Can you sue if a police dog bites you? We look at the law relating to liability for police dog bites

Can you sue if a police dog bites you? Find out where you stand on claiming compensation by calling our legal helpline for a free case assessment on 0808 139 1601 or emailing us at [email protected]

To discover whether you can sue if a police dog bites you we recommend that you speak to one of our specialist lawyers. We operate a free legal helpline so you can call us for initial guidance on making a claim and find out if no win, no fee funding is available.

It is important that any claim against the police is prepared properly and that the solicitor dealing with it understands the complexities of the law involved. As specialist dog bite lawyers who deal with dog bite claims on a daily basis, we know exactly what to do and how to go about getting you the compensation you are entitled to. 

Over the last three years almost £800,000 has been paid in compensation to people bitten by police dogs. Greater Manchester Police paid out more then £180,000 while the Met Police are next on the list, paying out £95,000. West Midlands police were responsible for the highest number of dog bites. The people who have been bitten by police dogs include those suspected of committing a criminal offence, police staff and innocent members of the public

The police can defeat a compensation claim if they can show that the person bitten “voluntarily accepted the risk of damage” by failing to stop when commanded to do so. 

To succeed in a dog bite compensation claim against the police we will look at whether there is something the police should have done to prevent the dog attacking or whether they should have been aware that an incident was likely.

When investigating claims we will look at the training records of the dog and its handler to see whether there is a history of any previous incidents or similar attacks. If the records show that the dog had a history of disobeying commands then we can argue that an incident was likely to occur and that a police dog in those circumstances would overreact or fail to respond when placed in a “chase and detain” situation.

The police officer may also have been negligent by choosing to release the dog at the wrong time or by failing to shout a warning before doing so. The officer owes a duty of care to those who he is going to set the dog on and this is breached if he fails to follow correct procedure and if he releases a dog over which he has little or no control and which could cause a foreseeable injury.

In certain circumstances there may be third option. You may be able to make a claim against the police for assault if it can be shown they have acted in a way which they knew to be unjustifiable and intended to cause harm; or at least acted without caring whether they caused harm or not. The police could counter argue that they were only using reasonable force in the prevention of crime or to lawfully arrest a suspect. It is often a question of whether or not they used “reasonable force” which is the key factor.

You can read a case study of a successful police dog bite claim by clicking here.

So, if you are wondering, ‘Can you sue if a police dog bites you?’ then give us a call. We will provide you with a free case assessment and if we can assist we will deal with the claim on a no win, no fee basis. Call 0808 139 1601 or email us at [email protected]