The “one bite rule” goes as far back as the 1600s. Also referred to as the “one free bite rule”, it is the legal doctrine that establishes the liability for owners of dogs or other domestic animals for injuries caused by the animal. Dog bite laws vary from state to state, but they all place liability squarely on the dog owner. If you’ve suffered serious bodily injury due to a dog bite in Colorado, you have options. A Colorado personal injury attorney can advise you of those options and your rights under the state’s dog bite laws.
The “One Bite Rule” Defined
Only 16 states in the U.S. adhere to the “one bite” or “one free bite” rule. The “one bite rule” protects a dog owner from liability for the first injury or first bite inflicted by his dog unless one can establish liability upon other grounds. A dog owner can held liable if his dog bites someone and has previously bit someone, and the owner knew his dog would bite people. Colorado does not adhere to a “one bite” or “one free bite” rule.
Colorado Dog Bite Laws
A dog owner is liable if his dog seriously injures another person, whether or not the owner knew his dog was dangerous and whether or not the dog was dangerous. If the dog attacked unprovoked or the victim was not trespassing at the time of the injury, the victim could recover damages. An experienced Colorado personal injury attorney will review your case to determine the extent of liability on the part of the dog owner.
A crucial element of cases involving dog bites is the degree of dangerous propensity, or a dog’s tendency to bite without provocation. The intention of the dog does not matter (i.e., to herd, guide or kill). What a personal injury attorney must establish is that a dog has a propensity to bite. Some characteristics that may deem a dog as having a dangerous propensity include:
- A dog biting a person unprovoked;
- A dog previously bites a person who provoked the attack;
- A dog follows a person for 50 feet while barking, before attacking the person;
- A dog is trained to fight/kill other dogs;
- The dog is a pit bull and barks and lunges at children
- The dog is an Akita
- The dog runs loose and barks and lunges at a stick in a vicious manner;
- The dog is a guard dog
- The dog chases cars and other vehicles
- The dog chases people but doesn’t bite them
- The dog is a nursing female that bites someone who comes close to the pups.
How Can a Colorado Personal Injury Attorney Help?
A dog attack leaves deep physical, emotional and psychological wounds that take a long time to heal and often leaves permanent scars. The experienced Colorado personal injury attorneys at the O’Connell Law Firm will be sympathetic to your circumstances while ensuring that the dog owner is held accountable and that you the fair compensation you deserve for your injury. Contact the firm for your free initial consultation.