It’s not uncommon to see ‘Beware of Dog’ or ‘Dangerous Dog’ signs posted in yards or on fences throughout Colorado. While these certainly serve as an important warning to others, many pet owners also believe they provide legal protection. This raises the question of whether a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign protects dog owners from liability in Denver.
As with most legal issues, the answer can be complex.
Do ‘Beware of Dog’ Signs Protect Colorado Dog Owners?
Colorado dog bite laws include a strict liability provision. This establishes instances where a canine owner can be held legally responsible for a victim’s damages without negligence first being established. The law states that strict liability exists when serious bodily injury occurs after a dog bite attack where the victim was lawfully on public or private property.
However, the law lists specific exceptions to this rule. One of these exceptions is when a warning sign is clearly posted on the property. This means that a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign in Colorado can eliminate potential liability for canine owners if their pet attacks someone. However, the sign must be in a conspicuous place where people can see it.
Can You File a Lawsuit if a ‘Beware of Dog’ Sign Was Present?
As mentioned, a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign must be posted conspicuously so people can see it. If it’s not, then bite victims can claim they were not given adequate warning. What if the warning was posted in such a conspicuous place, though? Are Denver dog bite victims simply out of luck? Is a posted sign essentially a “license to bite” for dangerous animals?
Not necessarily. While a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign may protect dog owners in Colorado from strict liability, it will not necessarily shield them from negligence lawsuits. A Denver personal injury attorney can help you better understand your situation, but if it’s proven that a dog owner acted negligently, they may be held liable for any financial damages or other losses you suffered.
Do You Have a Valid Legal Claim?
Whether you have a valid Denver dog bite lawsuit will depend on many different factors. The elements of the law we’ve discussed so far are important, but you should never forget that such statutes have nuances. For instance, Colorado’s modified comparative negligence could bar a victim from receiving damages in a lawsuit if they were at least 50% at fault for their injury.
On the other hand, a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign may not always protect a dog owner from liability. This is true under strict liability laws and in personal injury claims. Every case is different, so it’s important to speak with a legal professional to better understand your rights. Our law firm is ready to help. Contact us today to learn more.