Dog bites can happen to anyone, but certain circumstances put you more at risk. One of them is having a job that requires you to service homes, yards and other parts of the neighborhood where dogs may be. Examples include utility workers, mail carriers and landscapers.
If a dog bites you while you are working, the first thing to do is seek medical treatment. You also need to report the incident to the police or animal control, as well as to your employer. Ask the dog owner if the dog is current on rabies vaccinations. After you handle immediate concerns, look into obtaining financial compensation for the injury.
Workers’ compensation claim
For incidents that occur on the clock, you can file a workers’ compensation claim. Document the incident and resulting medical treatment thoroughly to help your case. This includes taking photos of the injury, getting a copy of the police report and keeping receipts for all medical bills. Follow your doctor’s orders on caring for the wound and adjusting your workload if necessary.
Personal injury lawsuit
When the dog has an owner, you may also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. Just as with a car accident, you are not really suing the person but the person’s homeowners or pet insurance. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, insurance claims for dog bites had an average cost of $39,017 in 2018, with the total for the year adding up to $675 million.
It is helpful to pursue this route when available because the additional money can cover areas that workers’ compensation does not, such as pain and suffering. However, know that workers’ comp may put a lien on a portion of the amount you receive in a personal injury lawsuit, meaning that it seeks reimbursement for some of its payments to you, reducing the total money you get to keep from the lawsuit.