Dog Bites

Colorado’s Dog Bite Law

Colorado’s dog bite law says that any person who is seriously injured or killed by a dog attack is allowed to file a civil lawsuit for recovery of economic damages. This law applies only to serious bodily injury which in Colorado is defined as involving significant risk of death, disfigurement, loss or impairment of any part of the body, broken bones, fractures and burns.

Exceptions

The law does not apply to any person who is trespassing on public or private land, nor while a person is on land which is marked clearly with ‘No Trespassing’ or ‘Beware of Dog’ signs. Additionally, the law does not apply if the dog is a working police or military dog.

The law also does not apply if the person who is bit is a veterinary health care worker, dog groomer, professional dog handler, dog trainer, humane agency staff person or dog show judge doing their respective duties.

DOES COLORADO HAVE A SPECIFIC DOG BITE LAW?

States generally have two approaches to dog bites: they either follow a rule of “strict liability” or one of “negligence.” Colorado is unique in that it uses a mix of these two approaches.

When a dog bite leads to death or a serious injury, a “strict liability” rule applies to the case and holds the owner of the animal liable.

Colorado law determines that the following constitutes a serious bodily injury:

  • A substantial risk of impairment or permanent disfigurement.
  • A substantial risk of death.
  • Fractures, breaks, or burns in the second or third degree.
  • Substantial risk of loss of function of any body part or organ.

What to do if you have been injured by a dog

If you have been bit by a dog, we recommend taking the following actions:

  • Seek appropriate medical care
    • Your medical records will serve as official documentation of the injuries you suffered.
  • Ask to file a police report
    • A police officer will document your version of the events and include any other important information such as getting testimonies from any eye-witnesses.
  • Find a witness
    • Ask any eyewitnesses to the accident for their contact information, such as name, phone number, and email.
  • Call an attorney

Dog owners are legally responsible to keep their pet from hurting another person. If you have suffered an injury due to the owner’s lack of restraint of a canine, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Contact us today.