Worker’s compensation is insurance that covers employees who get injured or fall ill on the job. This means that if an employee is bitten or injured by a dog while on the clock, they should be covered by workers’ comp. This is assuming that their employer has workers’ comp insurance, which most employers are required to have, barring a few exceptions depending on the location and type of employer.
Employees That Encounter Dogs
It may sound unusual to be bit by a dog at work, but plenty of workers encounter dogs on the job. Occupations such as postal carriers, delivery drivers, contractors, landscapers, utility workers, cable/internet techs, police officers, and home health care workers might come across dogs while working. According to the USPS, over 5,400 postal workers experienced a dog attack in 2021. Even office workers can encounter a dog if employees are permitted to bring their dogs to work.
If you are bit by a dog, your first step should be to try and put distance between you and the dog. Once you are safe, check your wounds, apply pressure if necessary, and call 911 for medical help. If you are able to take photos of your injuries and the scene, it can be extremely helpful in filing a successful claim.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
As stated above, if you were injured by a dog during work hours, you should be eligible for workers’ compensation. After reporting the injury to your employer, request a workers’ compensation form. You should also seek medical treatment as soon as possible, for your own health as well as to document your injuries. Once your claim is approved, you can collect compensation to cover your medical expenses, any lost wages, and other potential damages such as vocational rehab. If your claim is not approved for some reason, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer like those at Kemmitt, Sanford & Kramer for help appealing the decision.
If you are an independent contractor, you are unfortunately not eligible for workers’ compensation. Instead you will need to file a third party lawsuit.
Third Party Lawsuits
In addition to a workers’ comp claim, you may also be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit. This will apply if you were bitten by a dog at your office or on public property while performing a job duty. Dog owners are responsible for their dogs, so speak to an injury lawyer about filing a lawsuit against the owner. Personal injury lawsuits are based on negligence, so you will be successful if you can prove that the dog owner was negligent in protecting you from their dog.
If the injury occurred on private property, the type of personal injury lawsuit will be a premises liability lawsuit. Property owners have a responsibility to protect people who are working on their property from harm. Once you prove that the property owner was negligent, you will be able to recover compensation from the owner’s insurance company. Since workers’ compensation does not cover pain and suffering damages, a third party lawsuit may be necessary to compensate you for these.
By filing either one or both of these types of injury claims, you should be able to recover compensation for your workplace dog bite injury and begin the healing process.