims know the owner of the dog who bit them. It is important to get their information, because if you cannot name the owner of the dog, you will not be able to file a claim.
what damages are recoverable?
Dog bite victims are entitled to claim financial compensation for any losses they suffered because of a dog bite. Compensation may include medical expenses, rehabilitation and counseling costs, and lost wages if you could not work because of the injury.
Personal injury damages are calculated to include both the present and future costs. Victims of dog bites sometimes must undergo medical treatment for years, whether it is reconstructive surgery or continued mental therapy. Victims may also be able to claim pain and suffering, embarrassment for dealing with the scarring and disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish.
In rare cases, you may be able to claim punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish the owner for their behavior and to deter them and others from the same behavior. Punitive damages may be appropriate if the owner acted recklessly in allowing their dog to attack someone.
how to prevent future dog bites
Most dog bites are not the victim’s fault, but you can take steps to prevent another dog bite from happening again in the future. Many victims of dog bites are young children who do not understand that dogs can be dangerous and bite. Never leave a small child alone with a dog, even if you know the dog.
Always ask permission from the owner before approaching or petting their dog. Dogs can bite when they feel threatened and do not know you. Allow a dog to sniff you first and approach them slowly. Do not pet the dog if they appear to be hesitant, fearful, or aggressive.
Never disturb a dog while it is sleeping, eating, or caring for its puppies. Move calmly and slowly so as not to startle the dog. Avoid petting the mouth or tail of the dog. Watch for warning signs that the dog may exhibit before it bites. This includes showing its teeth or growling, tucking its tail between its legs or sporting a stiff tail, showing the whites of its eyes, raised fur, or a rigid body posture.
filing a claim after a dog bite
Colorado’s statute of limitations, or the time limit for filing a claim, is two years from the date of injury. After a dog bite, the timer starts and you must file a claim within two years or you will lose your right to recover for your injuries. As time passes, you may find it hard to remember details about the dog attack. It is important to file a claim as soon as possible so that you and any witnesses can correctly recall all of the details of the event.
Contact a Colorado Springs personal injury lawyer who has handled dog bites. Having a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the law will be helpful to your case. A dog bite injury can be an overwhelming and terrifying experience, so having the right person represent you can give you peace of mind.
Get Help from Colorado springs personal injury lawyers
At Zinda Law Group, our Colorado Springs personal injury attorneys are experienced and have handled many cases involving dog bites. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you determine what to do next and to help recover the best possible outcome for your case.
Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free and confidential consultation with one of our personal injury Colorado Springs lawyers. You will pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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