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Dog Bites

We are experienced attorneys serving dog bite victims in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado and we produce the results to back it up.

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Dog Bite


We recovered $50,000 for a client who suffered a dog bite to his hand.

About Us We are a collaborative team with the ability to deliver for you.

All of our lead attorneys have extensive litigation experience against insurance companies. Our attorneys have secured multi million-dollar judgments and settlements. Many of our attorneys previously worked defending insurance companies. Now we use their experience and insight to advocate for our clients against those same insurance companies.

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We know how confusing it can be after an accident. Who will pay for your medical treatment? Should you talk with the insurance company? Here’s some common questions and answers as a starting point.

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  • Some people try to settle their personal injury case without a lawyer. They think that lawyers are too expensive, or that they can do it on and get the same result. This approach rarely works. The insurance companies’ lawyers and adjusters are skilled at lowballing people who do not have a lawyer. Injured people are not aware of what damages they can recover and fail to ask to be compensated appropriately.

    We frequently see insurance companies offer injured people a small amount of money to settle their claim, even though their damages are ten times that amount. Some clients come to us after they have battled the insurance company for years and gotten nowhere.

    Hiring a personal injury attorney will result in a better recovery for you. At HSD Law, we pride ourselves on making sure we add value to every clients’ case. Hiring an attorney provides numerous benefits:

    • Insurance companies more fairly evaluate claims once an injured person is represented by a lawyer. If an insurance company lowballs our client, then it faces litigation.
    • We read the fine print in all available insurance policies—this includes both the at-fault party’s insurance policy and our clients. We check to see if the at-fault party has an umbrella policy, or if there is additional coverage under an employer. We review our client’s policies for Med-Pay Coverage and Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage to ensure that no money is left on the table. We also help negotiate any subrogation claims that are asserted by a client’s health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare.
    • We maximize clients’ financial recovery because we know which categories of damages an injured person can recover. We work with our clients to articulate their economic and non-economic damages and gather the evidence to support the claim. When a client’s injuries result in permanent impairment, we are experienced at attributing a monetary value to the claim.
    • We make the insurance company pay the full amount billed for your medical services—not the amount actually paid for the services by your health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare.
    • We are skilled at valuing a client’s non-economic damages—this includes pain and suffering, inconvenience, and loss of enjoyment. The more severe the injuries, the greater the non-economic damages. Knowing how to evaluate, articulate, and demand payment of non-economic damages can only be gained through years of experience handling these types of claims.
    • We pay close attention to how the injuries will affect our clients in the future. We speak with doctors regarding future medical treatment our client needs and then calculate the client’s future medical expenses. When appropriate, we also consult with economists regarding what income a client will lose in the future and to calculate a client’s diminished earning capacity.

    Don’t go it alone. Together we can achieve excellent results.

  • This is one of the most frequently asked questions. It can be answered, but the answer depends on the specific facts of your case. In meeting with many people over many years, we’ve often heard people say that they’ve read that their case is worth some multiple of the amount of their medical bills. They ask things like, “Should pain and suffering be three times (3x) the total medical bills?” or “What is the non-economic to economic damages ratio?”

    But determining the amount you are owed actually has nothing to do with any kind of multiplier or factor. The amount of your pain and suffering and changed quality of life are completely independent from the amount of your medical bills. Consider these two cases as examples.

    In Case 1, a person is in a high-speed crash. The car rolls several times and looks like a crushed tin can. The driver is immediately taken to the hospital by ambulance. The driver is shaken up, has some sore spots and is understandably in shock. Because of the powerful forces in such a crash, the emergency room doctor orders a full set of CT scans or MRIs to make sure there are no serious internal injuries. Fortunately, the driver has escaped any serious or lasting injury. She feels better and doesn’t seek any follow-up care. She takes it easy for a few days and continues to feel better. Within a week, she’s pain free and back to normal. We’ve seen folks in this scenario many times. Her medical bills are relatively high because expensive scans and emergency room care were provided. She also has a non-economic damages claim for pain and suffering, but how great is that compared to her relatively expensive medical bills? Her pain and suffering damages may be less than her total medical bills.

    In Case 2, a person suffers a severe, permanent injury that cannot be repaired, such as paralysis or traumatic amputation of a limb. He receives initial medical treatment, but the treatment is mainly to stabilize the condition. There are no long-term medical expenses because the injury cannot be healed. He must live with the permanent impairment for the rest of his life. He struggles to care for himself day-to-day. He cannot do the hobbies and other activities he enjoyed for recreation. His medical bills are relatively low compared to the severity of the injury. But his damages for permanent impairment, disfigurement, permanently changed quality of life and pain and suffering are immense. They will be many, many times greater than his total medical bills.

