In a quiet, residential community, a neighbor hears screaming from the backyard next door. The neighbor reports this to the police who respond to the house to check on the disturbance.
The police knock on the door and announce themselves. No one answers. The police open a screen door and announce their presence again. Three German shepherds run through the screen door toward one of the officers. One or more of the dogs bites the officer just above her left elbow and inner left thigh. The puncture wounds to the officer’s arm result in a permanent scar. As it turns out, it was one of the homeowners that had been screaming outside.
The homeowners were home and knew they were creating a disturbance. They knew or should have foreseen that the disturbance would attract the attention of their neighbors and police. Nevertheless, the homeowners did nothing to secure their dogs. We reached a $20,000 settlement for our client, the officer, with the homeowners’ insurance company.
4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year. Almost one of five bites become infected. Keepers of animals must secure, control and prevent them from biting anyone. This includes public safety officers. Over the years we have successfully made claims for dog bites under homeowners, renters and commercial policies. We have made similar claims for injuries resulting from being knocked down or chased by dogs. If you are a dog owner yourself, you might consider reviewing your own insurance policy as certain breeds are often excluded from coverage. Officers injured on or off duty should consult with us early on to learn of your rights and so we can determine whether you have a viable case.
– Jared N. Ballin, Esq.