Georgia Dog Bite Legal Guide for Delivery Drivers and Home Service Workers
If you are a delivery person bitten or attacked by a dog anywhere in the State of Georgia, attorneys at The Millar Law Firm can help you today.
As home deliveries of all types of goods, services and food increases and becomes more common, the number of delivery men and women bitten or attacked by family pets or guard dogs continues to grow as well.
Our law office is regularly contacted by workers for Federal Express, Amazon, UPS, The Postal Service, pizza delivery and other delivery drivers who, through no fault of their own, were bitten by a dog while trying to do their job.
Delivery Person? You may be entitled to Homeowner’s and Worker’s Compensation
Does Georgia Workers Comp apply to a dog bite?
Yes. If you are bitten or attacked while delivering goods or food, or while performing a service call such as landscaping, home maintenance, or even reading a meter, you may be entitled to make a claim under your employer’s workers compensation insurance.
For employees in Georgia, workers compensation is likely to cover your hospitalization, rabies shots, surgeries and scar revision, as well as pay lost wage benefits. You may be entitled to workers compensation benefits even if the dog is a stray or the dog’s owner has no insurance or is judgment proof. Even better news for an injured worker, is that if the bite or attack injury happened while you were on the job, you may not need to prove that the dog’s owner was careless or negligent.
Contact our office today to find out (free of charge) whether you may have a worker’s compensation case.
Can a delivery person bring a claim against the dog’s owner?
You can, if the dog’s owner negligently failed to control or confine the dog. Georgia law requires every dog owner to take reasonable steps to confine a dog, and holds the dog’s owner or keeper responsible if the dog was not properly under control under a local ordinance, or the dog had a “vicious propensity.” O.C.G.A. 51-2-7.
For example, if you are attacked by a dog that is roaming in violation of a county or city ordinance, you may have a claim against the dog owner. So, if you park your delivery vehicle and as you climb out you are suddenly bitten or attacked by a dog AND if the dog was required by local law to be at heel or on a leash, or otherwise confined, you may have a case.
On the other hand, let’s say you park your truck at the curb of a fenced and gated yard. You look around and do not see a dog. If you open the gate and proceed inside but suddenly Fido races around the house and attacks your leg, you may not have a case (or at least a much more difficult case) against the dog’s owner, because the dog had been confined apart from you, until you opened the gate and entered the yard.
Who pays worker dog bite claims made against dog owners?
In Georgia, the dog owner is responsible to pay your damages, if you have properly proven your case against him or her.
If the dog owner is also a home owner, most homeowner’s insurance policies will pay the damages, up to the policy limits. If the dog owner is a renter, renters insurance may provide insurance coverage. Unfortunately, most tenants do not have such insurance.
If the dog is owned or working for a business (guard dogs, for example) the business or the company’s insurance may cover the damages and losses.
On-The Job Dog Bite Cases We Handle
In over 27 years of practice, The Millar Law Firm has handled cases for a variety of workers bitten or attacked by dogs, including:
- Public Utilities Workers
- Postal Workers / Mail Carriers
- Phone Installers/Repair
- Cable Installers/Repair
- Delivery Drivers
- Animal Control Officers
- Law Enforcement
- Construction Workers
- Public Works
- Tax Appraisers
- City & County Inspectors
- Zoning Officials
- Fire Departments
- Emergency Medical Technicians
- Adult & Child Protective Services
- Health Department
- HUD- Public Housing
- Home Health Care
- Sanitation Workers
Are Homeowners Automatically Responsible When A Delivery Person or Home-Worker is Attacked?
Sadly, no. The mere fact that you were invited to a home or business where you were bitten or attacked does not always mean you have a good case against the property or business owner.
In one Georgia case, the Court found the homeowner was not liable to a visiting nurse.
In this case, a home-health worker was badly bitten before she ever got out of her car. The attacking dog had been chained but slipped his chain in time to do harm to a nurse visiting to attend to the invalid mother of the homeowner during a time when the homeowner was out of town.
In his absence, the owner’s daughter was staying with the elderly patient. The daughter brought her dog with her, and it was this dog that attacked the visiting nurse.
The health-care worker sued both the homeowner and the daughter for mismanaging a dangerous animal by tethering him inadequately. The Court, ruled that the home owner was not the owner or keeper of the dog – his daughter was. Thus, while the daughter may have negligently failed to secure the dog, the homeowner (who was out of town) was not responsible.
The United States Postal Service Dog Bite Awareness Campaign
Over the years, our law firm has helped a number of US Postal Service Carriers bring dog bite claims and cases.
The United States Postal Service has a tradition of calling attention to the dangers of dog bites. The initiative takes places every April and is a public service safety awareness initiative that offers safety tips and focuses on the need for pet owners to become more responsible and proactive in the prevention of dog bites. Past years’ reports offer some staggering numbers:
- More than 4.5 Million people are bitten annually;
- Each year between 5,000 and 10,000 Postal Service employees are attacked by citizens dogs;
- Nearly 800,000 US residents and visitors are seen in emergency rooms for dog attacks and dog bite–injuries. Many more go untreated.
The United States Postal Service’s website reminds us that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) reports that children, older adults and delivery workers are the most often attacked by dogs.
The number of dog bites exceeds the reported combined instances of measles, whooping cough and mumps.
- Dog bite victims make up five percent of emergency room hospital visits.
The Postal Service dog bite awareness campaign offers safety tips and emphasizes that “Any dog can bite. Don’t be fooled.”
Most Georgia Dog Bite Delivery Worker Cases Could Have Been Prevented
Each year, our attorneys investigate dozens of Georgia dog bite cases, many for delivery workers and home service providers.
Most of the dog bite injuries that we see could have been prevented if a pet owner had been more responsible or taken reasonably careful efforts to control or secure their animal. Many dog bites happen because owners are over-confident in the peaceful nature of their pet and simply fail to keep their dog safely indoors or in a proper pen or fenced-in area. In fact, one of the most common things heard by Postal Carriers is “My dog won’t (or didn’t) bite” – But as the USPS Awareness Campaign studies have proven, any dog can bite!
We hope that the Postal Service’s Dog Bite Awareness Campaign will succeed in bringing attention to this very serious problem. If more dog owners start taking proactive measures in securing their animals and being aware of what their animals can do to home delivery and service workers, many dog bite and attack injuries will be prevented.
Fast Help For Delivery and Home-Service Related Dog Bite Injury Victims
If you’ve been injured in a dog attack, you need a lawyer who specializes in dog bites. The Millar Law Firm has decades of experience. Call today and speak to an attorney who can and will evaluate your dog bite case, explain your rights and help you determine what you can do next.
Our initial evaluation by telephone or in-person free of charge and totally without obligation to you.