Dogs are popular pets in California and are often called man’s best friend. But for the thousands of delivery drivers who deliver goods and services to Golden State residents, their job comes with the risk of dog bites. These bites can cause a range of different injuries and even serious infections if not properly treated.
California law holds dog owners strictly liable for dog bites, and delivery drivers who suffer bites on the job have the right to seek compensation for their injuries. Read on to learn more about dog bite laws in California, who might be liable for a delivery driver’s dog bite injuries, and how the personal injury team at Weinberg Law can help.
Why Are Delivery Drivers More at Risk of Dog Bites in California?
Delivery drivers are more susceptible to dog bites due to the nature of their job, which involves frequent visits to various neighborhoods and properties. This exposes delivery drivers to unfamiliar dogs, increasing the likelihood of a negative interaction.
The fast-paced nature of the job may also limit drivers’ ability to assess the presence of dogs before approaching, making it challenging to avoid potential confrontations. Moreover, some dogs may perceive the delivery person as a threat or intruder, leading to defensive behaviors like biting. The rise in online retail also means that there are more delivery drivers than ever driving California roads and visiting homes.
California Dog Bite Laws
California follows a strict liability approach when it comes to dog bites. This means that dog owners are generally held strictly liable for any injuries their dogs cause to others, regardless of the dog’s previous behavior or the owner’s knowledge of aggression. California law states that a dog owner is responsible for damages suffered by someone bitten while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the dog owner’s property.
Unlike some states that follow a “one bite” rule, where a dog owner is only liable if the dog has shown aggression in the past, California imposes liability on the first bite. Owners are responsible even if the dog has no history of aggression.
In addition to strict liability, a person bitten by a dog may also pursue a negligence claim against the owner based on the owner’s failure to use reasonable care in controlling their dog. However, proving a strict liability claim is often easier and requires less evidence.
What Damages Are Available for Delivery Drivers After a Dog Bite?
When a delivery driver suffers a dog bite on the job, they are entitled to compensation for damages resulting from the bite. The compensation can vary based on the severity of the injuries and the specific circumstances of the incident. Here are some typical damages a delivery driver might expect in a dog bite claim:
- Medical expenses incurred in the aftermath of the bite and any necessary future treatments,
- Lost wages, and
- Personal property that was damaged during the incident.
In some cases, a victim can also seek damages for any physical and emotional pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, and psychological trauma caused by the dog bite.
Filing a Dog Bite Claim
When it comes to determining who will pay these damages, a few different parties may be involved.
- Homeowner’s insurance. In many cases, the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy may cover damages resulting from a dog bite. A homeowner’s insurance policy typically includes liability coverage for injuries caused by the homeowner’s dog.
- Dog owner liability. If the dog owner doesn’t have insurance, they may be personally liable for the damages. However, the ability to recover compensation from an individual’s assets may depend on their financial situation.
- Workers’ compensation. If the delivery driver was on the job at the time of the incident, the employer’s insurance may come into play. This could include coverage for medical expenses and lost wages through workers’ compensation.
It’s crucial for a delivery driver who has been bitten by a dog to consult with a California dog bite attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can assess the specific details of your case, identify liable parties, and help pursue the appropriate avenues for compensation, whether through insurance claims or legal action.
What to Do After Suffering a Dog Bite
If you suffer a dog bite while on the job as a delivery driver in California, you have the right to seek fair compensation for your injuries. To help protect your rights, it’s a good idea to take the following steps in the aftermath of an incident.
- Seek medical attention. If you haven’t already, it’s important to seek medical attention for your injuries, no matter how minor they seem. Dog bites can lead to infections, and prompt medical care is crucial.
- Document the incident. Next, try to gather as much information as possible about the incident. This may include details about the dog, the location, and any witnesses. Take photos of your injuries and the scene if possible.
- Report the incident: You may want to report the incident to the local animal control authorities or law enforcement. They can investigate the situation and take appropriate action.
- Contact your employer: If you were on a delivery for work when the incident occurred, inform your employer about what happened. They may have procedures for handling such situations and can help you file a workers’ compensation claim if necessary.
Finally, contact an experienced dog bite lawyer. They can help you navigate the legal process, file the proper claims, deal with the insurance companies, and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact Weinberg Law
If you are a delivery driver who has suffered a dog bite injury and doesn’t know where to turn, the team at Weinberg Law is here to help. No matter how big or small the case, we give every client the personal attention they deserve and will fight to ensure you get fair and full compensation. Let us handle the insurance companies and liable parties while you recover. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation or fill out our online contact form to begin the process today.