4020 East Beltline Ave. NE, Suite 101, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Free Consultations 616-361-8850

Can I Pursue Compensation for Bite Injuries from a Police Dog?

 Posted on March 16, 2021 in Personal Injury

Kent County, MI personal injury attorney dog bite

Although dogs are often friendly and obedient, they are also capable of inflicting severe injuries under certain circumstances. Perhaps nowhere is this more clear than in the case of police dogs, who are trained to use force when necessary to assist in the apprehension of a dangerous suspect. The use of police dogs is common practice in Michigan, but it can sometimes go too far. In fact, a Michigan state trooper is currently facing charges of assault for alleged excessive use of force involving a police dog. This raises the question of whether it may be possible to pursue compensation through a civil claim for police dog bite injuries.

Dog Bite Liability Laws in Michigan

According to Michigan law, victims of dog bite injuries are often entitled to compensation from the dog’s owner. The state’s dog bite law is one of strict liability, meaning that it is not necessary for the victim to demonstrate that the dog’s owner was negligent in allowing the attack to happen, or that the owner knew of a previous history of the dog’s viciousness. However, it is necessary to demonstrate that the victim was not provoking the dog at the time and that the victim was lawfully allowed to be in the place where the attack occurred.

As such, a person who is engaged in illegal or criminal activity, such as trespassing or attempting a criminal act against the dog or the dog’s owner, typically loses standing to recover compensation from the owner. Pursuing compensation for police dog bite injuries is even more difficult, as law enforcement officers are permitted to use reasonable force, including with the assistance of a canine, when the circumstances justify it.

Police Misconduct and Excessive Use of Force

A police dog attack is clearly a different situation from an attack by a dog belonging to a civilian, and the strict liability law is unlikely to apply. However, citizens do have the right to recover damages from police officers who engage in misconduct. If you have suffered injuries from a police dog and you believe that your treatment was unjust, you can file a complaint with the police department or governing authority, along with a claim for civil damage, including your medical expenses and other adverse effects of your injuries. 

In pursuing your claim, you should work with an attorney who can help you present evidence and testimony to demonstrate that the officer’s use of the dog was excessive and unnecessary, perhaps because you were an innocent bystander, you had clearly demonstrated that you did not pose a threat, or the officer continued to use the dog well after you had been safely subdued.

Contact a Grand Rapids Dog Bite Injury Attorney

Personal injury claims involving law enforcement officers are often complicated, but it is possible to recover compensation when you have been wrongfully injured. Attorney John D. Tallman can help you understand your rights and represent your interests in pursuit of a fair resolution to your case. Contact our seasoned Grand Rapids personal injury lawyer today at 616-361-8850 to schedule a free consultation.








Share this post:
Back to Top