Dog attacks happen unexpectedly and often cause severe or catastrophic injuries. Many people require emergency medical attention, surgery, and ongoing medical care to treat injuries sustained from a dog bite. As a Denver-based personal injury law firm, Chalat Hatten & Banker has heard numerous stories of previously peaceful dogs (and other pets) who suddenly lashed out without warning or provocation. We happen to be dog lovers around here ourselves, but we also understand that pets must be controlled to prevent them from hurting others.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog or injured in a dog attack, talk to our team of experienced dog bite lawyers in the Denver area today. Our personal injury lawyers have over 30 years of experience holding negligent dog owners responsible and guiding injured victims across Colorado through the aftermath of a dog bite attack. Contact us today.
Understanding Dog Bite Claims in Colorado
Colorado has a state law that specifically addresses a dog owner’s liability for their pet. This statute, commonly called The Colorado Dog Bite Statute, is found in C.R.S. § 13-21-124(6). The law holds dog owners liable for any “serious bodily injury or death” caused by their dog attacking someone else.
Dog owners are liable under this statute even if the dog never previously showed vicious or dangerous behavior. Similarly, the owner is liable even if they had no knowledge that the dog was likely to attack. This state statute sets Colorado apart from other states with a “one-bite rule” that gives dog owners the benefit of the doubt for the first attack by a pet. Instead, dog owners in our state are strictly liable for any serious injury their dog inflicts on someone else by biting or attacking them.
for attack by Great Pyrenees
how common are dog bites in colorado & the u.s.?
Dog bites are more common in Colorado and the entire United States than you might think. According to the Insurance Information Institute, an estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs per year. And that number seems to be growing, at least in the insurance world.
The same source states the number of dog bite claims nationwide increased to 17,802 in 2019 from 17,297 in 2018, costing homeowners’ insurance companies an estimated $797 million. Analysis of homeowners’ insurance data by the Triple-I shows the average cost per claim in the U.S. increased by 14.7% in 2019 over the prior year and has risen over 130% from 2003-2019. The report attributes the increase due to rising medical costs, as well as larger settlements, judgments, and jury awards given to dog bite and other dog-related injury victims.
In Colorado, the statute of limitations requires injured dog bite victims to file a lawsuit within two years from the date of an injury or attack. Whether you or a loved one was recently injured by a dog or are still suffering from pain from a dog attack that occurred within the last two years, call us. The short window of time the statute of limitations requires for filing dog bite lawsuits makes it critical to contact a Denver dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. Our law firm is experienced with many types of personal injury claims. Check out our testimonials and case reviews to see how we have helped victims of all ages.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: DOG BITES
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a dog attack, you likely have questions and concerns for our experienced dog bite lawyers in the Denver metro area. Below, you’ll find the answers to several frequently asked questions we receive from injured victims and their families. Should you not find the answer to your specific question about the dog bite claims process, we encourage you to reach out to our personal injury law firm.
What is the statute of limitations for dog bites in Colorado?
The statute of limitations for a dog bite in Colorado is two years. Or in other words, you have two years from the date the injury or attack occurred to file a lawsuit against the attacking dog’s owner.
Are There Other Protections in Place for Dog Attack Victims
Besides the state law, many of Colorado’s cities and counties have enacted dog bite rules of their own. Examples include leash laws, muzzle laws, and regulations regarding specific breeds. When a dog owner ignores local rules, they are considered “negligent per se.” Essentially, this is a legal concept that will deem an owner negligent (and therefore liable for damages their dog causes) simply because they violated a local law. In negligence per se cases, it isn’t necessary to prove that the dog owner was negligent or that they owed you a duty of care. Rather, you only need to prove that they violated a local dog attack ordinance and that you suffered an injury in the attack.
What If a Dog Just Scares Me, Causing an Accident?
Sometimes, dogs attack without biting. While the Colorado Dog Bite Statute addresses dog bites, we want victims of animal attacks in our state to understand that even if you weren’t bitten, you still have rights. Dogs can inflict serious damage through scratching, pouncing, charging, and other means of attack.
In some cases, dogs can cause severe or fatal injury with no physical contact. For instance, Colorado recognizes a dog fright claim, where a dog acts so aggressively that an individual reacts out of fear and is injured. Such cases include dogs charging at bicyclists who then crash while trying to avoid the animal or pedestrians so startled by a dog hurling itself against a fence that they back into oncoming traffic.
What Can I Do If the Dog Owner Is a Friend?
Many cases are burdened by the relationship between the dog owner and the victim. Often the dog owner is a friend or family member, but keep in mind that many dog attacks are covered under a homeowners’ insurance policy.
CONTACT OUR DOG BITE INJURY ATTORNEYS IN DENVER TODAY
For clients facing a severe personal injury case, choosing an experienced, compassionate law firm is a consequential decision. When you work with Chalat Hatten & Banker, we’ll be there to help you every step of the way throughout the personal injury claims process. Our dog bite lawyers in the Denver metro area will take care of all the complicated work involved with your case. We will start by getting the answers you need, and then we’ll work tirelessly to ensure wrongdoers are held accountable.
For over 30 years, our accomplished Denver-based personal injury lawyers have protected the rights of injured victims of dog bites and attacks, motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, ski accidents, and many other personal injury practice areas, and we’ll fight the same for you. Chalat Hatten & Banker provides legal services to accident victims throughout the state of Colorado, including Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins, and surrounding cities in Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, Jefferson, Park, and Weld Counties. Contact our firm today to schedule a free initial case review and consultation. We welcome the opportunity to be an advocate for your rights.
A careful case review will be performed by your lawyer to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Then the conclusions of this review are presented to you in a thorough, understandable manner.
For more details: Litigation Process.