Can I Sue If I Was Bitten by a Police Dog?

Police dogs can be very beneficial to investigations as long as they are under proper care. However, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. A dog’s behavior can switch up at any moment, leading to bites and other significant injuries. If a police dog bites you while under the care of a police officer, you may be entitled to sue.

Your Rights

In the United States, under the federal civil rights statute 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, you have the right to sue a cop, their supervisor, and department for some instances involving excessive force. However, police dog victims do not always win every case, but receiving damages is possible. If you’re unsure if your case is strong, reach out to our California attorneys today to discuss your best options.


Liability depends on the circumstances of your case. In some situations, the supervising officer can be held liable, but the person or entity who hired the police dogs could even be at fault in other situations. If you were an innocent bystander, you might have a stronger case than someone who is a suspect.

Some factors will determine how strong your case is. Some of these factors include:

  • If you were an active suspect or not.
  • If you were resisting or fleeing arrest
  • The severity of the wound
  • Whether the officer could have used less force

Filing a Claim

The process of filing a claim may take longer than you think. Before filing a civil suit against the government, you must send a government tort claim. After this, the government will either reject or accept your request depending on the severity of the case. If accepted, you can send your claims to the department responsible for the dog.

How We Can Help

As a citizen, you have the right to proper treatment by law officials. This means not only do police officers have a duty to protect you, but their dogs do too. If you have been a victim of excessive force by a police dog, you may be entitled to compensation. Reach out to the Kershaw Talley Barlow team today to see how we can help you.

Contact our legal office today at (916) 520-6639 or visit our website to fill out a free consultation form.

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