Massachusetts Legal Blog
If You Were Bitten by a Dog at Work, You Have Rights
When you start your day at work, you deserve to feel safe and know that you will not be unexpectedly injured. But dog bites can happen anywhere nowadays, with more and more people out walking their pets through all areas of Boston. For workers who regularly visit their clients’ homes, there has been an uptick in dog bite injuries, especially when pet owners do not take proper steps to protect them.
After being bitten while on the job, it is important to review all of your options to ensure you get full compensation for your injuries.
Who Is at Risk of Being Bitten by Dogs?
Dogs can be especially territorial at home and can perceive any guest as a threat. If a property owner knows a worker will be coming by the property, they should secure the dog away from the worker, preferable in a garage or backyard, and warn the worker of the danger, especially if the dog feels threatened by strangers or has attempted to bite others in the past. While most owners stop at simply posting “Beware Dog” signs at the front of the property, this does not prevent owners from being found liable in a dog bite claim.
Workers who are at risk of being bit by dogs on other people’s property include:
- Postal workers
- Package handlers
- Delivery drivers
- Garbage collectors
- Maintenance and utility workers
- Construction workers
- Gardeners and landscapers
- Pest control workers
After a bite from a violent dog, you deserve full compensation for your injuries. In order to get your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering paid for, you will need to determine where you can receive compensation.
Does Workers’ Compensation Apply to Dog Bites?
Workers’ compensation in Boston is designed to provide no-fault coverage for workers who are injured on the job and protect employers from injury claims in dangerous industries. Typically, if a worker is injured while performing his duties, such as working on a construction site, delivering a product to a customer, or stocking shelves, then workers’ compensation will provide coverage for:
- Lost wages (between 60% and 75% of your normal wages)
- Adequate medical care, prescription reimbursement, and mileage reimbursement
- Scarring, disfigurements, and disabilities
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Survivors’ and dependents’ benefits in wrongful death cases
With dog bites, workers’ compensation can rest in a grey area. Workers’ compensation applies to reasonable and expected injuries that a worker can sustain while fulfilling their duties. Dog bites typically fall out of that area except in situations where a worker can potentially come in contact with a dog. With the professions listed above, a dog bite is not outside the realm of possibility, so workers’ comp may apply.
However, beyond workers’ compensation, a worker may also be able to file a dog bite claim against the property owner.
Can I File a Dog Bite Claim as a Worker?
If you receive workers’ compensation, you cannot file a claim against your employer for compensation, but you can hold the dog’s owner liable in a personal injury claim. Massachusetts follows strict liability laws when a dog bite someone. This means that if you are bitten by a dog, its owner is responsible for paying compensation to you, typically through homeowners’ insurance. You do not have to prove negligence or that the dog had bitten someone in the past, although this can certainly support your case.
For workers who enter another person’s property, it is important to establish your legal right to be on the property. Individuals who were trespassing on the owner’s property, intimidating the dog, or threatening or attacking the owner cannot file dog bite claims. However, if the owner was aware that you would be on the property – such as hiring your services to work on their lawn, deliver a package, or paint a garage – then you would not be considered a trespasser.
Even door-to-door sales agents are not considered trespassers if they legally entered the property. For example, if the property did not have a locked gate or “no soliciting” sign posted, then a sales agent could legally enter the property and go up to the front door. If a dog bit the agent during this time, she could file a claim.
Fighting for Your Rights to Compensation
Workers deserve to know that they can do their jobs without being injured by violent dogs. If you were bitten by a dog while performing your job, you deserve full compensation for all of your trauma. But getting compensation means dealing with the owner’s homeowner’s insurance company, which will do all it can to fight your claim.
Our team at DiBella Law Offices, P.C., is well-versed in dealing with dismissive insurance company and getting clients compensation after dog bites throughout Boston, Burlington, and Methuen. We can investigate the dog that bit you, review all of your options for compensation, and fight to get you the highest possible award. We are hands-on with every client, provide free case evaluations, and will reliably update you on the status of your case. For a free consultation with a Boston personal injury attorney, call us today at (617) 870-0907 or contact us online.
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