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Brandon, Esq.
Brandon, Esq., Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 1797
Experience:  Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.
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my 15 year old neighbor came into my home uninvited and my

Resolved Question:

my 15 year old neighbor came into my home uninvited and my dog attacked him.no adult was present.am i responsible?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  Brandon, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

PI-Expert :

Hello and thank you for your question today

PI-Expert :

Are you online with me?

PI-Expert :

Welcome to the chat

PI-Expert :

Does your neighbor usually come over?

PI-Expert :

Did he break in?

PI-Expert :

How did he actually get into the house

PI-Expert :

In short, you would not be legally responsible if the 15 year old was 1) trespassing, 2) knowingly took the risk of being injured by the dog, or 3) was breaking the law

PI-Expert :

Otherwise, it is a strict liability tort

PI-Expert :

and you would be liable

PI-Expert :

Here is the text of Colorado's dog bite statute, Col. Rev. Stats. sec. 13-21-124 (Civil actions against dog owners):


13-21-124. Civil actions against dog owners.

(1) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) "Bodily injury" means any physical injury that results in severe bruising, muscle tears, or skin lacerations requiring professional medical treatment or any physical injury that requires corrective or cosmetic surgery.

(b) "Dog" means any domesticated animal related to the fox, wolf, coyote, or jackal.

(c) "Dog owner" means a person, firm, corporation, or organization owning, possessing, harboring, keeping, having financial or property interest in, or having control or custody of, a dog.

(d) "Serious bodily injury" has the same meaning as set forth in section 18-1-901 (3) (p), C.R.S.

(2) A person or a personal representative of 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 knowledge or lack of knowledge of the dog's viciousness or dangerous propensities.

(3) In any case described in subsection (2) of this section in which it is alleged and proved that the dog owner had knowledge or notice of the dog's viciousness or dangerous propensities, the court, upon a motion made by the victim or the personal representative of the victim, may enter an order that the dog be euthanized by a licensed veterinarian or licensed shelter at the expense of the dog owner.

(4) For purposes of this section, a person shall be deemed to be lawfully on public or private property if he or she is in the performance of a duty imposed upon him or her by local, state, or federal laws or regulations or if he or she is on property upon express or implied invitation of the owner of the property or is on his or her own property.

(5) A dog owner shall not be liable to a person who suffers bodily injury, serious bodily injury, or death from being bitten by the dog:

(a) While the person is unlawfully on public or private property;

(b) While the person is on property of the dog owner and the property is clearly and conspicuously marked with one or more posted signs stating "no trespassing" or "beware of dog";

(c) While the dog is being used by a peace officer or military personnel in the performance of peace officer or military personnel duties;

(d) As a result of the person knowingly provoking the dog;

(e) If the 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

(f) 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.

(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed to:

(a) Affect any other cause of action predicated on other negligence, intentional tort, outrageous conduct, or other theories;

(b) Affect the provisions of any other criminal or civil statute governing the regulation of dogs; or

(c) Abrogate any provision of the "Colorado Governmental Immunity Act", article 10 of title 24, C.R.S.
History
Customer:

i am online.he comes over but usually waits outside.he comes over to get his little brother and cousin who plays with my son.on this day he walked in uninvited to get them for dinner but my husband was running down trash and not in the house.my dog bit him severly.

PI-Expert :

Would you be willing to call the cops on him as a tresspasser?

Customer:

yes.

PI-Expert :

That would be your only real option of not being liable for these injuries. If you can prove that he had no reasonable expectation that he was invited on the property

PI-Expert :

And thus he was "unlawfully" on the property

Customer:

he wasnt expected by anyone and walked in without being invited

PI-Expert :

See it's the walked in part that is troublesome here. He would argue that he walked in all the time. It was normal.

PI-Expert :

He had a "reasonable expectation" to be there.

PI-Expert :

So, had you actually called the cops on him, you would have a strong argument in defense

Customer:

he was coming to get his brother but wasn't expected and they arn't welcome to come in

PI-Expert :

So it all comes down to if you told that to a jury, would they believe that he had a reasonable expectation to come into get his brother, or not.

PI-Expert :

If yes, you are liable. If no, you are not. Does that make sense?

Customer:

he has only been in about twice and they lived next to us about 2 yrs.

Customer:

and all the other kids know to knock and wait for us to invite them in

Customer:

they all know about the dogs.i feel he has some responsibility.

