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Dog Bite Law: Los Angeles Police Dogs and Liability

Sep 16, 2008
Dog bite injuries inflicted by Los Angeles Police Department-owned canines can be especially difficult to try in court, depending on the specific circumstance surrounding the incident.

California provides special protection to police departments against dog bite lawsuits, as long as the injury occurred during an arrest and it did not stem from the police officer's use of unnecessary force. However, the definition of "excessive force" can be subjective, depending on the victim's criminal record and the events surrounding the actual arrest.

When the dog bite injury occurred outside of the circumstances of a properly enforced arrest, or outside of official police department duties, California laws allow for the victim of the dog bite to bring a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department. Since the police department falls under the definition of a state or government entity, normal statutes of limitations do not apply, and the victim generally has as little as 60 days in which to file the claim.

In addition, police dogs are usually given to one or two police officers for off duty care. These officers often take the dogs to their homes at night, as well. This means there are times when police dogs are not being used to make legal arrests, and could bite a victim outside of the special protection laws offered by California's liability statutes.

When an off duty dog connected with the Los Angeles Police Department is involved in a dog bite lawsuit, both the individual police officer and the Los Angeles Police Department can be held liable. Even while on duty, police dogs are placed in various situations in which they could potentially bite someone. For example, police dogs are often taken to schools for demonstrations, or to parades and community service events, where there are many children present. Since statistics state children as being the most vulnerable and susceptible to receiving a dog bite injury, the likelihood of an injury occurring in these circumstances is possible.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a dog bite, and the dog was identified as a police dog connected with the Los Angeles Police Department, the success of your claim in court is highly dependent on the circumstance surrounding the incident. A dog bite lawyer who has experience handling dog bite litigation will be able to counsel you on the statutes of liability and limitations pertaining to your specific case, and offer suggestions on the feasibility of filing a claim with the court. Bringing a dog bite case against a government or state agency can be a difficult process, and you will need highly detailed evidence for your claim to be a success.
About the Author
John Bisnar is a partner at Newport Beach Personal Injury Law Firm Bisnar Chase. The Bisnar Chase law firm has dedicated their practice to victims of serious injuries due to defective products, negligence and malpractice.

Visit the main website at http://www.aboutdogbites.com or call 888-265-0161
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