If you have been injured by a dog bite in Colorado, you are generally entitled to recover for your injuries. Colorado has a specific dog bite statute providing for monetary damages, and even euthanasia of the dog, in addition to general remedies that are available for any negligence claim.
Is insurance coverage available?
Generally yes, it is possible to make an insurance claim for injuries resulting from a dog bite. If the dog owner has homeowners’ or renters’ insurance, liability and medical payments coverage may be available under that policy.
How does the Colorado dog bite statute work?
Colorado’s dog bite statute provides a specific statutory remedy for injuries caused by dog bites. It applies to serious bodily injury, defined as injury “which, either at the time of the actual injury or at a later time, involves a substantial risk of death, a substantial risk of serious permanent disfigurement, a substantial risk of protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part or organ of the body, or breaks, fractures, or burns of the second or third degree.” The dog bite statute also requires the claimant to have been lawfully on public or private property, as opposed to trespassing.
For claims that meet the above criteria, the dog bite statute allows claimants to recover economic damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and future medical expenses such as scar removal. If the dog owner knew of the dog’s vicious or dangerous propensities, a court can also order that the dog be euthanized at the owner’s expense.
Importantly, the dog bite statute does not provide for recovery of non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. However, the dog bite statute does not prevent an injured party from pursuing other claims which might entitle him or her to recover for pain and suffering, such as negligence, in addition to the statutory claim.
Can I recover non-economic damages on a dog bite claim?
Yes, but generally not under the dog bite statute. Recovering for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering generally requires showing that the dog owner was negligent. It may make sense to pursue your claim under the dog bite statute, as it generally requires no showing that the dog owner was negligent, as well as asserting a negligence claim.