Many different jobs can expose workers to dog bites – pretty much any type of work that requires you to make a house call can potentially expose you to these types of injuries.
Everyone knows the classic image of the mailman getting attacked by a family dog. This furry friend is just trying to protect its family from an unknown person they see as an intruder, but in real life, if the mailman gets bitten by the dog, who pays for their medical bills?
Well, the answer is slightly complicated.
Understanding the Law
Many different jobs can expose workers to dog bites – pretty much any type of work that requires you to make a house call can potentially expose you to these types of injuries. According to Missouri workers’ compensation laws, you can get the medical treatment for these injuries reimbursed as long as they occurred in the scope of your employment.
Essentially, if you were on the clock, and doing your job at the time when you got bitten by the dog, you are likely covered. Going back to the classic mailman example, if you had to deliver a package or a letter to a particular house, and the family’s dog attacks you, you are generally eligible for workers comp. Additionally, if you work at a site where there is a guard dog present, and they bite you while at work, the same principle applies.
The reason is that if it was not for your job, the injuries might not have even taken place because you wouldn’t have been in contact with the dog. As a result, you can file a claim for workers comp.
When You’re Not Protected
Some gray areas might affect your eligibility for workers compensation. For instance, if you get bitten during your lunch break, that is a grey area where additional details are needed to know if you are eligible or not.
If you left the premise during your break, and get bitten by a dog somewhere else, then workers comp generally does not apply. You may file a personal injury claim against the dog owner to cover your medical treatment.
If, however, your employer makes you take a lunch break on the premise, and you get bitten by the guard dog, then an argument can be made that even though you were not technically on the clock, the circumstances still make the injury work-related.
What Should You Do?
If you get bitten by a dog and don’t know if workers comp laws apply, talk to a lawyer. An experienced St. Louis workers compensation attorney can help you understand what your best legal options are, and help you follow them.
Sometimes, even if it’s clear the injury took place in the scope of your employment, you will still face an uphill battle with the insurance company. As a result, it’s good to have a lawyer by your side to help you face them. Additionally, your lawyer may also advise other means of getting compensated, such as a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner. Give us a call 24/7 at (314) 361-4300 for a FREE case evaluation.