Delivery drivers are among the unsung heroes of today’s economy, making sure we have our orders when we want them, without ever having to leave home. Meals, groceries, clothes, Amazon orders—even our mail—is delivered every day, on time, rain or shine. But sometimes, these delivery drivers face unexpected and dangerous situations, not least among them aggressive, unpredictable, or protective dogs.
General knowledge about dog behavior and potential triggers for an attack might help keep a driver safe, but awareness doesn’t help the thousands of delivery drivers who are bitten every year. The US Postal Service estimates that in 2022 alone, about 5,300 mail carriers were bitten by dogs – and that’s just the postal workers!
The unfortunate truth is, you cannot predict when a dog might bite or how severe the injury could be. Some bites are easily treated but other more severe injuries can result in lost limbs and even death. In addition to any physical injury, the mental, emotional, and financial trauma that often results could negatively impact your life for years to come.
If you’ve been injured by a dog bite while delivering food, packages, or mail, you deserve full compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. How you file a claim and against whom depends primarily on whether you were employed or an independent contractor at the time of the injury.
If You Are an Employee
In Massachusetts, the Workers’ Compensation program is designed to assist workers who are injured on the job and to protect employers from injury claims. When a worker is injured on the job, workers’ compensation can provide coverage for:
60% of the gross average weekly wage you earned for the 52 weeks preceding your injury
- Medical treatment costs
- Temporary total disability
- Partial total disability
- Vocational rehabilitation
When filing a workers’ comp claim there should be a causal connection between the dog bite and the work. Any action taken by a delivery person that results in an injury, for example, approaching a home or business, should be reasonably anticipated by the nature of the job. Being a delivery driver requires you to go onto properties where aggressive dogs may be found.
It is important to note that workers’ comp typically covers economic losses; however, the dog’s owner can also be held responsible for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering. If you are dealing with months of painful treatment and are now afraid to do your job lest you encounter a dog, a personal injury claim against the owner can compensate you for these damaging impacts on your life. Contact a lawyer who is experienced in dog bite claims to learn what compensation you may be entitled to.
If You Are a Gig Worker
Many delivery drivers are gig workers and therefore not protected by Workers’ Compensation. If you suffer a dog bite while on a gig, you will have to file a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner yourself to cover damages like lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
When a dog bites someone in Massachusetts, strict liability laws apply. That means that if a dog bites you while you are doing deliveries, its owner is responsible for paying compensation to you, usually through homeowners’ insurance. There is no requirement for you to prove negligence or that the dog has bitten someone before, although this can certainly help your case. A Boston dog bite attorney with a strong track record can help you build a case for maximum compensation.
Our Top Tips for Delivery Drivers to Stay Safe
- Never approach a loose dog or one that is chained or restrained
- Stay as calm as possible if you are attacked
- Don’t run
- Don’t yell at the dog
- Say “no” or “stay” in a firm voice
- Don’t look the animal in the eye
- Toss a treat, bag, or toy away from you to give yourself time to get away
What To Do if You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog
- Seek medical attention for your injuries
- Keep all medical records and receipts of payment
- Retain the delivery request to show that you were legitimately on the property
- Get the owner’s contact information and the dog’s vaccination status
- Take pictures of your injury if able
- Notify your employer, if applicable, so a workers’ comp claim can be initiated
- File a police report
- Call an experienced dog bite lawyer
- Call an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer
When you are bitten by a dog, you need to know your rights. An experienced dog bite lawyer can give you all the information you need about your legal rights and options, which may include suing the owner for your noneconomic damages (if employed) or all damages (if you’re a contractor). Each dog attack case is unique, so if you’ve been attacked and injured, get advice from a Boston personal injury lawyer, even if your employer manages your workers’ compensation claim. At Parker Scheer LLP, we understand how traumatic the aftermath of a serious dog bite can be and will use our experience and resources to fight for the financial compensation you need to cope with the physical and mental trauma. We offer free consultations and you only pay us if we win your case.
To learn more, call (866) 416-7002 or contact us online.