They’re often described as humanity’s best friends, but not much is friendly about the dogs that bite millions of people per year in the United States. Sure, dog bite incidents vary widely. In many cases, the animal itself isn’t so much to blame as its owners are. With average hospital stay costs in excess of $18,000, however, it’s clear that someone needs to assume liability for the horrific aftermath that dog bite victims endure.
How does Colorado law provide for dog bite sufferers? Here’s what you should know.
Understanding dog bite incidents
No matter what irresponsible owners claim, dog bites aren’t always just minor nips. In many cases, they deal lasting emotional trauma. Regardless whether victims are children, senior citizens or even relatively healthy adults, bites can be life-altering – and potentially fatal.
The costs associated with dog bites can include everything from emergency room treatment and ongoing medical expenses to therapy or lost wages. Some studies suggest that when known trouble breeds like pit bulls encounter children, victims are more likely to require surgical intervention, pay higher hospital bills and fall into deeper comas.
Understanding the rights of victims
Colorado law imposes strict liability on dog owners whose pets inflict injuries or death. This means you don’t have to show that the dog had a history of vicious behavior. Nor does it matter whether the dog was an aggressive breed.
The law provides a handful of exceptions to this liability. For example, victims can’t recover compensation if they were trespassing or knowingly provoking the animal.
Apart from the statute, dog bite victims may also decide to seek compensation under common law. However, this requires proving that the animal had aggressive tendencies. If successful, these claims can result in greater damages than those available under the statute.
When you’re struggling to recover from a traumatic attack, exploring your legal options on your own can be challenging. Victims may find that talking to a legal professional facilitates their quest to move forward and gain closure.