What to Do If You’re a Delivery Driver Bitten by a Dog: A Guide to Compensation

Delivery drivers should not lose money or have to pay for a dog bite that happened while working.

Key Points:

  • If you are bitten or attacked by a dog while working as a delivery person for goods or food, or while performing a service call for landscaping, home maintenance, or meter-reading, you may be entitled to make a claim under your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
  • You may also be able to bring a claim against the dog’s owner if it can be proven that they negligently failed to control or confine the dog.
  • If the dog owner is also a homeowner, most homeowner’s insurance policies will pay for damages, up to the policy limits.

Being a delivery driver is generally considered a safe job. However, due to the large number of homes you visit every day to drop off packages, you’re quite likely to run into aggressive dogs. The chances of getting bitten by a dog are pretty high for delivery drivers, almost more so than getting into a car accident, simply because of how many stops you make in a day. Dogs often see visitors as threats, especially those they don’t recognize. We’re not trying to frighten anyone; this is just something we’ve noticed from working with many delivery drivers over the years. It’s an important issue that comes with the job and something drivers need to be aware of.

Are Delivery Drivers Entitled to Walk Up to Front Doors?

When a homeowner or renter orders a product online and authorizes its delivery, they are essentially inviting the delivery company’s employee or contractor onto their property to complete the transaction. In Georgia, this action classifies the delivery personnel as “business invitees,” making it incumbent upon the homeowner or renter to ensure the premises are safe and free from hazards, including unrestrained or vicious dogs. This implicit invitation demands that the property owner take reasonable steps to protect the delivery driver, underscoring their responsibility to mitigate potential dangers and provide a secure environment for those legally entering their property to deliver goods.

What if the Front of the Property is Fenced In or Gated With Signs?

In Georgia, when delivery drivers are out making deliveries, they generally have the okay to walk up to front doors, even if a property has gates or fences. But, there are some exceptions. Signs that say “No Trespassing,” gates that require special access, the homeowner’s specific instructions, and rules set by local governments or homeowner associations can change things. Drivers need to pay attention to these rules and might have to figure out another way to deliver if they can’t directly access a property. It’s important for drivers to follow any instructions they’re given and to know the rules of the area to ensure they’re delivering packages in a way that’s respectful and follows legal guidelines. If a driver gets bitten by a dog on a property that has clear signs saying deliveries aren’t allowed, or there’s a no trespassing sign, it could be harder to make a legal case. However, if there are just gates with no warning signs, the driver has a better chance of winning a case for compensation.

Which Well-known Brands have Delivery Drivers at a Higher Risk of Dog Attacks?

Brands like UPS, FedEx, USPS, Amazon, as well as food delivery services like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub, have a large number of drivers on the road daily, increasing the likelihood of encounters with dogs. These companies have extensive delivery networks and a high volume of deliveries, making their drivers more susceptible to dog-related incidents.

Who Bears the Financial Responsibility for Dog Bites Involving Delivery Drivers?

Delivery drivers should not have to cover the expenses of injuries from dog bites incurred while working, especially when such incidents stem from homeowners failing to ensure safe conditions at their property’s entrance. In Georgia, the law mandates dog owners to adequately confine their pets and assigns liability to the owner or keeper if the dog was not properly restrained according to local regulations or if the dog was known to be aggressive. According to O.C.G.A. 51-2-7, this responsibility underscores the importance of owners taking preventive measures to avoid such incidents.

Is the Dog Owner Responsible for Covering the Costs of a Delivery Driver’s Dog Bite Injuries?

In Atlanta, if a dog bites someone, it’s the dog’s owner and their home insurance that usually have to pay for the damages, even if the bite didn’t happen on their own property. It’s important to know that sometimes the person who owns the dog isn’t the same person who let the delivery driver onto the property. There might be times when a delivery driver gets bitten by a dog that comes from a neighbor’s house. So, when it comes to suing for a dog bite, figuring out who owns the dog is a key step because they’re the ones who will be held responsible for the incident.

