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Connecticut Town Agreed to Pay $145,000 to Settle Police Dog Bite Lawsuit

According to a report from the New Haven Register, Old Saybrook paid $145,000 to a woman as part of a settlement in a dog bite case. The woman was reportedly injured by a police dog after a law enforcement officer tackled her to the ground. The basic terms of the settlement came to light after a Connecticut Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request was initiated by a member of the public. 

Dogs have the potential to cause serious injuries. In Connecticut, the owner of a canine can be held strictly liable for injuries caused by a bite—though, the law is more complicated if the defendant is a government agency. In this article, our Glastonbury dog bite lawyer explains the key things to understand about Connecticut’s strict liability statute for dog bite claims.   

Dog Bite Law in Connecticut: Strict Liability

Dog owners are legally responsible for their animals. A dog has the potential to pose a serious risk to public health if the requisite safety precautions are not taken. Under Connecticut law (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22-357), a dog owner can be held strictly liable for a bite. In contrast to most personal injury claims, you are not required to prove that a private dog owner was negligent to hold them liable. 

To be clear, strict liability is not necessarily automatic liability. A dog owner in Connecticut is liable for injuries caused by their dog even without a finding of negligence. However, a dog owner can raise legal defenses against a personal injury claim. A person who was trespassing or who provoked an attack from a dog may be denied financial compensation. 

Claims Against a Government Entity are More Complicated

Notably, the settlement reached between the town of Old Saybrook and the unidentified woman involved a police dog. Law enforcement departments—and other government entities—can still sometimes be held legally liable for injuries caused by a dog. 

However, these claims are more complicated. To sue a police department for an injury caused by a dog, a victim may have to file a Section 1983 civil rights lawsuit instead of a strict liability claim. A Section 1983 is essentially a type of excessive force claim. 

If you are considering bringing a personal injury claim against a state or local police department for a dog bite, consult with an experienced Glastonbury, CT dog bite injury attorney as soon as possible. You may have less time to initiate the legal claims process. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Connecticut Dog Bite Lawyer

At Tehrani Law Group, LLC, our Connecticut dog bite injury attorney is an experienced, reliable advocate for injured victims and their families. If you or your child was bitten by a dangerous dog, we will help you get justice and compensation. Call us now or send us a direct message for a free, fully confidential review of your case. From our law office in Glastonbury, we handle dog bite injury claims in Hartford County, and throughout Central Connecticut.