An incident with a K-9 and its handler in a city park cost the Metro Police Department $125,000 in payout to an injury victim. According to a recent report, one man received $90,000 for injuries from a K-9 who attacked him in a city park while he was napping. The incident occurred when a K-9 handler was working with an unleashed dog in a training exercise. The dog startled the victim, who was napping on a park bench. He ran away, causing the dog to chase and bite him. He was transported to University Medical Center where he received surgery. The victim filed a lawsuit that the city settled almost immediately. The Police Department’s litigation manager noted that K-9 handlers are required to have the dogs in their care, custody and control at all times. The officer will be subject to an internal review process that will result in disciplinary action. However, due to employee confidentiality rules, the outcome of that investigation may not be made public. Dog Bite Statistics Show A Growing Problem According to the American Humane Society, there are 4.7 million dog bites in the United States each year. Of these bites, at least 800,000 require medical care. About three-quarters of all bites occur on the arms or legs. More than $1 billion is paid in dog bite claims each year by insurance companies. While incidents like the K-9 attack in the park do occur, about two-thirds of all dog bites occur on or near the victim’s property. In most cases, the victim knows the dog. In some cases, the victim is the owner of the dog, but in many cases, the victim is bitten by a friend or family member’s dog that is off its leash or outside a restraining fence. Children are by far the largest group affected by dog bites. Over half of all dog bites, and 82 percent of all dog bites treated in emergency rooms, involve children under 15. Even more frightening is the fact that 70 percent of all dog bite fatalities involve children under 10. If you or a family member has been bitten by a dog, it is important to take steps to recover damages, even if you know the dog’s owner. This not only allows you to pay for your medical costs and other expenses but holds the owner accountable for failure to control the dog and could prevent a future attack. Bernstein & Poisson is ready to help you with your dog bite case.