According to some estimates, as many as 2% of Americans are bitten by dogs every year. Most pet owners are responsible and considerate. Unfortunately, however, all too many owners knowingly harbor dangerous dogs and do little to control or restrain them. This negligence and lack of concern puts every member of the public at risk. While anyone can be a victim of a dog attack, the most frequent and most vulnerable victims are children. Of the dog bites requiring hospitalization, over 75% of the victims are children and almost 80% of those involve bites to the head and face.
While these injuries are common, there is nothing common about individual dog bite incidents. Each case has its own unique set of facts and circumstances that may affect the settlement or the judgment.
Pit Bull, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Chow, and Doberman are breeds considered most dangerous. Certain cities in Colorado, including Denver, have banned several specific breeds of dog.
One bite free vs. strict liability.
Colorado recently eliminated its controversial “one bite free” rule, which provided dog owners some immunity under the law if it could be shown that they had no indication prior to the attack that their dog was dangerous. Under the new strict liability laws, dog owners can be held responsible for damages the first time their dog bites someone.
Each case is unique, and in every case the facts will need to be reviewed carefully. Where was the victim? Where was the dog? Where was the dog’s owner? Did the victim do anything to provoke the dog? How serious were the injuries?
Who Is Responsible For Dog Bite Injuries?
The dog’s owner is responsible in most cases for dog bite injuries.
What Is a “One Bite Free” Rule And Does Colorado Have One?
The “one bite free” rule is based on common law that lets some dog owners avoid liability for damages the first time their dog bites someone. This is based on the assumption that the owner did not realize that his or her dog was aggressive. Colorado no longer has a “one bite free” rule but bases dog bite injuries on strict liability. That means that a dog’s owner is responsible for damages even if the dog has never behaved aggressively before.
Are Certain Breeds Of Dog More Dangerous Than Others?
Larger dogs can inflict more damage than smaller ones, but there is no such thing as an inherently dangerous breed, just as there is no such thing as an inherently safe breed. Many owners may try to blame their dog’s aggression on its breed in order to avoid admitting their own responsibility. However, statistics show that the best predictors of dog aggression are not the breed, but the way dogs are treated and trained by their owners.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Bitten By A Dog?
Once everyone has been removed to safety and received emergency medical treatment, it is important to establish who owns the dog and to consult with an experienced dog bite lawyer who can represent your interests.
What Will Happen To The Dog?
Assuming the dog has been captured, it will be quarantined to test for rabies. After that period, assuming it is not rabid, it may or may not be put to sleep.