In New Jersey, dog owners are generally liable for any injuries caused when their pets bite another person, given that the victim is in a public place or is not trespassing on private property. It usually does not matter whether the dog has any history of vicious behavior.
When an attack involves a police dog, the victims may be able to sue the police department and the animal’s handler or partner. But because K-9 units receive special training to subdue suspects and might predictably cause injuries while doing their job, cases that involve them are often more complex. Here are two examples of lawsuits involving police dog attacks.
Millville Police Department
The family of a New Jersey man filed a lawsuit against the Millville Police Department in 2017. In 2016, the man was the subject of a search involving several police officers and a K-9. Law enforcement reportedly lost control of the dog, which then attacked some of the officers before turning its attention to the man. The man sustained multiple leg and face injuries, including a torn ear.
In the lawsuit, the man’s family alleged excessive force and constitutional rights violations. The court, however, ruled that law enforcement deployed a reasonable amount of force with no malicious intent.
Robbinsville Police Department
A lawsuit filed in 2021 claimed that a K-9 owned by the Robbinsville Police Department and cared for by one of its officers attacked and bit a girl in 2018. The girl was reportedly visiting the dog’s custodian’s home when the attack happened. In the end, the child’s mother decided on a settlement.
A case involving an attack by a police dog is rarely as straightforward as one involving a household pet. Enlisting the assistance of a personal injury lawyer might help you build a strong case that effectively protects your rights.