- June 17, 2021
- In dog Bites
More than 4 million dog bite attacks occur every year in the United States. Mail carriers and package delivery persons encounter hundreds of dogs on delivery routes every day. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge in online shopping, which has increased the exposure of delivery drivers to aggressive or protective dogs.
In 2020, many people, for the first time ever, turned to online shopping for everything from everyday essentials to major purchases. Chain Store Age reported online shopping during the pandemic led to $900 billion in e-commerce spending. This surge in online shopping led to rapid growth in Amazon’s delivery fleet and the urgent hiring of drivers. The unforeseen result was more people being exposed to dogs, and more dogs being exposed to drivers. Delivery drivers are more vulnerable to dog attacks than ever before – especially in California.
USPS Employee Dog Attacks in California
While the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) releases annual statistics on dog bite attacks, other major delivery companies (FedEx, UPS, and Amazon) do not release statistics on injuries to delivery drivers. In 2019 and 2018, California ranked as the top state for dog bites among postal workers. The USPS reported that 5,803 postal workers were attacked by dogs while delivering the mail in 2019. There were 777 attacks reported in California, including 74 attacks in Los Angeles, 29 attacks in San Diego, 25 attacks in Sacramento, and 21 attacks in Long Beach. Actual numbers of dog bites attacks involving mail and package delivery drivers, as well as Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, Instacart, and other delivery drivers, are likely significantly higher than just the USPS reported numbers.
Legal Status of Delivery Drivers in California
In California, delivery drivers, whether they are bringing packages, groceries, mail, or pizza, have the same legal status as friends or guests who are invited onto a property. Unfortunately, homeowners often do not take steps to protect delivery drivers, the same way they would if they knew that a friend or acquaintance was visiting their property.
While burglars or trespassers may not have legal recourse after a dog attack, delivery drivers may pursue claims for compensation. Under California Civil Code Section 3342 (a), dog owners are liable for damages caused by their dogs. If a dog attacks a delivery driver, the homeowner may be liable. Typically, the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy will compensate victims for their injuries. To learn more about homeowner’s insurance and dog bite coverage, click here.
In some states, the dog owner is not held liable for the animal attack if they had no knowledge of their dog posing a threat to others—or the dog had no previous history of vicious behavior or attacks. This is known as the “one bite rule”. And other states hold a “strict liability” code against dog bites, like California. To learn more about “strict liability” for dog bites in California, click here.
Common Types of Dog Attack Injuries
Dog bites, attacks, and maulings can cause a wide range of physical injuries to delivery drivers, including:
- Broken bones from being knocked over
- Ankle injuries
- Lacerations and cuts
- Puncture wounds.
Dogs do not even have to bite or attack to cause harm. Many delivery people have been injured by being knocked down by a large dog, leading to serious injuries. Dog bites often cause disfigurement and scarring. Along with physical injuries, dog bite victims may suffer emotionally and financially.
What To Do Following a Dog Bite Attack
Being unexpectedly attacked by a dog is frightening and may be completely overwhelming. If you are knocked down, bitten, or attacked by a dog in California, you should get yourself out of harm’s way as quickly as possible. If possible, let the property owner know about the attack.
After an attack, you should take photographs or videos of your injuries, the dog, and the location of the attack. Getting prompt medical attention is critical. It may be tempting to try and finish your route. However, you should get medical care immediately. Your record of medical treatment is an important part of your legal claim and necessary for your own physical well-being. If you wait to get medical attention, insurance adjusters may question the severity of your injuries and why you delayed seeking medical care.
As soon as your immediate medical needs have been addressed, contact an experienced Orange County dog bite attorney. The longer you wait to report an attack and file a claim, the more challenging it will be to preserve evidence and recover fair compensation. Additionally, legal claims for dog bites are subject to a strict filing window, called a statute of limitations. In California, dog bite victims usually have two years to file a lawsuit. If your rights expire, you will not be able to pursue a claim. It is always advisable to preserve evidence and begin pursuing a claim as soon as possible.
Contact an Experienced Orange County Dog Bite Attorney
If you have been mauled or bitten by a dog, you may seek financial compensation for your medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages. Before you accept an insurance settlement for your injuries from a dog attack, speak with an attorney at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates. You may be entitled to far more compensation than is initially offered by the insurance company. Our personal injury lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for dog bite victims, including mail and package delivery drivers.
When you contact us, we can review your case and give you an experience-backed opinion into the potential value of your case, and explain your options to pursue a claim or lawsuit. Your initial consultation is always free and confidential. With offices located in Irvine, Los Angeles, El Segundo, Riverside, and San Diego our personal injury lawyers represent dog bite victims across Southern California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with an attorney, please call 949-727-9300.
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