Workers’ compensation benefits are financial benefits for workers that have been injured in the course of their job duties. Some accidents, like vehicle crashes or incidents involving heavy machinery, occur more than others, but there is one type of injury that is becoming more common: dog bites. Contrary to popular belief, mailmen are not the only workers that are capable of getting bitten by a dog while working.
Who is most likely to suffer from dog bite attacks on the job?
Workers like landscapers, electricians, home contractors, garbage collectors, and long-term healthcare workers are the most at risk of suffering from dog bites and attacks. These workers perform duties in private residential areas and are at risk of coming in contact with the property owner’s dog. So, too, are people who work from pet-friendly establishments or offices. The risk may even be increasing, as employers seek to draw in new talent by offering perks like pet-friendly workspaces; after all, millions of people adopted “pandemic pets,” and may now be reluctant to leave them alone to go back to the office.
Can I file for workers’ compensation benefits after a dog bite on the job?
Just like any other workplace accident, you can file for workers’ compensation benefits after being bitten by a dog. Dog bites can be classified as workplace accidents when they occur while the worker is on the clock.
Actions to take after a dog bite in Maryland
The first action that you want to take after being bitten by a dog on the job is to seek immediate medical attention. Even if you feel like your injuries are not severe, dog bites and scratches can lead to infections – and if the dog is a stray, you need to get tested for rabies ASAP. If your injury is serious, your medical report will serve as documentation of your injuries. In the event that the insurance company attempts to question your injuries, the fact that you sought immediate medical attention will help you to refute any questions they may have surrounding the incident.
Report the accident to your employer
The next action that you want to take after receiving medical attention for your dog bite is to notify your employer. In Maryland, you have 10 days to report your workplace accident to your employer. If you fail to report your accident to your employer, it can impact your ability to receive your workers’ compensation benefits. You want to make sure that you notify your employer in writing and provide all details surrounding your dog bite.
Collect evidence if you can
Another action you can take that will benefit your workers’ compensation claim in the long run is to collect as much evidence as possible. Collecting as much evidence as you can help refute any questions the insurance company has concerning your injuries and the validity of your dog bite. You can take pictures of your injuries, contact information of any eyewitnesses, the contact information of the dog owner if it is possible, and the licensing information of the dog if it is possible.
Should I file a personal injury lawsuit or collect workers’ comp for a dog bite?
In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, you may be able to pursue additional legal actions depending on the nature of your dog bite attack. You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the dog owner as owners are legally responsible for their pets.
Accepting workers’ compensation benefits prevents you from pursuing legal action against your employer for your workplace accident; however, you may be able to file a third-party claim against the dog owner, which we can discuss during a free consultation. Note that if you pursue a third-party claim, you may be forced to pay back a portion of the workers’ compensation benefits you collected. If you are not eligible for workers’ compensation, however, then a personal injury lawsuit may be your only option. A Maryland injury attorney from our firm can discuss these options with you.
As with any other workplace accident, you are entitled to receive compensation for your injuries when you are bitten by a dog. At Plaxen Adler Muncy, PA, our Maryland workers’ compensation attorneys are ready to help you fight for the justice that you deserve. Call us at 410-730-7737 or submit our contact form to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout the state of Maryland to better serve you.