While it’s true that dogs can chase after and bite mail carriers, stereotypes aside, what may be surprising to learn is how frequently it happens across America.
According to the United States Postal Service, dogs attacked over 5,300 employees in 2022. Even more surprising was that this number represents a decrease from 2021 when dogs attacked more than 5,400 USPS workers.
When broken down per state, California had the most significant number of dog attack cases on USPS workers, with 675 cases in 2022. Texas and New York were second and third place, with 404 and 321 attacks, respectively.
How dangerous are dog bites?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.5 million dog bites happen in the U.S. each year. Of that number, approximately 800,000 of those bites required medical care. Another report from the Insurance Information Institute noted that the total cost of dog bite and dog-related injury claims hit $1.3 billion in 2022. To say dog bites cost much money is an understatement.
Dog bites do more than cause lacerations and scars. Bites can also lead to wound infections, and victims could contract rabies from infected dogs. These medical conditions can be fatal if not addressed but treating them can cost between $1,200 and $6,500. Dogs with particularly powerful bite strength can also break bones in the hands or feet, costing thousands of dollars to treat.
Can you claim workers’ compensation for dog bite injuries?
Whether you’re a mail carrier or your profession exposes you to the risk of dog attacks, workers’ compensation can cover bite injuries.
To file a claim for a dog bite, you will first have to report the injury to your employer. You only have 30 days from the day of the incident to report the damage before you lose the right to file a claim.
Your employer or the claims administrator assigned to your employer could try to withhold or deny some benefits you are entitled to. Maybe a dog bite damaged your fingers and prevented you from properly working, but your employer insists on paying only for rabies vaccinations. Or the claims administrator approved your claim, but the payment wasn’t enough to cover the workdays you missed while being treated. If this happens, you might want to hire an attorney. An attorney can help you request a hearing with a judge to settle any disputes with your employer or claims administrator.