Many people joke about the hatred that dogs seem to have for courier employees such as those who work for UPS, DHL, Fedex and USPS. This problem doesn’t go beyond a lot of barking in most situations. However, when a dog becomes more aggressive, couriers can end up seriously injured. More than 6,700 Postal Service workers were bitten by a dog in 2016, and an average of 4.5 million Americans suffer from a dog bite annually. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder that some couriers are hesitant to approach any house that has a dog.
Know Your Legal Rights
Being bitten by a pitbull, or any other breed of dog, is often a terrifying experience. Once the attack is over, you may face extensive scarring and a long recovery. The good news is that South Carolina provides animal bite victims with more legal rights than several other states. For example, it’s common elsewhere for dog owners to benefit from what’s known as the “one-bite” rule, but that isn’t in effect in South Carolina. Owners are held legally liable from the very first incident, and it’s not necessary to prove that the dog had exhibited any previous signs of being dangerous.
Workers Compensation Claim
Couriers who are bitten on the job can absolutely file a workers compensation claim. After all, if you hadn’t been delivering a package in your official capacity as a courier employee, you wouldn’t have been exposed to the dog in question. Filing a claim will help you tremendously as it can enable you to avoid paying exorbitant medical bills.
In South Carolina, workers compensation laws have the following guidelines:
- The injured employee is required to report their injury immediately. If more than 90 days has passed without the injury being reported, your employer doesn’t have to pay for anything.
- Your claim must be filed within two years of the animal bite.
- Your related medical expenses must be covered for an approved claim, including hospitalization, surgery, prescriptions, prosthetics and medical supplies.
- An approved claim makes you eligible to receive two-thirds of your normal pay as compensation if you’re out of work for more than seven days.
As you can see, filing a claim right away is a wise decision. Also, if you have scarring that is visible from a distance of at least eight feet, you may be eligible for additional compensation.
South Carolina’s laws have been designed to help people like yourself who were injured on the job. Unfortunately, many businesses and insurance companies will try to deny valid claims. If this has happened to you, an attorney who is experienced with these claims can help. Don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer in these instances. You deserve fair compensation for your workplace injuries.
Personal Injury Case Against the Dog’s Owner
Filing a claim prevents you from taking further legal action against your employer, but that doesn’t mean you have no other potential recourse for your dogbites. Because South Carolina is so dog bite victim friendly, you can file a personal injury lawsuit even if your employer has approved your claim.
You might be wondering why you would want to go after the owner when you’re already receiving compensation from work. The answer is simple: you deserve to be fully compensated for your lost wages, along with the pain and suffering that accompanied the bites.
One thing that isn’t frequently discussed is the high risk of suffering from PTSD and other mental health related problems after a dog attack. This is especially problematic if the dog caused a lot of physical damage and left you with scarring. Your future counseling needs need to be addressed, but they might not be covered by your employer.
Additionally, you’re only going to receive two-thirds of your salary for the duration of your time off work. Even worse, if you don’t miss at least 14 days of work, you won’t be paid for your first seven days off. For some people, losing an entire week’s paycheck is a huge financial burden. It’s also difficult for many people to stay afloat long-term with one-third of their salary eliminated. When you take legal action with a personal injury lawsuit, you can make these lost wages part of your case.
Does the Dog Breed Matter?
Did you know that chihuahuas are responsible for more bites than any other dog breed? This helps explain why 81 percent of all dog attacks don’t require medical attention. Despite this, more than 850,000 people will end up needing medical help for a bite this year.
The only real difference the breed makes is how capable the dog is of causing harm. Of course, even the tiniest, cutest dog could send you to the hospital if it becomes enraged. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t necessarily have to do anything to provoke the attack. For some animals, simply doing your job by dropping off a package is more than enough reason for them to fly off the handle.
Of course, if you’ve been bitten by a pitbull or another breed that’s known for its aggressive behavior, you’re probably going to be much worse off than you would have been after a face-off with a chihuahua. Still, any dogbite that leads to physical or mental harm has the potential to end up in court.
Why Do Couriers Have Such a High Risk of Dog Attacks?
Anyone who works for USPS, DHL, Fedex or UPS knows that aggressive dogs should be avoided at all costs. Many of these delivery workers also realize that a sweet dog could turn vicious with little notice. The problem is that many of these animals are highly territorial, and they view the courier as a threat. With the large number of dogs anyone in this profession faces each day, it’s no wonder that so many delivery couriers are bitten each year.
If you’ve been bitten, turn to an experienced dog bite attorney for help. Remember: you have the right to file a claim at work and to take legal action against the dog’s owner. 843-839-4111