Can a Restaurant Be Held Liable for a Dog Bite Attack on Their Property?
Colorado is an extremely dog friendly state. Not only do we have an abundance of homes with dogs as pets, but many businesses allow individuals to bring dogs on their premises. This is particularly common at many Colorado restaurants, especially at breweries and other establishments with outdoor patios. While allowing dogs in restaurants provides an added level of convenience to dog owners and often creates a more festive atmosphere, it also potentially creates liability concerns – both for the dog owner and the restaurant – in the event that one of these dogs attacks a patron.
Restaurant Environments May Increase the Risk of Dog Bites
Restaurants often create an environment that may increase the risk of dog bite attacks. This is true even for dogs that are typically very friendly:
- Restaurants are often loud, chaotic environments which may contain unfamiliar noises and odors which can frighten or increase the stress level of a dog.
- Restaurants contain a large number of people that are unfamiliar to a dog in a very compact space. When restaurants are very crowded, this can make a dog feel uneasy or unsafe.
- It’s easy for a stranger to bump into a dog’s owner or commit another unintentional action which the dog perceives as a threat to its owner. This can cause the dog to try and protect its owner against this perceived threat.
- Many restaurants have young children walking around that may want to engage with other people’s dogs. If these children aren’t familiar with how to interact with a dog, they may inadvertently do something that provokes the dog or makes it feel threatened in some way.
- Energetic dogs may accidentally knock into people in a crowded restaurant, creating a situation that can easily heighten into an attack, especially if the dog is prone to aggression.
So while having a dog friendly restaurant may make good business sense, it may not always make sense from a public safety perspective. Therefore, it’s critical that restaurants take the steps necessary to establish policies that keep other guests safe in the presence of dogs.
Who Is Liable for a Dog Attack at a Restaurant?
In Colorado, dog owners have strict liability for injuries inflicted on others by their dog. This means you don’t have to prove the dog owner acted negligently or knew the dog was dangerous to recover compensation for your damages. In addition, there is no “one free bite rule” in Colorado. Therefore, dog owners can be held liable the first time their pet attacks and injures someone else.
For this reason, dog owners are the primary party responsible for making sure their dog doesn’t bite another patron at a restaurant. However, there may be certain situations when a restaurant may be held liable as well. Under premises liability law, restaurant owners are required to use reasonable care to keep guests on their property safe. If the restaurant is deemed to have failed to maintain safe conditions, they may be held liable as well.
This may occur if staff fails to request that an owner remove their dog from the restaurant when the dog is acting aggressively or barking loudly. It may also be held liable if a staff member intentionally acts in a way that provokes the dog, resulting in an attack that injures a patron.
Pushchak Law Can Help if You’ve Been Injured in a Dog Bite Attack
If you’ve been injured in a dog bite attack at a restaurant in the Denver area, Pushchak Law can help. Brian Pushchak has made dog bite cases a primary focus of his practice, and he knows all the complex laws governing your claim. He will carefully investigate the details surrounding your dog bite attack to determine whether the restaurant owner or any additional parties other than the dog’s owner may be liable for your injuries. By holding all negligent parties accountable in your lawsuit, Mr. Pushchak will give you the greatest chance of a maximizing your compensation.
In addition, you’ll benefit from our exclusive Informed Decisions Approach™ which ensures you receive the best possible outcome to your case. As part of this approach, you will always remain in control. Mr. Pushchak will arm you with the information necessary to truly understand your options. He’ll explain all potential legal strategies with you in detail and work with you to determine the right strategy to achieve your desired outcome. In addition, you will have access to Mr. Pushchak’s personal contact information, ensuring you can always reach him if you have questions or would like an update on your case.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Pushchak Law serves clients in Denver and the surrounding areas of Colorado.
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