The Weinberger Law Firm
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28 Aug 2017


Personal Injury Attorney

Getting attacked by a dog can cause a lot of serious injuries that can lead to physical, emotional and financial suffering. California has a strict liability statute which means the owner of the dog is held responsible the moment a bite occurs.

But what happens if the dog is part of a government entity? The first thing you should do if you get attacked by a dog, is contact an experienced attorney who can evaluate your case and look to see what the best option is.

Police departments across California use K9 unites to assist in law enforcement. Dogs are extremely intelligent and can help detain a suspect, pursue a suspect, identify a suspect by his scent, detect illegal substances, deter crime, protect officers and control crowds. K9 units are specifically trained to not severely harm individuals, including avoiding any bites in areas such as the neck, face or spinal cord. Although, for the most part government agencies are immune from dog attacks by K9 units, there are times when police dogs attack the wrong person or are not trained in a proper way making them liable in certain situations. Again, the best way to deal with any dog attack is by contacting an experienced personal injury attorney with knowledge and expertise in government entities.

California civil code section 3342 states that no one can bring a lawsuit upon a government entity using a dog in any of the following:

  • in the apprehension or holding of a suspect where the employee has a reasonable suspicion of the suspect’s involvement in criminal activity
  • in the investigation of a crime or possible crime
  • in the execution of a warrant
  • in the defense of a peace officer or another person

Bite incidents needs to be thoroughly reviewed to determine whether the dog was necessary, the handler issued the correct commands, and the use of force was justified. It’s also important to note down information such as: the severity of the crime, the behavior of the victim, the personal characteristics of the victim such as race and ethnicity should be tracked to determine whether dogs are used against certain people and not others.

Police dogs are extremely dangerous due to the way they were trained. Dogs are taught a bite-and-hold technique for subduing individuals suspected of crimes. This type of technique applies a greater force which results in more serious injuries, including deep puncture wounds, severe crush injuries, large tissue avulsions and lacerations, wounds necessitating surgical debridement, bony injuries ranging from cortical violations to displaced fractures, neurovascular damage and other wounds prone to infections. If you’ve suffered an injury from a police dog, contact a personal injury attorney at our office immediately.


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