The military and many police forces use dogs to make arrests and perform patrols, and laws in many states protect officers from legal action in the event of injury to another person. However, no protections exist for instances of excessive force, violation of civil rights, and injuries occurring outside the scope of the job. In this article, The Law Offices of Graham N. Wright Braintree MA will explain personal injury law as it pertains to police and military animals.
Suing for Injuries Caused by Military or Police Dogs
The 1964 Civil Rights Act is responsible for most police dog injury claims. Police cannot use excessive force during an arrest; if this occurs, the department is forced to offer compensation. In some instances, officers are punished and made to pay punitive damages. Federal laws offer some advantages to victims, in the form of a longer filing deadline and awarded attorney’s fees.
Courts have upheld officers’ right to use dogs to detain a suspect when necessary. In one case, the court stated that the detainment was unreasonable because officers did not allow the suspect to surrender before releasing the dog. Another man, who received a traffic violation, successfully sued the city after being attacked by a police dog. The man ran away, and was bitten by a dog trained to bite and hold suspects. His femoral artery was severed and he won a significant settlement.
If a Dog Attacks a Non-Suspect
Police dogs biting people outside the scope of their ’employment’ leave their owners vulnerable to liability suits. In most states, dog bite laws concerning private citizens cover police dogs in these situations.
Factors in Deciding a Dog Bite Case
Excessive force is a primary factor when dogs are used in police work, and is measured based on the attack and injuries to the government’s interest in the case. Other factors affecting case outcomes include:
1. The nature of the crime
2. Whether the suspect was considered armed and dangerous
3. Whether the suspect was running away
4. Whether the suspect resisted arrest
5. The number of bites occurring
6. Whether the officers could have used non-violent methods to perform the arrest
Hiring a Lawyer in Braintree MA After a Police Dog Bite
If a police or military dog has bitten you, you should call a lawyer right away or visit www.gnwlaw.com. A Personal injury Lawyer in Braintree is trained to evaluate every case, and can protect your rights while helping you make a recovery for your injuries.