Delivering mail is a time- and labor-intensive job. However, one of the biggest risks to postal worker safety is not necessarily lifting heavy items or spending long hours sitting behind a wheel. As a postal worker, you actually have a fairly high risk of suffering a dog bite injury while on the job.
Suffering a dog bite injury can be traumatic on multiple levels. The physical damage associated with dog bites is often severe, and recovery can be a long, painful road. Recovery is not cheap, either. Medical bills can stack up quickly, especially if you have to take time off work to focus on your health.
Dogs bite thousands of postal workers
In 2019, The United States Postal Service employed around 503,100 people. That same year, dogs bit 5,803 postal workers. That number stayed fairly consistent, with another 5,800 dog bite victims in 2020.
USPS has implemented safety features to help protect postal workers just like you from vicious dogs. In addition to training, handheld scanners also have dog alert features that warn postal carriers of dangerous dogs. Postal workers may also receive dog warning cards when sorting the mail. While these safety efforts are great, they are unfortunately not enough to protect the men and women who deliver New Jersey’s mail.
Owners must take responsibility
Pet owners have to take responsibility for their dogs. Properly socializing and training dogs is a great step toward protecting not just postal workers, but everyone with whom a dog will eventually interact. Exposing dogs to a variety of experiences while in otherwise safe environments is a great first step. Other precautions include:
- Keeping dogs indoors
- Taking regular trips to the vet
- Reminding children not to take mail directly from postal workers
The last two are particularly important. Dogs that are sick, injured or otherwise feeling unwell are more likely to attack than dogs that are in good health. Additionally, dogs may perceive postal workers as a threat when they see the children in their families taking mail directly from them. Reminding children to only get mail from the mailbox is an important step toward protecting postal workers.
Workers’ compensation or personal injury?
If you suffer an injury while carrying out your work duties, you can generally apply for workers’ compensation benefits. If a negligent third party was also responsible for your injuries, you may be able to pursue compensation via a personal injury suit as well. This means that it is possible to hold a dog’s owner responsible for your dog bite injuries even if the attack occurred while you were working.
Workers’ compensation can be an invaluable lifeline for anyone who has suffered an on-the-job injury, including a dog bite. Benefits typically cover things like lost wages and medical bills related to your injuries. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for your first application to receive a denial, so it may be worthwhile to prepare yourself for the possibility of filing an appeal.