There are many benefits to owning a dog in Fort Collins. However, with those benefits come responsibilities. The most important of those duties is to ensure a dog does not injure or harm another person. When a dog bite results in serious injuries, the dog’s owner may be financially liable for damages.
If you sustained a serious bodily injury from a dog bite, you may benefit from representation by an experienced personal injury attorney. Through the litigation process, your Fort Collins dog bite lawyer could help you recover monetary compensation for your injuries.
Liability for a Fort Collins Dog Bite
Some states use a “strict liability” standard in dog bite cases, meaning that the dog owner is liable regardless of whether they knew the dog was dangerous. Other states use a “negligence” approach where a dog owner only faces liability if they knew or should have known their dog was dangerous.
In a Fort Collins dog bite lawsuit, the severity of the injury will determine the type of claim a plaintiff may bring. When the dog bite results in severe injury or death, the state follows strict liability. When the statute does not apply, a dog attack victim may still bring a negligence action against the owner.
When possible, a Fort Collins dog bite attorney could pursue a strict liability claim instead of a negligence claim. Strict liability has a lower bar to prove a case. With a negligence claim, a plaintiff must establish that the dog owner was aware or should have been aware that the animal was dangerous. With a strict liability claim, a plaintiff only needs to prove a dog bite injured them.
However, a strict liability claim is only available in cases where the dog bite occurred in public or on private property in Fort Collins where the victim was not trespassing. What’s more, the bite must also result in serious bodily injury or death. Serious bodily injury involves:
- A substantial risk of death
- Risk of permanent injury
- The potential loss of the use of an organ or body part, or
- Broken bones
Only certain damages are available with a strict liability claim. A plaintiff may only recover economic damages resulting from a dog bite. These damages include medical bills, lost wages, and diminished future earning capacity. They do not cover non-economic damages like pain and suffering or the loss of consortium.
While it is more difficult to prove, a plaintiff may still bring a negligence claim against the dog owner even if they cannot file for strict liability. In a negligence claim, the Fort Collins dog bite attorney must establish that the owner knew about the dog’s violent nature. Typically, this occurs by proving the dog has bitten someone before.
Discuss your case with a Fort Collins Dog Bite Attorney
Pursuing two different theories in a dog bite lawsuit can be challenging. However, this approach is often your best chance for monetary recovery. Have an attorney at Mac Hester Law help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact a Fort Collins dog bite lawyer as soon as possible.