If the Dog Owner is a Renter, Can Renters Insurance Provide Compensation to the Injured Delivery Driver?

Yes, renters insurance can cover dog bite claims. However, the compensation might be lower because renters insurance policies often have lower coverage limits. While having renters insurance is better than none, a common issue is that many renters do not have any insurance at all. This makes it challenging to secure compensation if the dog’s owner is a renter without insurance.

Are Homeowners Automatically Liable When A Delivery Person or Home-Worker is Attacked?

Being invited to a property where you’re bitten or attacked doesn’t automatically guarantee a successful case against the owner or business. In a notable Georgia case, a court determined that a homeowner was not liable when a visiting nurse was bitten by a dog before even exiting her car; the dog, owned by the homeowner’s daughter who was looking after an elderly family member, had broken free from its chain. The nurse sued both the homeowner and the daughter, arguing they had negligently managed the dog. However, the court found only the daughter, as the dog’s actual keeper, could be held responsible, not the absentee homeowner.

Is the Delivery Drivers Company Responsible for Covering the Costs a Dog Bite Injury?

The responsibility of a delivery company in covering the costs associated with a dog bite injury largely depends on the fact that the delivery driver is a full-time employee. In such cases, workers’ compensation insurance typically covers medical expenses and lost wages due to injuries sustained on the job. The coverage is designed to protect employees without needing to prove fault. However, if the company’s negligence (e.g., inadequate safety training or equipment) played a role in the incident, it might further be liable for additional costs related to the injury. The local legal framework and the specifics of the company’s insurance policies also play crucial roles in determining the extent of coverage. Therefore, full-time employees injured by dog bites while on duty are advised to consult with a legal professional to navigate their rights and compensation avenues effectively, focusing on benefits available through workers’ compensation and potential negligence claims against their employer.

Can Delivery Drivers get Paid from Both Property and Workers’ Comp Insurance?

Delivery drivers may be eligible to receive compensation from both workers’ compensation and property insurance. Workers’ compensation covers medical costs and part of lost wages for injuries sustained on the job, like dog bites during deliveries, without needing to prove employer fault. Additionally, if the injury results from homeowner negligence, such as an unrestrained aggressive dog, drivers might also claim against the homeowner’s liability insurance for damages not covered by workers’ comp, including pain and suffering. However, pursuing claims against property insurance may necessitate legal action and could affect compensation amounts from other sources. Consulting with a legal expert can help navigate these claims efficiently.

Will the Homeowners Insurance Dispute a Delivery Driver’s Claim if Workers’ Comp Covered some Costs?

Yes, a homeowners insurance company might challenge a delivery driver’s claim if workers’ compensation has already covered some of the expenses. Insurance companies often review all sources of compensation to avoid duplicate payments for the same expense. If workers’ compensation has paid for certain costs, the homeowners insurance might argue that their liability is reduced or that specific expenses have already been addressed. However, they may still be liable for costs not covered by workers’ comp, such as pain and suffering or additional damages beyond what workers’ comp provides. It’s common for insurers to assess claims carefully to determine their financial responsibility.

Can Workers Comp Subrogate if the Medical Expense Was Paid to the Delivery Driver?

Yes, workers’ compensation can subrogate if it has paid for the medical expenses of a delivery driver following an injury. Subrogation is a legal right that allows workers’ compensation insurance providers to recover the amount they paid out for an injury from a third party that is deemed responsible for the injury.

For example, if a delivery driver is bitten by a dog while working and the workers’ compensation insurance covers the medical bills, the insurance company may then seek to recover those costs from the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance. This process ensures that the responsible party ultimately pays for the expenses related to the injury, not the workers’ compensation insurance.

It’s important for injured workers to understand that if they receive a settlement from a third party due to an injury for which workers’ compensation has already paid benefits, they may be obligated to reimburse their employer’s insurance for those expenses, up to the amount of the compensation received from the third party.

