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Dog Bite Claims and K9 Units

By DiBella Law Offices on April 3, 2020

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K9 units consist of law enforcement officers partnered with highly trained dogs. These canines are specially bred, chosen, and trained for their intelligence and acute sense of smell. K9 unit dogs can be indispensable in law enforcement for narcotics and weapons detection, searching for missing persons, and pursuing fugitives.

K9 units are used in law enforcement throughout the country to serve as watchful guardians for their handlers and members of the public. In some cases, however, K9 unit dogs have been known to bite innocent bystanders. While you may assume K9 dogs are off-limits when filing a personal injury claim, in the state of Massachusetts, you are entitled to file a claim for compensation for your injuries.

How Does Massachusetts Dog Bite Law Apply to K9 Units?

Massachusetts has strict liability dog bite laws. Under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 140, Section 155, dog owners can be held liable when a dog injures another person, even if it has never acted aggressively, and when an owner took reasonable care to restrain the animal. The only exception is when the person injured by the dog was committing a trespass or was teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog at the time. Government agencies and employees are largely protected by Massachusetts’s law from liability cases, but not when implementing government policy. When K9 unit officers allow their dogs to bite and injure innocent people, the government agency can be held liable.

How Do You Recover Compensation for Canine Dog Bite Injuries?

To prevail in a K9 unit dog bite claim, you must allege negligence in the training of the dog or its handler, or show unreasonable conduct on the part of the police, such as using excessive force. This process is somewhat different than filing a traditional personal injury claim. Before you can take your case to civil court, you must file a government tort claim. The process involves submitting a standard form to make the government aware of your injuries. After you file your tort claim, the agency will have a set time period in which to respond. If the agency rejects your claim or fails to respond within the allotted time, you may proceed to court with a lawsuit.

Why You Need a Lawyer

The process of suing the police for dog bite injuries is more complex than filing a lawsuit against an average dog owner. Police officers are afforded more leeway to carry out their official duties. To win compensation in a K9 dog bite claim, you will need to show negligence or unreasonable conduct by the police. Your best chance of succeeding is to have an experienced attorney by your side.

Our Massachusetts personal injury lawyer at DiBella Law Offices, P.C. has the knowledge, skills, and resources to pursue your dog bite injury claim. Our founder, Christopher DiBella, has been practicing law for nearly two decades and has handled multiple dog bite cases where innocent victims were wrongly injured. If you have been bitten by a K9 unit dog, call us at (978) 327-5140 to schedule a free consultation and case review.

Posted in: Dog Bites