Dog Bite Injuries
No matter how friendly a dog can be, parents should always be careful when their children are around a strange dog. This is true even if visiting a family friend or relative. Almost half of all dog bites happen by a dog known to the victim. According to the CDC, dogs bite 4.5 million people each year. 1 out of every 5 dog bites will require medical attention.
How Serious Can a Dog Bite Be?
While we may think of a dog bite being a nip from a snippy pet, they can be very serious. Dog bites can range from flesh wounds to serious injuries that require hospital stays and surgery. Some dog attacks can result in death. Young children are most likely to suffer the worst from a dog bite. Someone’s dog might still harm even children who have grown up around dogs and understand dog behavior.
Who Is Responsible When a Dog Bites?
Dog owners are responsible for their dogs’ behavior. They are responsible for any injuries that occur when their dogs bite people. Anyone who owns property assumes responsibility for any foreseeable harm it causes to someone else. Dogs are legally considered property. Thus, dog owners are liable for the consequences of their dogs’ actions (with some exceptions, as noted below).
Homeowner’s insurance may cover some or all of the damages. However, in the event that it doesn’t, the owner themselves may be held liable for the harm their dog caused. Whenever a homeowner invites someone onto their property, they are automatically assuming responsibility for the people on their property. The homeowner assumed any injuries or harm that could occur due to something on that property.
What Is the Law on Dog Bites?
In Colorado, anyone who suffers a severe bodily injury from a dog has the right to sue. It doesn’t matter whether or not the dog had the propensity to be vicious before the attack, or if the owner knew the dog had a propensity for violence. However, a court may not hold a dog owner liable if:
- the victim was unlawfully on the property
- the property was clearly marked with “no trespassing” or “beware of dog” signs
- the victim knowingly provoked the dog
- the victim is a certain type of professional who works with dogs and was working with the dog in a professional capacity, or
- the dog was working at the time.
However, these exceptions may not apply to children too young to provoke a dog, work with them professionally, or to understanding trespassing.
At Kidneigh & Kaufman, our lawyers understand the harm a dog bite can cause. If someone else’s dog seriously injures you or a loved one, contact us at our offices in Colorado at 303-393-6666 to speak to a personal injury lawyer. You may be able to recover damages from the dog owner to cover medical expenses and other losses.
 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-124(2); Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 11-1025 (2)
 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-124(5)