Greeley Dog Bite Lawyers
CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A Greeley dog bite Lawyer FOR FREE
Imagine you are on your daily stroll through your beautiful Greeley neighborhood, and you approach your neighbor’s house with the neighbor’s dog in the front yard. Usually, the dog is on a tie out leash, so you do not worry when the dog barks at you. Today, however, the dog is loose, chases you, and bites your leg, seriously injuring you.
This is just one scenario in which you could have been bit by a dog in Colorado. A Colorado dog bite lawyer who cares about your unique case will listen to the details and then explain the options you should consider when you are trying to decide whether you should pursue a legal claim.
Consider hiring a Greeley dog bite attorney if you have been bit by a dog in CO
It is helpful to first get an overview of the procedural process for filing your claim and moving it through the legal system. Then, we will guide you through some of the legal arguments you must make to pursue recovery for your dog bite.
Filing Your Claim
Not only must you be certain about where to file your claim, you must also know against whom to file. You may have difficulty locating the owner of the dog if there is one; if there is no owner, there is no one for you to sue. In addition, you must ensure that you submit all your documents in a timely manner, within the statute of limitations, and with the correct format.
An injury lawyer can do some of this investigative work with you. Also, it is the injury lawyer’s job to file appropriate claims that are acceptable to the court. Your Colorado dog bite lawyer can file the claim efficiently and effectively so that you need not worry about whether you have committed some error that bars your recovery.
Negotiating a Settlement
Next, someone will need to negotiate with the other parties to try to get you a settlement. Most cases settle, but it is possible that you may need to go to trial if the parties cannot agree. Insurance companies have a knack for prompting responses from you that hurt the strength of your claim; an experienced injury attorney will stand up to the insurance companies to negotiate for the settlement amount to which you are entitled.
A Colorado dog bite attorney will have seen enough cases to be able to evaluate yours and determine your approximate compensation amount. The lawyer will also know insurance coverage limits—how much the insurance company can offer for your injuries, not simply the amount it offers you. This is one way a lawyer can provide the best opportunity for maximum compensation.
Types of Compensation you could receive
The nature of the injury you receive will give you some indication of the type of compensation to which you could be entitled. As in most personal injury cases, you will likely be able to pursue both economic and noneconomic damages. It is also possible that you could receive punitive damages if the court finds it fitting to punish the owner of the dog to prevent future instances like yours.
Economic Damages in Dog Bite Cases
- The medical expenses you acquire as you treat the injury
- Your present and future loss of income from missing work to treat the injury
- The costs of treatment for scars
- The costs of psychological treatment or counseling in the present and in the future
- The costs of any defensive measures you must now take to protect yourself from the dog
- The loss in your home’s value from its being located near dangerous dogs
- The costs of damaged and torn clothing from the attack
- Other present and future expenses that can be empirically measured
Noneconomic Damages in Dog Bite Cases
- The mental suffering you experience when you remember the attack
- The mental suffering you experience when you now encounter dogs in general
- Your loss of quality of life from obtaining a disability
- Your loss of future earning capacity
- Other present and future losses that are unable to be empirically measured
Analyzing your case
Any dog bite case begins with the injury the victim sustains. The type of injury, either a negligent injury or a serious bodily injury, determines the analysis of your case. Minor to non-life-threatening/non-disfiguring injuries will fall under an analysis for negligence; serious bodily injuries as defined by Colorado Revised Statute section 13-21-124 will fall under an analysis for strict liability.
If your injury did not involve 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 or fractures, then your case will not fall under Colorado’s dog bite law. It instead will fall under a common law analysis for negligence.
In a dog bite case for a negligence claim, you must prove that the dog owner had a legal duty of care to prevent you from being bitten, that the dog owner failed to take measures that would prevent you from being bitten, that you were injured, and that your injury was caused by the dog owner’s action or lack of action to prevent the bite.
Since Colorado has a law to protect victims of dog bites, owners of dog bites can be held strictly liable when a dog bite causes a serious bodily injury. A “serious bodily injury” occurs when any bodily injury, either at the time of the dog bite or later, 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 or fractures.
The dog owner’s intent does not matter for cases involving strict liability. Sometimes, even without a statute, the owner of an animal can be held strictly liable under certain circumstances; for example, the owner of an animal can be liable for the trespass of certain domestic animals and for injuries that wild animals produce. A dog owner in Colorado may be strictly liable for the serious bodily injuries a dog causes when the victim is lawfully on public or private property.
The Colorado statute creates strict liability for a dog owner whose dog bites and injures someone regardless of whether the owner knew or should have known that the dog had the propensity to bite. However, if the owner did know about the dog’s dangerous or vicious propensities, the victim can have the dog euthanized at the owner’s expense.
Defenses that the dog owner can bring
Once you have filed your claim against the dog owner, the owner can respond with affirmative defenses against your claim. The Colorado law explicitly states defenses against strict liability for the dog bite, and an owner who is answering a negligence claim also has relevant defenses to raise.
It is likely that the dog owner will raise the defense of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is a valid defense when the plaintiff is partially at fault for the incident that resulted in his or her injuries. If the dog owner ordered you to stay away from a leashed dog, then you may have been partially at fault and therefore comparatively negligent; this could reduce, though perhaps not eliminate, the compensation you could receive for your injuries.
For Strict Liability
The Colorado dog bite statute lists several reasons why dog owner might not be held strictly liable for your injuries. Some of these defenses are because of your specific actions, and some are related to the broader circumstances of the incident.
Particular actions that you perform that could create a statutory defense for the dog owner include provoking the dog, trespassing, or entering the dog owner’s property that is clearly and conspicuously marked with one or more signs stating, “No trespassing” or “Beware of dog.”
Broader circumstances that can form a statutory defense for the dog owner relate to either how the dog is being used by someone in a line of work, or whether you are in a line of work that inherently carries the risk of being bitten by a dog. A dog groomer, for instance, who is bitten by a dog she is grooming in the ordinary course of her workday, would not likely be able to sue the dog’s owner.
Consult with a Colorado dog bite attorney at the zinda law group firm
You should be able to enjoy walking safely in your Greeley neighborhood without worrying about a dog attacking you. Whether you retained a serious bodily injury and need to hold a dog owner accountable or you were injured due to a dog owner’s negligence, you might consider enlisting the assistance of an injury attorney. Our Zinda Law Group lawyers are ready to listen to your story and see how they can help with your case; you can reach our Greeley dog bite lawyers at (800) 863-5312 and we will schedule your free consultation.
These lawyers want to understand your goals for recovery and to lead you through the legal mechanisms that you must go through to recover for your injuries. We have a No Win, No Fee Guarantee to assure that you will not pay us unless we win your case for you.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.