In many states, it is not necessary to find negligence in order to prevail in a dog bite injury lawsuit. For example, Massachusetts courts apply a strict liability rule to dog owners in attempting to keep others safe from dog bites or dog attacks. This means that so long as the injured party was not trespassing, teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog, the owner is liable for any and all injuries sustained. State police agencies are no exception to this duty of care. Police departments frequently use dogs to aid in law enforcement in specialized K-9 Units. Police dogs are often trained to search for drugs and to attack aggressive suspects. Regardless, even trained police dogs are still animals, with animal instincts and tendencies. An otherwise well-mannered or trained dog may still have the capacity to cause harm, which is why there is a duty of care on the dog’s owner to secure his or her dog and keep others safe from harm.
A record $2 million settlement has been reached in St. Paul, Minnesota after a man was very badly injured by a police dog. Police officers responded to a dispatch call involving a large group of people fighting, one of whom allegedly was carrying a gun. When the K-9 unit arrived on scene shortly after 10 p.m., they found no fight in progress. They did see a male sitting in an SUV who matched the description of the person claimed to be carrying the gun.
Officers ordered the man out of his car with both hands up in the air. The man got out of the vehicle, with only one hand raised in the air, and was reportedly slow in response to raise the other. As a result, one officer released the K-9 on the suspect, who was then kicked by another officer and placed in handcuffs. No gun was ever found on the man, in his SUV or in the surrounding area. The victim filed personal injury claims against the city and the police department, alleging that the injuries suffered from the K-9 attack left him in the hospital for over two weeks. The $2 million settlement was the largest in city history.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a dog, please contact our expert Massachusetts personal injury lawyers and speak with one of our dog bite attorney specialists, who will work tirelessly on your case to see that you are financially compensated. Call us 24/7 at 617-787-3700 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for your free and private consultation.