Dogs can be a hazard for delivery drivers, utility and postal workers, and other employees who come within close proximity of private residences. If a dog attacked you while on duty, you might have a workers’ compensation claim through your employer and a legal case against the dog’s owner or insurer. There may also be other liable parties involved.
Pursuing Claims for Work-Related Dog Bites
There are multiple factors to consider when pursuing compensation for injuries caused by dogs while you are on the job. Depending on the circumstances involved, you may have several avenues to do this, including the following:
Filing a Claim With Georgia Workers’ Compensation
You should be able to file a workers’ compensation claim through your employer for medical bills, lost wages, and possibly scarring and disfigurement and permanent disability. You only have to demonstrate that you were on duty at your job when the dog attacked.
Employees and contractors who need to be present on private property or enter homes to perform duties, including construction workers, plumbers, postal employees, and delivery men, have been granted what is referred to as an “implied invitation.” If a dog bites an on-duty employee on private property, they should be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
To file a workers’ compensation claim, you must let your employer know of the dog attack as soon as possible. They should provide you with the proper paperwork to begin this process. You must initiate your claim within 30 days, or you may lose your right to benefits.
A personal injury attorney can assist you with your workers’ compensation case, especially if your employer is uncooperative, your claim is denied, or you disagree with the amount they have awarded you.
Filing a Claim Against the Dog’s Owner or Keeper or Their Insurer
According to Georgia law O.C.G.A § 51-2-7, you are legally entitled to compensation if you suffered an injury when bitten or attacked by a “vicious” or “dangerous” dog due to the negligence of the owner or keeper. In proving a vicious disposition, “it shall be sufficient to show that the animal was required to be at heel or on a leash by an ordinance” and that “the animal was at the time of the occurrence not at heel or on a leash.”
Dog owners should be held liable if their pet attacks, regardless of where the incident transpired. If you had a work-related reason to be on the owner’s property, you could seek damages for your pain and suffering and emotional anguish in addition to your economic losses.
To prove an owner or keeper’s liability in a dog bite or attack case, you must show that they were aware of previous bites, attacks, or dangerous behavior or failed to secure the dog properly. Injured victims must also prove they did not provoke or threaten the dog.
In addition, witness statements and documentation from animal control and law enforcement, if applicable, will need to be gathered to support your case. A personal injury attorney can be a great help to you in these matters.
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Homeowners’ and Renters’ Insurance and Dog Attack Coverage
Depending on the renters’ or homeowners’ policy, it may offer coverage for legal liability expenses for dog bites up to the policy’s limits. The dog’s owner will still need to accept responsibility for damages above and beyond the limit of their insurance coverage if the claim surpasses the policy’s limits. A person injured by a dog can still file a case against the owner to receive compensation for damages regardless of whether they have renters’ or homeowners’ insurance that covers dog bites.
In addition, some pet insurance policies cover consequences arising from dog ownership, including dog bites. However, this may not apply to attacks that occur on the insured’s private property.
Filing a Claim Against a Business or Landlord
If you are working at a business that keeps a dog that bites you, you might have a claim against the company itself or its insurance company. For example, a dog might escape from a kennel and injure someone working on or near the property.
If a landlord was lax in their legal responsibility to maintain safe premises that are not in disrepair, and this negligence resulted in a dog attack, you might have a claim against the landlord or their insurer.
Recoverable Damages for a Dog Bite
Depending on the factors in your case and which parties you file claims against successfully, you may be entitled to receive damages that include, but are not limited to, the following:
Past, present, and future medical expenses pertaining to dog bite-related injuries, including bills for ambulance service, hospitalization, surgery, rehab, doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, etc.
- Lost wages and income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of life enjoyment
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On-Duty Workers Bitten by a Dog Are Urged to Contact a Personal Injury Attorney for Legal Help
If a dog has bitten you while you are on duty, we encourage you to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers today for your free and confidential case review. We can help you determine which claims you are eligible to pursue and work toward getting the maximum compensation available.