The Exemptions to Colorado Dog Bite Laws

Denver is the capital of Colorado and is located in the western US. Also known as the Mile High City, since it is located one mile above sea level, it is the 19th most populous city in the US. With a high population, a large number of pet dogs is a common factor in Denver.

While dogs are labeled as man’s best friend, they pose a risk of severe bites. As a matter of fact, Denver recorded 117 bites from Pitbull breeds alone in 2021. Such bites can be pretty harmful, causing various injuries such as wounds, fractures, and even fatal infections, which are bound to increase the victim’s medical bills.

Colorado’s dog bite laws hold the pet owner accountable for compensating the victim for economic and non-economic damages. If you think you or your pet has been wrongly accused, you should talk to a Denver dog bite lawyer to help with your case.

However, there are certain exceptions to the statute, which are mentioned below.

Colorado Dog Bite Statute

According to the Colorado dog bite statute, if your dog attacks someone and causes severe injury or property damage, you can be sued for damage compensation by the victim.

Denver is a liability state, wherein the victim can file a personal injury lawsuit against you as the pet’s owner, regardless of your negligence or not. In addition, the Colorado dog bite law, under revised statutes section 13-21-124, implies that the victim can file the case irrespective of your knowledge of the canine’s violent tendencies.

In other words, the lawsuit can be filed without any proof of negligence on your part as the owner in the case of severe injuries. However, they must prove irresponsibility if the damages are non-serious or superficial.

They could also prove your guilt through negligence per se, where they demonstrate that you broke a city law in your conduct with the care of pets.

Defenses And Exceptions to a Dog Bite Lawsuit

There are various scenarios where you can fight the lawsuit and prove yourself or your innocent pet. These include:

  1. Proving that the victim was unlawfully in the land where the incident occurred. Therefore, you cannot be accused if the victim was trespassing on your property when your pet bit them.
  2. If the property was clearly marked “Beware of Dogs” and the victim did not take precautions.
  3. If the victim provoked the canine in a manner that led to aggression, and hence the bite.
  4. If the dog belonged to military personnel and was performing its duties.
  5. If the victim was a dog groomer, professional dog handler, vet, trainer, humane agency staff, or dog show judge performing their duties.
  6. If the dog was a working-class dog, i.e., a hunting dog, ranching dog, or police canine, which was on duty on the owner’s premises when the incident occurred.
  7. When the statute of limitations has passed. As per Colorado law, the victim cannot file a lawsuit against you after two years after the incident, except for a minor.

Before 2005, this list also included the One Bite Law, wherein owners were not liable for their pet’s first bite, stating that they were unaware of the canine’s violent tendencies. However, this exception was revoked, and Denver is no longer a one bite state.

Conclusion

Dog bites are a frequent nuisance and often hazardous to the victim’s health, leading to high medical costs and a degraded quality of life for a while. However, most bites can be prevented with the owner’s efforts in training and controlling their dog.

However, reading a canine’s mind is complex, and their attack cannot be perceived. The victim can sue the owner for damage compensation in such cases. If you believe you were not in the wrong, you can hire a dog bite attorney to guide you through the Colorado dog bite law exceptions and prove yourself not guilty.

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