    An accurate determination of what your case is worth requires knowing the details of how your life was affected, the severity and duration of your pain, your long-term prognosis and medical needs, and whether you have any permanent impairment. The truth is, no one knows exactly what your case is worth unless you go through a trial and a jury decides it for you. But by applying our experience to the specific facts of your case, we can provide you with the likely range of outcomes.

  • Payment for your medical treatment remains your responsibility. If you have MedPay coverage under your own auto insurance policy, you may be able to bill some of your treatment through that insurance coverage. Aside from MedPay coverage, your health insurance carrier is required to cover your medical treatment related to your injury. Once your claim is resolved, your health insurance carrier will be reimbursed for what it paid for your treatment.

Overview Here’s everything you need to know.

How Dog Bites Can Happen

Dog bites can occur in any setting and are often unpredictable. Many of our clients who have suffered from a dog bite were bitten by a dog who had not shown a previous propensity of danger. However, in some instances, a dog bite is a result of a vicious dog which has previously been known as dangerous or vicious. Despite the personality of the dog, dog bites are often serious and lead to permanent injuries and disfigurement.

Typically dog bites occur when a dog is scared, or surprised, and it bites as a matter of self-defense. Dog bites can occur on any part of the body, but typically occur on the extremities or on the face. Facial dog bites frequently occur when one is bending down to pet a dog or is otherwise face to face with the dog. Some dogs bite when they are off leash and feel threatened by pedestrians or bicyclists.

Be sure to look for signs that a dog should not be approached. Dog owners may have posted warnings about their dogs in the form of a “Beware of Dogs” sign. Other tips to protect yourself are below:

  • Beware of a dog you have never met. Often dogs attack when the person is a stranger and unknown to the dog. Do not pet a dog you have not met without the owners’ permission. Even then, pet the dog at your own risk
  • Keep your dogs on leash and stay clear of dogs off leash. Most local governments have a leash law requiring that dogs are on leash in public. Follow that law and avoid a confrontation between dogs off leash
  • Do not come face to face with a dog. Many children are bit as a result of a lack of self-awareness around a dog. Many children come face to face with a dog because they are similar in height, or it is easy for the child to bend down and pet the dog. This can threaten the dog resulting in a bite
  • Stay away from fenced dogs. Provoking a dog on the other side of a fence can cause the dog to become aggressive and bite as a matter of self-defense. Do not pet a dog over a fence and do not look over a solid fence. Without knowing where the dog is located, you risk a dog bite to your face or hand.

Common Injuries Sustained from Dog Bite Injuries:

Common dog bite injuries include:

  • Puncture Wounds
  • Fractures
  • Dislocations
  • Infection
  • Lacerations
  • Scarring
  • Permanent Disfigurement

Your Dog Bite Claims

According to Colorado dog bite law, “[a] person who suffers serious bodily injury or death from being bitten by a dog while lawfully on public or private property shall be entitled to bring a civil action to recover economic damages against the dog owner regardless of the viciousness or dangerous propensities of the dog or the dog owner’s lack of knowledge or lack of knowledge of the dog’s viciousness or dangerous propensities.”

Serious bodily injury is defined as “bodily 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.”

Dog owners are not liable for dog bites when the following occurs:

  • When a person is on public or private property illegally
  • When a person is on the property of the dog owner and the property is clearly and conspicuously marked with one or more posted signs stating “no trespass” or “beware of dog”
  • While the dog is being used by a peace officer or military personnel in the performance of peace officer or military personnel duties
  • When the bite occurs a result of a person knowingly provoking the dog
  • When a person is a veterinary health care worker, dog groomer, humane agency staff person, professional dog handler, trainer, or dog show judge acting in the performance of his or her respective duties; or
  • While the dog is working as a hunting dog, herding dog, farm or ranch dog, or predator control dog on the property of or under the control of the dog’s owner.

In Colorado, a dog owner is strictly liable for economic damages caused as a result of the dog bite. This includes medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional stress, and permanent disfigurement (scarring) are determined not in accordance with strict liability, but dependent on the circumstances of how the dog bite occurred. Landowners who rent their property to tenants are only liable in certain instances, including when the landlord had actual knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensities, prior to entering into a lease agreement with the tenant.

Dog bites claims are serious and, in some instances, can be difficult to prove. Contact our attorneys to assist you with your dog bite claim today.