Did you know that Colorado is one of the most pet-friendly states in America? Recently, a home-safety products review company named SafeWise ranked Colorado as the #2 safest state for pets. Their study drew from multiple reputable sources, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Animal Legal Defense Fund, to come to their conclusions. SafeWise even ranked Colorado as having the country’s fourth-best animal protection laws. A dog may be man’s best friend, but Colorado is a dog’s best friend!
Unfortunately, this still cannot keep dog bite accidents from happening. Although most dogs are docile and agreeable creatures, there is always a risk that comes with dealing with any animal. A neglected, poorly trained or provoked dog may be particularly likely to attack. A dog bite can be more than just painful—it can be incredibly dangerous and put you at risk for infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 1 in 5 dog bite victims will require medical attention. Do you know what to do after a Colorado dog bite accident?
Any dog has the potential to be dangerous, no matter its size or breed. When a dog bites, it is almost always doing so as a reaction to something. For most dogs, biting comes as a defensive action. They may feel scared, stressed, possessive, or otherwise threatened. Some dogs may bite to protect something valuable to them (such as their food, their young, or even their toys).
For other dogs, biting may be a symptom of physical illness. They may not be feeling well and lash out because they want to be left alone. Biting may also be part of “play” for some dogs, especially younger pups. While such bites are not meant to be malicious, they can still cause serious harm.
A dog may attack while seemingly unprovoked. In such cases, the dog was likely enacting responses they learned while being raised or trained. For example, dogs with a history of abuse may be predisposed to attack those who physically resemble their abusers. Dogs that are left neglected and chained may also lash out. The same applies to dogs that were never properly socialized with people.
The good news is that most dog bite accidents are 100 percent preventable. Since most animals bite defensively, it is crucial to exercise proper safety cautions when interacting with a dog. Never pet a dog without permission from its handler, and allow the dog to see and sniff you before you try to touch it. A dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for its puppies will not want to be disturbed.
Furthermore, do not make any sudden movements or loud noises when an unfamiliar dog approaches you. Fleeing from a dog will only make it want to chase you. Try to remain as calm as possible. Avoid making any direct eye contact with the dog. Doing so can be seen as threatening. Make yourself seem imposing without seeming aggressive by keeping your body turned at least partially to the side. With your elbows in, slowly raise your hands to your neck. Wait for it to pass. If the dog knocks you over instead, curl into the fetal position. Keep your head tucked and your hands covering your ears and neck.
If you get bitten or attacked by a dog, try to put an obstacle (such as a bag or jacket) between you. Do not try to get back up after being knocked out. Wait for the dog to pass. Once you are able, wash your wounds with soap and water. For minor injuries, apply an antibiotic cream and cover with a clean bandage. Seek medical attention if the dog that bit you was acting strangely; if you develop a fever; or if your wound becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen. Apply pressure to any deep wounds with a clean, dry cloth. Seek medical attention immediately if:
You may also want to consider reporting the accident to your local animal control agency or police department, especially if you suspect the dog may have rabies.
Did you know that Colorado has a dog bite statute? Colorado Revised Statute Section 13-21-124 outlines strict liability rules for any dog bite accident that results in serious bodily injury. Any injury that involves substantial risk of (1) death, (2) permanent disfigurement, or (3) impairment of the function of any part or organ of the body may be considered serious bodily injury.
Furthermore, any dog that has bitten someone will be subject to the “one bite” rule. If the dog’s owner knew that the dog had attacked someone before or was likely to attack, then the owner may be held liable. However, this may not apply in cases where the victim ignored “beware of dog” signs, provoked the dog, or was trespassing at the time of the accident.
Dog bite accidents can be incredibly frightening and sometimes even life-threatening. Most homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies will cover dog bite liability expenses, and most dog bite settlements will be paid by an insurance company. As businesses, insurance companies have every reason to minimize your payout. (After all, every dollar to you comes out of their own pockets.)
After going through such a stressful event, you deserve some peace of mind. We at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based law firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country. You should never have to pay for someone else’s mistakes. Let us fight for you and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced nationwide dog bite accident attorneys.