PI-Expert :

Usually, under a general claim of negligence, you are absolutely right. However, dog bites are a strict liability tort. This means that either you are liable, or you are not. To not be liable, you need to prove one of the above things I mentioned above. Unfortunately, the law states "a person shall be deemed to be lawfully on public or private property if he or she...is on property upon express or implied invitation of the owner of the property or is on his or her own property."

PI-Expert :

So, you would make the argument that this person was not lawfully on your property (thus you would not be liable), however, they would come back with the fact that they had an implied invitation to be on the property.

PI-Expert :

Then, it would all come down to what a jury believed.

Customer:

what would you recomend for us to use for a defense? i understand being outside uninvited but not just walking in to my house.

Customer:

i would never walk into someones house without expecting consequence.and have taught my children the same.

PI-Expert :

Do you have home owners insurance?

Customer:

no

PI-Expert :

Then, you would either want to settle this claim for as little as possible, as soon as possible. Or you would want to file a formal tresspass claim against the individual, and argue that this person was not legally allowed on the property. They did not knock on a door. They did not call and say they were coming. They simply "broke in."

PI-Expert :

That being said, you may want to consider getting an attorney involved to help deal with this for you.

PI-Expert :

If you decide to hire an attorney a great resource is www.Martindale.com. This is a nationwide directory that is useful in finding highly qualified legal specialists in various fields of law. The lawyers in Martindale are not selected because they paid to be included, but rather because they have been rated by other attorneys as qualified experts in their field. Consider consulting with two or three different attorneys willing to take your case prior to selecting the one you feel most comfortable with.


 

Customer:

do you think it is beatable?

PI-Expert :

I think it is going to be a very hard argument to make, since his brother was inside.

PI-Expert :

You will need to convince a jury that he did not have an implied invitation to come pick up his brother.

Customer:

they also claimed it happend outside.i think they feel somewhat responsoble and are trying to cover their butts

PI-Expert :

Well if it happened outside, then it would be very forseeable that he would be outside to come ring the doorbell to come get his brother. However, since he was inside, you at least have an argument to make.

PI-Expert :

That he trespassed on your property

PI-Expert :

But like I said, it comes down to who is on the jury.

PI-Expert :

So, the best thing you can do, is ask 3 or 4 of your friends how they would decide based on these facts. Keep in mind, that there is no contributory negligence here.

Customer:

how does the common law work. this caught us all off guard.

PI-Expert :

Either he trespassed and you are not liable. Or he had an implied invitation, and you are 100% liable

Customer:

does it sound like he tresspassed?

PI-Expert :

How did he get through the door?

Customer:

he opened it and walked in.

PI-Expert :

I think you can make a solid argument that he did. How did he enter when he came before?

Customer:

the first time he came in was with his family .they gave us a bed and was bringing it in. the second time i was by the door with it open and he came up the porch to get his brother and asked if he could come in to get him and i said yes.

PI-Expert :

Has your dog ever bit before?

Customer:

and those were the only 2 times hes been in . he does not play with my son because my son is only 9. and no my dog never has bit before this is first offense.

PI-Expert :

If his brother was not inside, I would say you have a very strong argument that he was trespassing.

PI-Expert :

With his brother inside, however, I cannot tell you definitively how a jury is going to decide on whether or not they would believe he had an implied invitation to come get him.

Customer:

ok well thank you for your time and expertise.appreciate it.

PI-Expert :

All I can say is that there is enough facts to limit his recovery to his economic damage consisting of all actual costs of treatment, loss of income, and loss of earning power as a result of disability or disfigurement.

PI-Expert :

Not a problem. Have I fully answered your question today?

Customer:

well you helped to give us a better idea of where we stand.

Customer:

what about the dog he is still in custody.and racking up fees?

PI-Expert :

Are they giving you a reason why you can't get the dog back?

Customer:

just going through court process.so i guess no not really.

PI-Expert :

Because as long as the dog hasn't bitten before or there is an argument that you knew of the dogs dangerous propensity you should be able to get him back

Customer:

they are saying he is dangerous

PI-Expert :

So you have tried to pick up the dog and they are telling you no?

Customer:

correct

Customer:

waiting for judges decision

PI-Expert :

You will want to provide proof of vaccinations and proof of a license to the judge. If no evidence exists that the dog has ever been bitten before, you should be able to get him back.

Customer:

ok thank you again.

Customer:

you were a great help.

PI-Expert :

Not a problem. I am glad that I could help. Before you go, please do not forget to provide a positive rating so that I may receive credit for assisting you today.

PI-Expert :

Good Luck! and have a wonderful rest of your day.

Customer:

no problem.you have agood day as well.

Brandon, Esq., Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 1797
Experience: Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.
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