South Carolina adheres to strict liability laws when it comes to dog bites. Victims don’t have to prove negligence in order to receive monetary compensation for their injuries. However, one exception to the laws for dog bites is if you were bitten by a police dog.
Most police dogs are controlled by their handlers and have extensive training, but police dog bites still happen.
Immunity for Police Dogs
A police dog who was working with law enforcement or other government agency may not be held liable if the police dog bites you or a loved one provided certain factors are in place:
- The police dog attacked you or a loved one was in compliance with a certified canine officer’s order.
- The dog was trained and certified according to the regulations set by the law
- The police department or government agency responsible for the dog had policies in place regarding the appropriate use of the dog.
- The handler didn’t violate any policies that were in place
- The dog’s handler or the dog didn’t reach the point of excessive force; and
- A third-party bystander wasn’t bitten.
In South Carolina, whether or not a police dog acted appropriately is left up to the judge and/or jury if the case goes to trial.
Injuries Caused by a Dog Bite
While other dogs can injure you if you get bitten, injuries caused by a police dog may be more severe. Research has shown that a police dog bite comes with a higher risk of you having to be hospitalized. In addition, if bitten by a police dog in South Carolina, you are more likely to receive multiple bites, and are more likely to sustain injuries to your head, upper arms, and chest. You or your loved one’s bite by a police dog may require:
- Physical therapy
- Treatment by specialists and/or reconstructive surgeons.
Why Police Dog Bites are More Severe
Police dogs generally use large breeds that can weigh upwards of 90 pounds and have extremely high energy. In addition, police dogs are trained to bite down hard and use a full mouth bite. They are trained to use all their teeth when biting in order to get a better grip on a suspect, and police dogs won’t release their victim until their handler gives the command to do so.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, not necessarily a police dog, you may be able to recover the costs of:
- Medical Expenses
- Property damage
- Monetary damages for pain and suffering
Why You Need a South Carolina Attorney for Your Dog Bite Case
The laws governing police dog bites can be complicated and the law offices of South Carolina attorney, Chase Harbin strongly recommends that you retain the services of an attorney who specializes in dog bite cases. A lawyer can assist you in receiving the monetary compensation you or your loved one may deserve.
Chase Harbin is a Criminal Defense Lawyer who practices in Pickens and Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 17 years now. Chase Harbin believes in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.