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Dog Bite Lawsuits

Posted on: January 3rd, 2019

Considering Avoiding Dog Bite Lawsuit because You are Afraid for the Safety of the Dog that Attacked You?

We have counseled many clients over the years who were very opposed to raising an injury claim after being seriously attacked by a dog because they didn’t want the dog to be euthanized. Colorado is an incredibly dog friendly place and we want to keep it that way and protect people from irresponsible dog owners.

Dog Attacks

If you have been attacked by a dog, we truly believe this is a failure of the dog owner rather than the animal itself. We believe and provide a lot of resources around responsible dog ownership that strives to prevent dog attacks from occurring. Dog attacks are 100% preventable with responsible ownership and care for the animals. We have yet to represent a client who was attacked by an aggressive animal where the animal had never demonstrated aggressive tendencies prior to the attack. Animals give us a lot of information from their behavior and if we are paying attention as responsible owners then we should be able to protect our animals and others from situations where attacks are likely to occur. In other words, it is highly probable that if you have been attacked by a dog that it was due to irresponsible and careless ownership and could have been prevented.

What to do if You’ve Been Attacked by a Dog

So what do you do if you have been attacked by a dog? First, you obtain the necessary medical care to treat your injuries and prevent infections from occurring. Second, the emergency room will call (as required by Colorado law) and report the attack to animal control. If you did you go to the emergency room, you should call and report the attack to appropriately document the event. A report to Animal Control will NOT result in euthanizing the dog. Animal control departments in Colorado are concerned with rabies and other communicable diseases and will place the animal under a 10-day quarantine for observation purposes and cite the owner for the attack.

We want Animal Control to be involved in the process for several reasons.  First, reporting the incident protects you and others from future attacks. We represented a client who was viciously attacked by her boyfriend’s new dog. He robbed her of the opportunity to protect herself from this animal when he failed to tell her that the dog had recently attacked an eight-year-old and that he adopted the animal and picked it up when it was released from that 10-day quarantine. Had the prior attack on the eight-year-old not been reported, our ability to prove our client’s serious damages would have been impaired. Second, an Animal Control citation permits the Court to require the owner to participate in appropriate training for the dog and to hopefully prevent future attacks. Training for both the animal and the owner is critical in these instances. Lastly, Animal Control involvement can also assist in potentially recovering your out of pocket expenses for the medical treatment you received in the event the dog owner does not have home owners or renters insurance.

Simply because an attack occurred doesn’t inherently mean the animal is beyond hope and needs to be put down. Unfortunately, sometimes it does as the dog represents a serious safety risk. While the context of the attack and what the owner did/didn’t do is critical to this analysis, there are many reasons why we, from a legal perspective, do not want the animal to be euthanized. First, we need to be able to identify by scientific means the exact breed of the animal-not just what the breeder/seller or owner represents. The dog breed can dramatically influence the amount of insurance available for your damages if it the insurance policy prohibits claims (or reduces available coverage) if a certain “dangerous breed” animal is involved. We also want to be able to have our expert (a PhD Animal Behaviorist) evaluate the dog, where it lives, and how it has been treated in order to determine the cause of the attack. Lastly, we love dogs and want them to be happy. If the attack occurred from irresponsible ownership rather than irreparable dangerous tendencies of the dog, then the dog should be provided appropriate training or removed from the care of the owner that isn’t protecting their animal or others.

If you have been attacked and have concerns regarding the safety of the animal, simply call us and we can help achieve all of your goals by presenting your legal claims in an appropriate manner for your case.

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