Among all potential dog bite victims, delivery workers are perhaps the most vulnerable to these injuries. Dogs cannot distinguish between trespassers and delivery people who have a legitimate reason to be on the property. While dogs can be effective security tools, they often lack the capacity to understand that delivery personnel are not a threat. Unfortunately, this mistake leaves countless delivery people with serious injuries each year. Dogs sometimes escape the front door or backyard, leaving delivery personnel unprotected and vulnerable to attack. In some tragic cases, delivery workers have lost their lives simply because they were trying to do their job. If you have lost a loved one due to one of these dog attacks, you might be wondering how you will possibly pay for your living expenses. Perhaps your family member was working at UPS and earning a solid income. When this source of income vanishes, it may be almost impossible to feed your children and continue paying your shelter costs.
Faced with these issues and many other damages, you might be wondering whether you can file a lawsuit against negligent pet owners or landlords. Or perhaps you find yourself in the opposite situation, and you are facing a potential lawsuit from delivery workers and UPS itself. Can this company really sue pet owners and landlords? Under what circumstances would UPS decide to sue? Can the individual delivery person sue negligent parties? And what kind of compensation can your family receive if your loved one has been seriously injured or killed while on the job? Let’s find out.
UPS is Aware of the Problem
You first need to understand that UPS is fully aware of the danger posed by some homeowners’ aggressive dogs. The company is so concerned that it has created special programs and committees to deal with this specific issue. Today, delivery drivers undergo training programs that help them understand how to deal with a potential dog attack in the safest way possible. Hundreds of postal carriers are injured by dogs each year. But despite these training programs and initiatives, workers continue to be injured by dogs at a staggering rate, causing losses for the company and serious, life-changing consequences for workers and their families.
Why it is in UPS’ Best Interests to Prevent Dog Attacks
UPS understands that dog attacks translate directly to financial losses. When an employee is injured by a dog on the job, they typically file a workers’ compensation claim. Under Illinois law, it is illegal to sue your direct employer for injuries sustained on the job. Instead, injured workers must file workers’ compensation claims through Workers’ Comp. Making a claim under the workers compensation act is an employee’s “exclusive remedy” for work related injuries against an employer. This can provide them with compensation for medical expenses and missed wages, but it cannot provide compensation for emotional distress and other non-economic injuries. Seeing as psychological trauma is incredibly common for dog attack victims, this is a major shortcoming in the system. Regardless, UPS must pay increased insurance rates as dog attacks increase on their workers. Because of this, it makes sense for the company to recoup these losses in the most efficient way possible.
The obvious way to recoup these losses is to sue the property owner directly. UPS has done this in the past, and it helps them recover the cost of medical bills (which they must indirectly pay under workers’ comp laws). In many situations, UPS has successfully sued dog owners or property owners for tens of thousands of dollars.
Can UPS Workers Sue Dog Owners Directly?
If UPS can sue the owner of the dog to recover the cost of your medical bills, you can certainly do the same. In some dog bite cases, you may have the ability to file a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit against the dog owner or property owner. While this might seem like overkill at first, you have to remember that a workers’ compensation claim can only provide you with so much money. As previously noted, you cannot recover compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of normal life, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, depression, disfigurement, and more.
These are all legitimate damages that deserve compensation, especially considering the limitations of the workers’ compensation system. The only way you can recover these non-economic damages is to file a dog bite claim directly against the negligent parties. You may feel uncertain about this because you believe that hiring a lawyer is expensive. However, most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency basis, meaning you do not pay unless you win your lawsuit. At that point, you pay your lawyer a commission fee out of your award or settlement.
You should know that non-economic damages like PTSD or disfigurement can considerably increase your total settlement amount. This shows how important non-economic damages can be as you struggle to move on with your life. Remember, a personal injury lawsuit is the only way to recover non-economic damages after a dog attack.
Dog Attacks on Delivery Workers are Common in the Chicago Area
In September 2015, it was reported that a UPS driver in Chicago narrowly escaped death after being attacked by a pit bull. It was only the actions of a nearby postal worker that saved this individual’s life. However, he was left with severe cuts on his ankle and head. In 2022, it was reported that Chicago was ranked 8th among US cities for mail carriers attacked by dogs. The city saw 35 dog attacks in 2021 alone. In addition, the state of Illinois saw a total of 226 dog attacks during that same period. Illinois actually ranked even higher among other states, reaching the top-seven position. Throughout the entire nation, 5,000 postal workers were attacked by dogs in 2021. This suggests that UPS drivers are experiencing roughly the same level of danger on a daily basis.
Steps UPS Workers Need to Take After Dog Attacks
UPS workers should take various steps after being attacked by dogs. First of all, they should get medical attention as soon as possible. Dog bite incidents may seem minor at first – especially with the presence of adrenaline or shock. But these injuries may become much worse with time. The best option is to play it safe and seek medical attention. Although you may be unaware of this, every minute counts. Delays can increase the risk of infection and severe illness. Dogs may be carrying various types of bacteria and diseases in their mouths. One example is tetanus, which can be fatal in certain situations. Another example is meningitis, which can also be fatal. Finally, rabies is always possible after a dog bite, which can cause your brain to become inflamed.
When you see a doctor, make sure to ask for injections that can protect you against these shots. When you have a free moment, reach out to UPS and inform them of the incident. They will likely offer you the option of taking time off work. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to take them up on this offer – even if you face the possibility of unpaid time off. This is because you will likely receive compensation for all missed wages one way or another. Finally, you should get in touch with a qualified personal injury attorney to assess your legal options.
Where Can I Find a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney in Chicago?
Palermo Law Offices are ready to assist dog bite victims with legal advice. If you were injured by a dog while attempting to make a delivery, you have every right to explore your legal options and hold negligent parties accountable. This may be one of the few ways you can recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress. In addition, family members who have lost their loved ones due to fatal dog attacks can potentially file wrongful death claims to recover damages. These damages might include missed future wages, unpaid medical expenses, funeral costs, and more. In any case, it is always important to get in touch with personal injury law experts and file your lawsuit as quickly as possible. If you wait too long, the statute of limitations could prevent you from taking legal action. Reach out today to the dog bite lawyers at the law firm of Palermo Law Group, and we can assess your unique situation in a free consultation before moving forward.