Whether a person owns a dog as a companion, a working animal, a security measure, or a service animal, they are responsible for the actions of any animal they own. However, state laws concerning owner liability in the event of a dog bite can be complex. Each dog attack case takes into account the seriousness of any injuries, what steps the owner took to control their pet, whether the injured party was legally permitted to be on the owner’s property at the time of the attack, and whether the owner knew of the dog’s dangerous nature.
Due to this complexity, you may need assistance from a skilled personal injury attorney if you suffered an injury after a dog attack. A Colorado Springs dog bite lawyer could help investigate your situation and work through the challenges that may arise in your dog bite case.
For most dog attack claims in Colorado Springs, courts apply the one-bite rule. This rule states that even if a dog owner was not acting negligently at the time of the attack, that owner may still be liable if they knew or should have known that their dog had violent tendencies. This standard may apply even if the defendant’s dog had no history of violent actions towards other people.
However, this law places a high burden on plaintiffs. It may be necessary to research any disciplinary history of the animal in other civil cases, uncover evidence from local animal control, and perform dispositions with the dog’s owner to discover what they knew about the animal before the attack. A Colorado Springs dog bite attorney could help an injured party investigate their accident in search of evidence that supports their claim under the one-bite rule.
While the one-bite rule may be the only path to recovery for some plaintiffs, extreme cases may allow plaintiffs to turn to another option. Colorado Revised Statute §13-21-124 establishes the laws surrounding dog attacks that result in severe bodily injuries. According to state law, a serious bodily injury is one that results in severe bruising, broken bones, or carries a substantial risk of permanent disfigurement, organ failure, or death.
Under this statute, a dog owner may be liable regardless of the dog’s violent past if the attack takes place on a property where the plaintiff has a legal right to be. As a result, if an attack takes place in public or on a property where the plaintiff was invited, that dog owner could be strictly liable.
It is also important to note that these severe dog bite claims may only seek economic losses. These are typically direct costs associated with the attack, such as medical bills or lost earning capacity. A dog attack lawyer in Colorado Springs could help a victim determine which course of legal action may be best for their particular case.
Pursuing claims for damages following dog bites can be surprisingly complex. Not only must a victim demonstrate their injuries that resulted from the attack, but they also must establish their right to be where the attack occurred and follow a course of action that best fits the facts of their case.
A Colorado Springs dog bite lawyer could help you hold an at-fault dog owner accountable for your losses. Contact an attorney today to schedule a case evaluation.