What’s My Civil Liability After a Dog Bite Injury in Denver Colorado

Injuries by dangerous or aggressive dogs are quite common. In Colorado, about 3,000 dog bites are reported each year. This means that about 57 people per week are bitten by a dog. Dog bites can result in serious injuries and permanent scarring and other disfigurement which is you will need a Denver Dog Bites Injury Lawyer to help assist you with your case. Small children are often bitten in the face by a dog and the wounds leave permanent scars.

Colorado law sets out when an owner or caretaker of a dog is liable and what damages are allowed. There are both criminal and civil statutes applying to injuries or death from dogs or other dangerous animals. The Colorado appellate courts have further set out the law on dog bite liability.

No Liability Situations

  • Trespassers. If a person is unlawfully on public or private property and is injured by an animal, the person cannot seek any compensation. A person is unlawfully on a property if they do not have the expressed or implied invitation to be on the property.
  • Proper Signs. If a property is clearly and conspicuously marked with a sign posting “No Trespassing” or “Beware of Dog”, there is no right to compensation to a person bitten by a dog on this property.
  • Provoking a Dog. If a person provokes a dog such as hitting it, trying to get it riled up or provoking it in other manner and the person is then bitten by a dog, they are not allowed to recover any damages.
  • Professionals Working With Dogs. Veterinary health care workers, dog groomers, humane agency staff people, professional dog handlers, dog trainers and dog show judges are not allowed any recovery for damages from dog bites.
  • Working Dogs. Police and military dogs, while performing their duties are exempt all from liability. Hunting, herding, farm, ranch or predator control dogs while working as such are also exempt from all liability.

Strict Liability

Regardless of whether an owner or caretaker was negligent, violated a statute or ordinance such as having a dangerous animal or allowing an animal to run “at large,” or did not know of any prior biting or viscous behavior, an owner or caretaker will be liable for an injured person’s medical bills, income losses and other economic damages if it involved a serious bodily injury, C.R.S. §13-21-124 sets out the strict liability law. If liability is determined only by this statute, the dog owner is responsible for the economic damages of the victim but is not responsible for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and is not liable for damages for disfigurement or physical impairment.

Only serious bodily injury and death claims are compensable. Serious bodily injury is defined as a bodily injury which at the time of the actual injury or at a later time, involves a substantial risk of death, a substantial risk of serious permanent disfigurement, a substantial risk or 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. Bodily injury is further defined as any physical injury that results in severe bruising, muscle tears or skin lacerations requiring professional medical treatment or corrective or cosmetic surgery.