According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, roughly 38.4% of American households have a dog. It is clear by this statistic that many people – including Marylanders – love having furry friends in their homes.
However, these same adorable pets could actually place many workers at a significant risk of a work injury.
What risks do dogs pose to workers?
Several jobs require workers to travel around Baltimore neighborhoods, such as:
- Delivery drivers
- Residential electricians and plumbers
- Outdoor maintenance
- Roofers, carpenters and electrical and cable line workers
These workers go from house to house almost every day, especially in this age of convenience, where many people order goods and products online. Work that requires workers to travel like this can be risky, especially as the weather gets warmer.
In warm weather, it is more likely that dogs might be outside when these workers approach. And, unfortunately, some dogs get aggressive when strangers approach, which could lead them to bite a worker.
That risk is only increasing
It is critical that these workers do not overlook the danger that dogs might pose. The risk of suffering a dog bite or attack is greater than many workers might believe. The National Safety Council found that work injuries from dog attacks doubled in less than a decade, increasing from 3,380 injuries in 2011 to 6,230 injuries in 2018.
These attacks can lead to serious injuries, including:
- Deep punctures and blood loss
- Broken bones
- Face, eye and head injuries
Workers must be aware of this risk. They should always ensure they are mindful of their surroundings at all times on the job.
Are dog bite injuries covered by workers‘ compensation?
If the dog bite occurs in the course of and arises out of employment, it is likely a compensable claim (Maryland Code, Labor & Employment §9-501). In instances where a pet owner was aware of the service worker’s arrival and knew their dog had the propensity to bit a visitor, the owner of the animal may also be liable for damages separate from the workers’ compensation claim.
As dog bites are very fact specific with how, when and where they occurred, it is helpful for workers to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to determine how they can obtain covered medical care and recover compensation for their injuries.