Dogs are widely considered “man’s best friend” and are very popular pets throughout the United States. Most people are fortunate to have mostly positive interactions with dogs, but dog attacks can and do happen, often without any prior warning. While some dogs display aggressive behavior over time and may have several incidents of attacking people unprovoked, other dogs who seem to have no history of aggression can cause devastating injuries seemingly out of nowhere.
It’s natural to have lots of important legal questions in the aftermath of a personal injury, and it’s important to understand state law as it applies to your case. State law enforces strict liability for dog attacks, and this means that a dog owner is fully responsible for any injuries and other damage their pet causes to another person. This may sound straightforward, but it is natural for a dog owner to assert whatever defenses they can find to try and avoid liability for damages. The victim faces the challenge of clearly proving the dog owner’s liability and meeting the procedural requirements of their case imposed by state law.
One of the first rules you must acknowledge if you intend to file any personal injury claim is the statute of limitations or time limit for filing your case. For example, the state’s statute of limitation for dog bite claims is two years, and the time limit begins on the date the attack happened. Many people may see the two-year statute of limitations and believe this to be more than enough time to build and file a civil claim for damages. However, a victim who sustained catastrophic injuries is likely to require a very extensive recovery, and it is also possible that the plaintiff may be taking legal action on behalf of a victim left unresponsive from their injuries.
Whatever your dog bite claim entails, you must meet the statute of limitations or lose your ability to recover compensation from the dog’s owner. Therefore, the best thing for the victim of a dog attack to do after addressing their immediate medical needs is to connect with an experienced attorney. When you have an attorney you can trust on your side, you are more likely to succeed with your civil claim and secure the fullest recovery possible under state law.
A dog bite claim is a type of personal injury claim, and Colorado law enables the victim of a personal injury to claim full compensation for all economic losses suffered because of a defendant’s actions. Economic damages cited in most personal injury claims are property damage, lost income, and medical expenses. Your attorney will be invaluable for accurately calculating the full scope of damages you are eligible to claim, both those incurred immediately after the incident and those you are likely to face in the future as you recover.
State law also permits you to seek pain and suffering compensation. However, this is limited to $250,000 in most personal injury claims. The cap increases to $500,000 when the plaintiff can present clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s liability. Therefore, if you want the best chance of securing as much compensation for your damages as state law allows, it is crucial to have legal representation you can trust on your side as soon as possible after the incident in question.
When a dog injures a person, the state’s law of strict liability applies, and the dog’s owner is fully responsible for all damage the pet causes. The only things the victim must prove for strict liability to apply are that they did not provoke the attack and were legally present wherever the attack happened. The strict liability law does not apply if a dog attacks a trespasser or intruder on private property.
Dogs can easily cause various traumatic injuries, including puncture wounds, lacerations, and crushing injuries when they bite. A dog can also cause the victim to hit the ground, and this can cause broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and many other injuries. Ultimately, any dog attack can be extremely damaging and result in multiple injuries. The victim has the right to seek compensation for all of the attack’s immediate and future medical expenses.
Typically, nothing will happen to the dog responsible for an attack, but the dog’s owner will likely face strict rules for handling the dog and preventing future attacks. If a judge determines that the dog in question is unreasonably dangerous, or if a dog has a history of aggression, the judge may order the dog to be destroyed.
The dog’s owner is liable for any and all medical expenses you incur from the incident, any lost income you experience due to the time you are forced to spend in recovery, and any other economic losses resulting from the incident. If you have a good attorney who can help you make a strong case for maximum pain and suffering compensation, you could potentially secure far more of a recovery than you initially expected. An experienced dog bite attorney can give you an estimate of your case’s potential value.
Hiring reliable legal counsel dramatically increases the chances of reaching a positive conclusion to your dog bite case. Your attorney can handle the procedural requirements of your dog bite claim, handle court filings and preliminary motions, and provide guidance for each new phase of the case. As a result, you are more likely to win your case and maximize your final case award with an experienced attorney’s counsel.
The attorneys at Cheney Galluzzi & Howard have helped many clients recover from incredibly damaging accidents. We know how damaging and traumatizing a dog attack can be and the many legal questions you are likely to have after this kind of experience. If you’re ready to take legal action against the dog owner responsible for your damages, contact us today to schedule a case review and find out how we can assist with your recovery.