We’ve all heard the stereotypes about aggressive dogs: some are racist and only go after African Americans, some have a thing against postal workers, or some have just “never done that before!” Truth be told, those dogs are probably all inadvertently trained to be jerks by irresponsible owners. Accidents or unexpected attacks do occur, sometimes because of mixed signals given off by the victims, but when all is said and done only the owner is responsible for his or her dog.
If you were attacked by a dog while on the job, the order of operations is much the same as if you weren’t on the job. The only difference is the options you have available to you to recover damages.
When you suffer from a dog bite on the job, and the bite leads to injury, you can file for workers compensation. Usually this will help you recover any and all damages you suffered. However, because dog owners have strict liability for any and all injuries that result from their pet’s behavior, you also have the option to make a personal injury case against the pet owner. A judge won’t necessarily be as likely to rule in your favor — because you’d be making a profit — but you can still make the case.
Here’s what to do when you’re bitten by a dog:
- First, pretend that you were in a car accident. Your checklist isn’t all that different. Instead of the police, you may want to ask animal control to conduct an investigation.
- You’ll want to check with witnesses who may have seen the dog bite occur.
- You’ll want to locate the pet owner to find out important information such as insurance that may cover dog bites, vaccination history, and contact numbers or email addresses. Make sure you have the person’s name!
- Photograph the injuries.
- Medical attention is an important part of your potential case, if you decide to go that route. You’ll need proper documentation to prove that you sustained financial damage and injuries. Your employer will also need this information to file workers compensation. Continue to document and photograph your injuries as you recover.
- If the injuries were severe enough, then keep track of your state of mind or daily pain in a journal. Although an award for pain and suffering is rare, they’re not unheard of in dog bite cases.
Following your injury, be sure to keep documentation of any future correspondence you have with either the pet owner or insurance company. Find an experienced personal injury attorney to make sure you have everything in order. You’ll receive a free consultation whether you take the case further or not.