Most people consider their dog an important part of their family. Dogs can be great companions and provide a great deal of love. However, dogs can also be a danger, leading to serious, disfiguring and in some cases, even fatal injuries.
If you were injured in a dog attack, you might be eligible for compensation to pay for your related medical bills and other economic damages. In some cases, you might even be eligible for compensation for noneconomic damages. At Pushchak Law, we are dedicated to helping ensure a fair outcome to your dog bite case, including all the damages you deserve.
To learn how we might be able to help you, please call 303-372-6145 or contact us today for a free consultation.
Compensation You Might Receive after a Dog Bite in Denver
The law distinguishes between two types of damages: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are compensation for monetary losses related to the dog bite. This can include:
- Medical bills for treatment of injuries
- Aids to help with mobility after injury
- Physical therapy
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Counseling and other treatment for trauma
Compensation can include your current losses as well as those expected in the future. In some cases, you may be eligible to receive compensation for non-economic damages. This might include:
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium
In rare cases, you might even be able to pursue punitive damages.
Colorado Dog Bite Law: Can You Get Compensation?
Most people can seek compensation after being bitten by a dog. However, Colorado law does provide some restrictions and limitations on who can seek damages and what types of damages they can seek. Here’s a brief guide to when you can or cannot seek compensation for dog bite injuries in Denver.
Who Is Not Eligible for Compensation under Colorado’s Civil Actions Against Dog Owners Statute?
Some people are expressly forbidden from seeking compensation for dog bite injuries under Colorado’s “Dog Bite Statute”. You can’t seek economic damages under the dog bite statute if you were bitten:
- By a police dog performing its duty
- By a hunting or herding dog performing its duty
- Because you taunted, teased, or harassed the dog
- While trespassing or not otherwise legally on premises
- While on a property marked with warnings
- While working with the dog in a professional capacity
Like police officers, police dogs have protection under the law for injuries they cause during their normal duties. You cannot normally seek compensation for injuries caused by a police dog during its duties. However, it might be possible to get compensation if you can show that a policeman should not have loosed the dog or ordered it to attack you.
The same goes for hunting and herding dogs. If they bite you while they’re working, you can’t seek damages. This also applies to farm and ranch dogs.
If you are taunting or teasing a dog, you cannot get compensation. Obviously, this is a common defense used by dog owners, so it’s important to collect witness statements about the incident.
You also don’t have a right to seek compensation if you are trespassing or otherwise not legally on the premises where you were attacked. Legally on the premises includes being on public property. It also includes being on private property while fulfilling a professional duty (delivering mail, reading a meter, etc.) or under an explicit or implicit invitation by the property owner.
Even if you were legally on the premises, you can’t seek compensation if the property is clearly marked with appropriate warnings, such as “No Trespassing” or “Beware of Dog.”
Finally, Colorado law says that people can’t seek compensation if they were working with the dog in a professional capacity, such as a vet, dog groomer, dog show judge, humane society worker, dog handler, or dog trainer.
However, just because you may not have a claim under the dog bite statute does NOT mean you do not have a claim under a different legal theory such as negligence or premises liability.
Other than the above exceptions, a dog owner is considered to have “strict liability” for injuries caused by their dog. In all other situations than those listed above, you can seek compensation for economic damages related to serious injury or death caused by a dog bite. You don’t have to prove that the dog owner was negligent or that the dog was known to be dangerous.
Serious injury means:
- Substantial risk of:
- Serious permanent disfigurement
- Protracted loss or impairment of organ function
In these cases, you can get compensation for medical bills and other expenses as listed above.
When You Can Seek Non-Economic Damages
You can’t normally get compensation for non-economic damages related to your dog bite injury under the dog bite statute. However, you can seek non-economic damages if you can show that the dog owner acted negligently or unreasonably failed to protect you from their animal.
Negligence by a dog owner is most often related to ownership of a dangerous dog. A dangerous dog is defined simply as a dog that is known to have vicious or dangerous tendencies. Typically, this is a dog that has bitten someone in the past.
In addition to seeking noneconomic damages, in this situation you can request a Court to Order that the dog be put down.