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More deliveries mean more bites

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Dog Bite

In the past, home deliveries were mainly limited to postal workers and pizza delivery personnel. Nowadays, many services, including UPS, FedEx, DoorDash, Instacart, and others, deliver a wide range of items to our doorsteps, from groceries and office supplies to clothing and flat-pack furniture. While these workers are typically well-paid for their work, they often face hazardous encounters with dogs.

Risks to delivery workers

While on their routes, delivery drivers often face dogs that bark or growl from within the properties they visit. Some dogs, however, may exhibit heightened territorial behavior, following their instinct to protect their owners and property. The American Veterinary Medical Association provides some alarming statistics:

  • The U.S. is home to 88 million pet dogs.
  • Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur annually across the country.
  • Of these, 800,000 bites, or 20%, necessitate medical care.
  • In 2020, the U.S. Postal Service reported 6,000 incidents of dog attacks on its employees.

Such attacks can lead to severe injuries and potentially long-term damage.

There is an economic impact

Homeowners and tenants can be held liable for their pet’s actions. Dog owners should make sure insurance covers potential liabilities if their dogs injure someone. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were 17,597 dog bite claims in 2022, which cost the insurance industry $1.136 billion, averaging $64,555 per claim. The cost of these claims has increased by 32% since 2021 and by 132% over the past decade.

Injuries from dog bites and attacks

Typical injuries from dog bites and attacks include:

  • Lacerations and scarring
  • Rabies
  • Emotional trauma
  • Fractures or head injuries resulting from falls

Does this sound familiar?

Delivery people who are full-time employees may be able to file for worker’s compensation. Still, victims of dog-related injuries might have the right to hold the dog owner accountable and seek appropriate compensation for the harm inflicted. Moreover, delivery personnel employed by app-based services or small local businesses, such as eateries, often operate as independent contractors and might not be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. In cases of injury, workers may have the option to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the customer or, depending on the terms of the customer’s lease agreement, the property owner.