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Dog Bite Injury Attorney in Fort Collins, CO

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 Attack


We recovered $275,000 for our client who was viciously attacked by a dog on the loose.

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 their own 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 client’s 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 client’s insurance policy. We check to see if the at-fault party has an umbrella policy or if there is additional coverage provided by an employer’s policy. 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 the 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 the client’s medical services—not the amount actually paid for the services by the client’s 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.

We Handle Dog Bite Lawsuits in Fort Collins, CO

Whether you encounter a vicious dog off its leash or your child gets bitten while trying to pet a neighborhood dog, you may have the right to file a dog bite lawsuit. Hadfield Stieben Doutt has extensive knowledge and experience as dog bite injury attorneys, and we can help you navigate the process to get compensation for your personal injury. We understand the many situations that apply to these cases, who is liable for damages, and how to proceed with your claim. If you’ve suffered a dog bite in Fort Collins or anywhere in Northern Colorado, let us help you achieve the best outcome in your personal injury lawsuit.

How Dog Bites Can Happen

Dog bites are unpredictable, and they can occur in any setting. Many of our clients who were victims of dog bites were bitten by dogs with no previous signs for a propensity of danger. There are still some cases when a dog bite came from a vicious dog with previous indications that they’re vicious or dangerous. No matter what the dog’s personality is like, a dog bite is still serious, and it can result in disfigurement and permanent injuries. Dog bites typically occur when a dog is surprised or scared, and it may bite in an effort to defend itself. You can suffer a dog bite on any body part, but it usually happens on the face or extremities. Dog bites on the face typically occur when a person bends down to pet an animal, as well as other situations that bring them face-to-face with a dog. Some dogs may also bite if they’re off their leash and feel threatened by a cyclist or pedestrian. Whatever the case may be, your best action after receiving an injury like this is to contact Hadfield Stieben Doutt to speak with a dog bite lawyer.

Signs You Shouldn’t Approach a Dog

There are telltale signs to look for that indicate you should not approach a dog. You might see posted warnings like “Beware of Dogs” signs that dog owners put up. Other ways to protect yourself from getting bitten by a dog include the following:

  • Be wary of any dog you’ve never met. Often when a dog attacks, it’s because you’re a stranger and they don’t know you. Avoid petting a dog you’ve never met without getting the owner’s permission. Even with permission, you’ll pet the dog at your own risk.
  • Be sure to leash your own dogs and avoid dogs that are off-leash. Most local governments have leash laws that require dogs to be on a leash while in public. Follow your local leash law and stay away from confronted dogs that are off-leash.
  • Never put yourself face-to-face with a dog. Children are commonly bitten because of a lack of self-awareness when they’re around a dog. They come face-to-face with dogs due to their height similarity or because bending down to pet a dog is easy. Dogs may take this as a threat, which can result in a dog bite.
  • Keep your distance from fenced dogs. If you provoke a dog on the other side of a fence, they can become aggressive and bite you in self-defense. Don’t reach over a fence to pet a dog and never look over a solid fence. You risk getting bitten on your hand or face when you don’t know where the dog is located.

Is There a Specific Dog Bite Law in Colorado?

While there isn’t a federal law that pertains to dog bites, city, county, and state law will combine to enact it. The dog bite law in Colorado imposes strict liability on a dog owner when a victim suffers serious bodily injury. In these cases, the dog owner may be required to pay full damages. They may also be liable for lesser injuries. In either case, dog owners can be held liable for negligence or violating an animal control law under the one-bite rule. The one-bite rule applies to situations based on whether the dog’s owner has any previous knowledge of how dangerous it can be. In these cases, a plaintiff needs to prove that the dog has bitten someone before, and the owner was aware of their dog’s previous conduct.

How is Liability Determined in Dog Bite Cases?

When deciding which party is at fault in a dog bite lawsuit, we must determine who owns the offending dog. Like many other states, Colorado imposes strict liability upon a biting dog’s owner. And according to the legal theory, the owner is liable when their animal bites someone, even if they are not aware of the animal’s propensity to be vicious or dangerous, or the dog’s tendency to attack. While it provides for strict liability, the state’s dog bite statute only applies to serious bodily injuries, which relies upon restrictive definitions. Additionally, a victim’s case can only recover for economic damages if it relies solely on Colorado’s dog bite statute.

Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries

A dog bite can cause serious injuries, which can permanently damage or disfigure you. If a dog bites you, reach out to a dog bite injury attorney at HSD Law to learn what compensation you may be entitled to and how to proceed with your case. We are well-versed in handling dog bite lawsuits of all types. Common injuries from dog bites include:

  • Puncture Wounds
  • Lacerations
  • Fractures
  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Dislocations
  • 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 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.”

A dog owner is not liable in the event of a dog bite when any of the following occurs:

  • When a person is on private or public land illegally.
  • When a person is on the dog owner’s property, and it’s marked with one or more clear and conspicuous signs that state “beware of dog” or “no trespass.”
  • While the dog is being used by military personnel or a peace officer while performing military or peace officer duties.
  • When a dog bite occurs as a result of a person intentionally provoking a dog.
  • When a person is a dog groomer, trainer, professional dog handler, veterinary health care worker, dog show judge, or humane agency staff person who is performing their respective duties.
  • While the dog is working as a farm or ranch dog, herding dog, predator control dog, or hunting dog on the dog owner’s property or under their control.

Understanding a Dog Owner’s Liability

In Colorado, a dog’s owner is strictly liable for any economic damages that are the result of a dog bite. This liability includes lost wages and medical bills. Emotional stress, pain and suffering, and permanent disfigurement are considered non-economic damages. They are not determined in accordance with strict liability, but instead, depend on the circumstances applying to how the bite occurred. Landowners renting their property to tenants are only liable in certain cases. This includes when a landlord had actual knowledge of a dog’s dangerous or vicious propensities before entering into a lease agreement with the dog’s owner as a tenant. When a dog bites you, your claim is serious and can be difficult to prove in some cases. Our attorneys can help you with your dog bite lawsuit and pursue the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today to speak with a dog bite injury attorney.