Most police departments use dogs to detect illegal substances, pursue and detain suspects, and protect their officers.
Police dogs are trained to be dangerous. They’re actually taught to bite and hold onto a suspect’s arm, which causes a wide range of injuries.
A short list of the severe injuries this bite-and-hold technique causes includes puncture wounds, crushed and fractured bones, severe tissue tearing, and nerve damage. And many of their victims are partially or permanently disabled.
Taking legal action against the police department can be intimidating, but police officers and their K9 units make mistakes, too. This leaves more than a few dog bite victims asking, can you sue if a police dog bites you?
Can You Sue If A Police Dog Bites You — Key Takeaways
- Victims of police dog bites can sue the police department using legal theories like police negligence, excessive force, or the violation of constitutional rights. That said, police “K9” dog units have special protections, making a lawsuit complicated.
- Police dogs are used for searching and rescuing, guarding property, and detecting illegal drugs and weapons.
- Victims who were bitten by a police dog often suffer severe injuries and trauma.
- There are cases when the victims of a police dog attack are innocent bystanders or suspects — and suspects aren’t always criminals.
Suing the police isn’t easy. Proving unreasonable police conduct to the court can be a bumpy road. But if you or a loved one were bitten by a police dog unjustly, or if the bite indicates the use of excessive force, you have rights. Holding the police department accountable for misconduct is a civic duty that could help spare future victims.
This article explains exactly what rights you have. We’ll tell you what to do if you are bitten by a police dog. We’ll also detail how you can sue if a police dog bites you and how a seasoned dog bite injury lawyer from our team at Zinda Law Group can help.
Finally, we’ll review the importance of a free attorney consultation as soon after the bite as possible. Going up against the police department in court is tough without representation, especially when you’re seeking financial compensation.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-863-5312
What To Do If a Police Dog Bites You
Document Your Injuries
The first thing to do if you are bitten by a police dog is to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Have the doctor document all injuries while they’re still fresh. Follow their recovery instructions, including going to any follow-up appointments.
It can be easy to assume the injuries aren’t severe when the adrenaline is still pumping, but pictures and tissue damage can be worse than it looks. Failing to get the wounds treated immediately can lead to permanent damage.
Take pictures of your wounds every day to track their healing and identify any complications right away. Keep a “pain journal” where you track your injuries’ impact on your life as it happens. If your injuries interfere with sleeping or washing the dishes, write it down while you’re still frustrated. Be honest about the pain, suffering, and mental anguish the injury causes.
Dog bite lawsuits can draw out for years, especially against the police. Their lawyers will try to use details you can’t recall against you, so all documentation during the healing journey strengthens your case.
Gather evidence, including a copy of the police report.
Write down the names and contact info of any witnesses. Take photos of the area where the dog bite attack happened.
It may take a few weeks for the police to file a report, but stay on them. Ideally, the police report should explain why the police were there, your role in the situation, why the dog was involved, what led to the K9 attack, and if the police rendered medical aid to you.
Again, the police can be difficult and even defensive when they’re accused of using excessive force. We suggest a free attorney consultation early in the process — an experienced dog bite injury lawyer can obtain the police report on your behalf.
Consult a dog bite injury lawyer.
Reach out to an experienced dog bite injury lawyer who can help you navigate the complicated process of suing the police.
Proving the police were liable for the attack or were using excessive force that wasn’t warranted can be difficult. If you weren’t the suspect in the incident, or weren’t found guilty of the crime you were suspected of, you might be able to claim damages.
If you were attacked, knocked down, or bitten by a police dog pursuing someone else, you may also be able to file a claim.
Our in-house team at Zinda Law Group offers a free attorney consultation. We can review the details of your case and let you know what your rights are and how strong your case is at no cost to you.
Can You Sue If You Were Bitten by a Police Dog?
You can sue if you were bitten by a police dog if you were an innocent bystander, or if you can prove the officer’s K9 use was excessive force. Suing the police is tricky, and police dogs have legal privileges that other dogs don’t. We suggest hiring a seasoned dog bite injury lawyer to help.
You can sue if a police dog bites you when:
-Police weren’t allowed to use a police dog.
- While there are special laws in effect at airports, police aren’t allowed to have their dog enter your house without a warrant. And they aren’t allowed to sniff around the outside of your house without a warrant, either.
- Police dogs are allowed to smell around your vehicle during a traffic stop, but they can’t search your vehicle without probable cause.
- Police officers aren’t allowed to order their K9 to attack a detained suspect or a person who isn’t an immediate threat to the officer.
- If you can prove the police used the dog in an unlawful way, you can sue if you were bitten by a police dog.
- A free attorney consultation can cover your situation in more depth
-Using a police dog is considered excessive force.
A police dog is considered a weapon, and the unjust use of a weapon by a police officer is what we call excessive force. If the police dog was ordered to attack a suspect who was already detained and posed no threat, this is considered police brutality.
But police will typically try to make it look like they felt threatened, so the attack was warranted. Again, this is where a seasoned dog bite injury lawyer can help set the record straight.
-Police dogs attack bystanders.
Police dogs have been known to attack innocent bystanders for all the same reasons other animals attack. Some of the most common include.
- Feeling sick or injured
- Feeling threatened
- Aggressive behavior
- Poor training, abuse, or mistreatment
If you were an innocent bystander who had nothing to do with the incident that brought the police into the area, you may be entitled to sue if you were bitten by a police dog.
-Suspects sustain severe or unnecessary dog bite injuries, or if the suspect dies.
Police dog bites can cause far more damage than the injuries caused by domestic dogs. Police dogs are trained weapons that are born to be strong, smart, and dangerous. In some cases, police dogs ignore the officer’s command to yield or release. The dog bite is severe or even fatal. This can be considered police brutality. You’ll have to prove the victim wasn’t antagonizing the dog or the officer and that the nature of the crime the victim was suspected of didn’t warrant lethal force.
So, Can You Sue If A Police Dog Bites You? An Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer from Zinda Law Group Can Help
At Zinda Law Group, our dog bite injury lawyers believe every citizen should know their rights. If you were bitten by a police dog, you might have more legal options than the police would have you believe.
That said, dog bite cases against the police department are complicated, and police dogs have special legal protection where other dogs don’t.
But excessive force and police brutality can happen more than we like to admit. Holding aggressive or poorly trained police dogs accountable for their actions can help make our community a safer place.
If you or a loved one were bitten by a police dog, contact us today for a free attorney consultation. We’ll uncover the facts of your case. If the dog attack violated your rights in any way, the police department could be found responsible for your medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.
So get in contact with an injury attorney from Zinda Law Group now. We offer free consultations and work on contingency-fee agreements. We won’t charge you anything unless we win your case — that’s our No-Win No-Fee Guarantee.