How Does Dog Bite Compensation Work if the Delivery Driver is an Independent Contractor?

Independent contractors, unlike employees, aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation insurance, meaning they won’t receive compensation for lost wages due to missed work. This situation places a greater burden on delivery drivers to pursue legal action, as they may need to cover all costs, including medical expenses, without filing a claim against the dog owner’s property insurance. This issue is becoming increasingly relevant as more delivery drivers work as independent contractors for companies such as DoorDash and UberEats, highlighting the importance of understanding their options for recourse in the event of a dog bite.

Do Companies That Provide Delivery Services Offer Insurance Coverage for Dog Bites to Their Independent Contractors?

Some delivery service companies offer insurance to independent contractors, including coverage for incidents like dog bites, but the extent of this coverage varies by company. A dog bite lawyer can look into this for you to find more coverage. For example, platforms such as Uber and DoorDash provide certain insurance protections during deliveries, but the specifics and whether dog bites are covered can differ. It’s crucial for contractors to closely examine their company’s insurance policy for limitations or exclusions and consider securing their own personal insurance to fill any gaps, especially for situations that may not be fully covered, like dog bites. This approach helps ensure they have comprehensive protection while on the job.

What Types of Damages Are Compensable Following a Dog Bite?

Dog bite cases are different from other personal injury claims, mainly because the costs involved are usually for medical care. But dog bites are unique – they can cause infections and leave scars that change how a person looks and feels about themselves forever, leading to costs for treatments like plastic surgery and for the emotional pain they cause. Unlike car accidents, you don’t have to worry about an entire list of expenses, but the one expense you do have is large.

Dog bites entail more than just significant medical costs. They can also lead to lost wages from being unable to work, compensation for the pain and suffering endured, and potentially punitive damages aimed at penalizing the dog owner’s negligence.

Can a Delivery Driver Receive Compensation for Pain and Suffering After a Dog Bite?

Yes, a delivery driver can be compensated for pain and suffering after a dog bite, especially when there are medical expenses involved, which indicate the presence of actual pain. Medical costs serve as evidence of the injury’s severity, strengthening the case for pain and suffering damages. Specialized dog injury lawyers are adept at securing this form of compensation, as it’s not typically something homeowners’ insurance companies readily offer. To successfully claim compensation for pain and suffering, hiring a dog bite lawyer is often necessary, as they can navigate the complexities of insurance claims and legal proceedings effectively.

What Types of Evidence Are Used to Prove a Delivery Dog Bite?

Can a Doorbell Cameras Video Footage Be Used as Evidence?

Yes – and more and more homes in Atlanta and across the nation have them. Which is great news for delivery drivers, because if they act fast and get an attorney, the attorney can talk with the neighbors or homeowner to obtain the footage. With delivery driver attacks mainly happening on the front door steps, or in the front yard, doorbell camera footage is highly possible.

What should be Done if the Homeowner, Whose Dog caused the Bite, Possesses the Doorbell Camera Footage?

Your dog bite attorney should request the doorbell camera footage from the homeowner involved in the dog bite incident. Should they refuse, we’ll t legal action to compel them to release the footage through the discovery process is possible. Additionally, a preservation letter to ensure the evidence is not destroyed can be sent.

Can Video From a Company Vehicle Be Used As Evidence?

While not widespread, the use of vehicle cameras by delivery drivers is gaining traction. If a camera on a delivery vehicle captures a dog bite incident, this footage can serve as crucial evidence. Delivery companies are increasingly encouraged to equip their vehicles with cameras as a measure to safeguard their drivers.

Can Neighbors be Witnesses to a Delivery Driver Dog Attack?

Yes, a notable benefit in cases of delivery driver dog attacks is the potential involvement of neighbors. It’s not uncommon for a neighbor to witness the attack, providing valuable eyewitness accounts. The greater the number of witnesses, the stronger the case. Indeed, witness testimony serves as compelling evidence in dog attack incidents.

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