For many years there was a myth that a dog owner can only be sued for injury by their dog if that same animal has bitten someone else first. This is commonly referred to as the “one bite” rule. The idea is that a bite in and of itself can be a complete accident. Dog owners can do a lot to control their animal, but a dog is still to some extent unpredictable, even if domesticated and tame for years. So, early laws basically gave dog owners a first-time break, but the number of dog bites has triggered medical reviews and law changes over time.
The One-Bite Rule Doesn’t Apply in Colorado
However, many states have now updated their laws to reflect more liability. Colorado is one of those states. In doing so, Colorado dog owners have to pay attention to their animals, proactively control and keep their dog from creating a risk where possible, and to keep a violent-prone dog away from people. Dog owners also have to worry about the past history of their animal too. If a plaintiff can show that the dog had a known history of being violent and hard to control, and the plaintiff was then injured, that can make the owner liable for both injuries and other damages.
Response and Recovery
The first step anyone should take for a dog bite after getting to safety is to receive medical care. A dog bite not only causes immediate injury, the dog teeth and saliva introduce a tremendous amount of bacteria which can trigger an infection. Bites are well known for swelling up as infection starts, and anti-biotics are a typical immediate response to stop things from growing out of control.
Once treated medically, a victim should quickly speak with a Colorado personal injury attorney as soon as reasonably possible. Not only can the attorney quickly collect information and compare it to what’s possible for recovery and liability with the law, an effective lawyer can collect valuable evidence, data and witnesses that can be forgotten or disappear over time. It’s not uncommon in a serious bite for the dog in question to “disappear,” being moved to relatives or relocated under the assumption that if the dog disappears, the case can’t be made. By moving quickly, the facts can be proven far better with immediate facts and statements people remember vividly.
How Colorado Law Works With Dog Bites
Colorado’s law works under the premise of strict liability, which allows a person harmed by a dog to sue the dog owner. This lawsuit is allowed regardless of the history of the dog, whether it’s been peaceful for the last decade or has a bite history prior to the current incident. None of it matters under strict liability. The plaintiff can sue for financial losses as well as other legal losses too. The injury does need to fall into the category of a serious injury, which includes risk of death, risk of disfigurement, ongoing loss of function of a limb or organ, fractures, and burns.
If you’ve been bitten, a Denver dog bite attorney can help. Don’t brush off the matter and hope it gets better. A biting dog is a risk to anyone, even the owner. Get help.