There is little doubt that we are a nation of dog lovers. There are nearly 70 million of the canine companions in this country. So it should come as no surprise that a dog bites someone every 75 seconds – about 4.5 million bites a year – sending about 1,000 people to emergency rooms and urgent care centers every day. One out of every five of those bites ends with an infection.
While most dog bite victims are children – particularly those aged 5 to 9 years old – men also receive far more bites than women. Sadly, more than half of these attacks occur in the home with the family pet, rather than a strange dog. But strange dogs can be just as aggressive. Our dog bite attorneys in Denver can help you if you have been bitten.
Playing to the stereotype, dogs attacked more than 6,750 U.S. postal workers last year. Denver, in fact, ranks as the country’s seventh-worst place in the country for postal workers, based on an annual report by the Postal Service. Nearly 50 dogs bit letter carriers last year in Denver, a 24 percent increase in bites over the year before. If you are a letter carrier out of work due to a dog bite, you may be eligible for loss of income damages. This is where one of our personal injury lawyers who specializes in dog bites specifically can help. We can help make sure you are compensated throughout the healing process.
These incidents can take place regardless of the animal’s environment. But there are still too many negligent owners. People get bit by dogs all the time, but each incident is as unique as the personality of the dog – or the owner’s behavior. Each case has its own set of factors that will dictate any judgments and subsequent settlements. Burg Simpson’s dog bite attorneys are committed to helping dog bite victims.
Over the last 12 years, just two dog breeds have been responsible for more than three-quarters of all fatal dog bites: Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. Serious or fatal dog bites are most likely to come from just a few breeds, such as:
Pit bulls – This is actually a group of similar breeds, often including the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and sometimes the American Bulldog.
Rottweilers – While many consider these dogs to be good-natured, they can be particularly aggressive toward strangers.
German Shepherds – These dogs can be overly protective of family members and have one of the strongest bites in terms of pounds per square inch.
Chow Chow – These animals are naturally aggressive and loyal to usually only a single owner. They’re also notoriously difficult to train.
Mixed Breeds – This includes what are more commonly referred to as mutts.
For years, Colorado followed the so-called “one-bite rule,” an historical legal principle that held “that the owner of a domesticated animal will be held strictly liable for injuries caused by the animal only if the owner knew or should have known about the animal’s dangerous or vicious propensities, which have been manifested in the past.” This statute, then, placed the burden of proof on the injured party when seeking compensation. Colorado joined the majority of other states in 2005 when it abandoned this outdated common law in dealing with dog bites.
Now, under Colorado’s strict liability law, dog owners can be held responsible for damages during a personal injury case the first time their dog bites someone, regardless of what the owner knew of the dog’s disposition. However, the owner is strictly liable only if the victim “suffers serious bodily injury or death.”
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Every case has its own set of circumstances, though, so each one needs to be reviewed carefully. Was the victim on public or private property? Was their presence lawful? Where was the animal? Where was the owner? Did the victim do anything to provoke the dog? Was the dog working? How serious is the injury? When should I get in touch with a dog bite attorney?
It sounds like such a simple thing: A dog bit you. But changes in the law – and the details of the circumstances surrounding the incident can make such an event much more complex than you think. If you have been bitten by a dog, you need to talk to one of our specialized dog bite lawyers in Denver as soon as possible.