Colorado has some complex animal bite laws when compared to other states. Usually used in reference to dogs, the state’s so-called “Dog Bite” law allows a person who was bitten and hurt by someone else’s dog to recover some form of compensation for his or her injuries.
The Dog Bite Law
In Colorado, a dog bite victim is entitled to damages if the following is true, even if the owner had no prior knowledge of the dog’s aggressive nature or its likelihood of attacking someone:
• You suffered some sort of serious injury from the dog bite, including but not limited to muscle tears, severe bruising, or lacerations that made medical care necessary. Anything that resulted in you needing corrective or cosmetic surgery is also covered.
• You didn’t directly provoke the animal. For example, if you were yelling or hitting a dog for no reason and it bit you, you’re pretty much out of luck.
• Trespassing did not occur. If you’re bit by a dog while you are illegally present on someone else’s property, you’re not entitled to any damages. If the property is clearly marked with a least one sign that says “Beware of Dog” or “No Trespassing,” you might not receive damages if you entered, even if trespassing wasn’t your intention.
• You’re not an animal worker, such as a veterinarian or groomer, who was bit while on the job.
• The dog isn’t working as a hunting, herding, farm, guard or ranch dog on the owner’s property.
In these cases, you can only receive “economic damages,” which are losses you suffered directly related to the bite injury, such as wages lost from missed work days and medical costs. However, a person with any type of injury may be able to get more than just economic damages, including pain and suffering, if he or she can prove at least one of the following: the owner knew the animal was dangerous; the owner behaved negligently; or the owner violated any animal control laws.
What to Do
If you’ve been bitten by an animal, the law requires you to report the bite to the Animal Law Enforcement unit responsible for your area within 12 hours. In cases where the dangerous animal is still out or roaming and you can’t speak to Animal Law Enforcement because they are closed, call 911 so the animal is stopped before it bites someone else. Report the bite to the local enforcement agency as soon as they open the next day.
Seek medical care immediately, even if you’re not sure it’s necessary. Sometimes, injuries don’t show up right away, and a more serious injury can appear minor at first. Delaying treatment could result in a longer recovery time and more complications, and it could harm your case.
After you’ve reported the bite, a local animal enforcement officer should speak to you and the dog’s owner to complete the incident report. It’s important for you to talk to the officer so that your side of the story is entered into the official record. Give the officer the names and contact information of anyone else who witnessed what happened. The animal that bit you should be quarantined in its owner’s home or somewhere else by the officer for at least ten days.
Colorado only allows an animal bite victim two years from the bite date to file a claim for damages because of injury. Speak to an experienced animal bite lawyer as soon as you can to help you receive the compensation you’re entitled to under state law. Waiting too long to start your case could result in you not receiving anything for your injuries.
We’re Here to Help
At the Law Office of Richard J. Banta, P.C., our focus is your case and your recovery. We will handle the other party’s legal team and anyone else involved in the case wherever possible so you can just work on getting better without any added stress. We’re available to answer your questions and will keep you updated as your case moves forward so you will never feel left out of the loop or confused by what’s happening.
Speak to an animal bite lawyer about your case today by calling 303-331-3145. so we can get you started on your road to recovery.