Delivery drivers face a lot of obstacles while on the job. They have to contend with traffic, weather, vehicle breakdowns, and GPS and other technology issues – all of which impede their ability to get their deliveries done on time. But there is another challenge that delivery workers must deal with; dogs.
With the drastic increase in home deliveries that occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has also seen a significant spike in dog bites suffered by those making deliveries. In fact, according to the U.S. Postal Service, more than 5,800 of its employees were attacked by dogs in 2020.
In this article, we provide some tips on how to stay safe while making deliveries to both homes and businesses and detail the steps to take if, despite your efforts to stay safe, you are attacked by a dog while on the job.
If you are a delivery driver who has been injured in a dog attack, we encourage you to speak to a dog bite lawyer in Ohio. Our dedicated team of personal injury lawyers will review your case for free, and should you choose us to represent you in your dog bite case, we will not charge you anything unless we win. To arrange your FREE consultation, call Slater & Zurz at (888) 534-4850 today.
Dog Bites in the U.S.
According to the AVMA, over 76 million Americans have at least one dog in their household. And although we, as dog owners, view our pets as a source of great enjoyment and love, they can be unpredictable, posing a real threat to those entering your property. In fact, every year in the U.S., approximately 4.5 million people suffer dog bites, with over 800,000 requiring medical attention.
Why Are Dog Attacks So Common?
Dogs have become highly domesticated over the years. However, they still have innate drives and behaviors that can lead them to attack. Dogs attack delivery workers for many reasons. Motivation to attack can come from any of the following:
- Their desire to stalk what they perceive as prey
- Their need to play
- Their need to defend themselves from what they perceive as a threat
- Hunger or a desire to eat
Tips to Avoid a Dog Attack
Postal carriers, DoorDash and Uber Eats drivers, grocery delivery workers, and those delivering packages for companies such as Amazon are at risk of a dog attack whenever they enter someone’s property. So how can you, as a delivery driver, minimize your chances of suffering an attack? Well, here are a few tips to help keep you safe.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Stay away from chained dogs
- Avoid running or moving quickly
- Do not approach a dog who is sleeping or eating
- Avoid eye contact, and do not show your teeth
- Respect their space
- Stay calm if approached
What to Do If You Have Been Attacked on the Job
Even when you go to great lengths to avoid an attack, you can still become a dog bite victim. Being attacked by an animal can be highly frightening. And although it might be hard to remember what to do after a dog bite, taking the following steps will help you recover as fully as possible and preserve your right to seek compensation from the dog’s owner.
6 Steps to Take After a Dog Bite
- Seek Medical Care – Depending on the location and severity of your wounds, contact 911 for immediate medical attention or drive to your local emergency room or urgent care to have a doctor treat your injuries.
- Identify the dog owner – If you are able to, speak to the dog’s owner. Be sure to write down their contact information, homeowners insurance policy information, and the dog’s vaccination records and health history.
- File a dog bite report – In Ohio, dog bite victims or anyone else who has witnessed or been made aware of a dog attack must report the attack to the local health commissioner within 24 hours of the incident.
- Photograph your injuries – Take photos of your bite wounds as soon as possible. It is also important to take pictures of other injuries, such as cuts, scrapes, and bruises. Be sure to continue taking photographs throughout the healing process.
- Begin a journal – Begin by writing down everything that happened before, during, and after the attack. Continue to document the entire recovery process and keep all medical records, treatment plans, and doctor’s bills.
- Speak to a dog bite lawyer – To ensure your right to recover compensation is protected, consult with a personal injury lawyer immediately. The legal issues surrounding dog attacks can be complex. Liability issues can come into play in these cases, so it is critical to have knowledgeable and experienced legal counsel on your side to secure the best possible outcome.
Ohio’s Dog Bite Laws
When it comes to dog attacks, Ohio is a strict liability state. This means that if you are bitten or attacked by a dog, the animal’s owner, keeper, or harborer is responsible for compensating you for your losses. In other words, you and your dog bite attorney will not need to show that the defendant was negligent or that the animal has a history of aggressive behavior.
There are some exceptions to this rule, however. If you were found to be doing any of the following at the time of the attack, the dog owner will likely not be liable for your injuries.
- Tormenting, teasing, abusing, or in any way provoking the dog
- Unlawfully trespassing onto the dog owner, keeper, or harborer’s property
- Committing or attempting to commit a crime
You have the legal right to do your job as a delivery person, which means you can enter the premises when delivering a package. As long as you did not do anything to provoke the dog and you entered the property solely to deliver mail or packages, you likely have the right to pursue compensation.
Compensation Awarded in Ohio Dog Bite Cases
The effects of a dog attack can last a lifetime. Bites can leave permanent scarring and result in significant disfigurement, disability, and emotional trauma such as PTSD. To help you recover as much as possible, your dog bite lawyer will fight for full past and future damages. The amount and type of compensation you receive will depend on certain aspects of your case. However, you may be entitled to the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Ongoing rehabilitation
- Lost earnings
- Diminished earning capacity
- Vehicle and home modifications
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
Families who lose a loved one to a dog attack can seek wrongful death damages, which cover expenses incurred due to the attack. They include damages, such as medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, the loss of the decedent’s financial contribution, the services they provided to the household, and compensation for the loss of companionship.
Speak to a Top Dog Bite Lawyer in Ohio for FREE
The dedicated team of personal injury lawyers at Slater & Zurz has fought for the rights of injured victims for over 30 years. We have built a widely-recognized reputation for integrity, compassion, and dedication during that time. Why? Because we care.
We understand the lingering physical toll a dog attack can have on you and the significant mental and emotional strain a dog bite can cause. Often the effects of dog attacks can render you physically, mentally, and emotionally unable to perform your job as you once did. That is why we fight relentlessly to seek maximum compensation, so you can fully recover from your injuries and return to a similar way of life.
Contact one of our personal injury lawyers for a FREE consultation to learn your rights following a dog bite and begin securing the justice you deserve. We are available anytime, day or night, to take your call and have offices in Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo to serve you. Reach out online or call (888) 534-4850 today.