“I was delivering a package for Amazon, and this huge dog came out of nowhere and tore into me, my medical bills are mounting, can I sue?”
I’m Katelyn Holub, a personal injury attorney practicing law in northwest Indiana.
Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.
Today we’ll take a look at the topic of being injured by a dog while delivering packages. We recently received a question from a listener who was out delivering packages for Amazon when he was attacked and bitten by a homeowner’s dog. His medical bills are mounting and he would like to know his legal rights.
Dog attacks on delivery people are becoming more and more common.
It used to be that only postal workers were attacked. Now with all the different delivery companies bringing packages to our homes, such as Amazon delivery, grocery delivery services, and FedEx and UPS, attacks on delivery people by dogs are becoming more common.
In dog bite situations, one of the key issues that we look at is whether there is insurance that covers the homeowners who own the dog who bit someone. Unfortunately, many times there is no insurance that covers a dog. Either there’s no homeowner’s insurance policy, or there is an exclusion on the homeowner’s policy that excludes coverage for dogs. Sometimes we find an insurance policy provides coverage for dogs in general, but excludes certain dog breeds that may have a propensity towards being aggressive.
Ok. So why are we investigating the insurance situation and reviewing any relevant policies? It is important to determine if there is insurance, because in many cases the people who own dogs that do not have insurance, are perhaps in bankruptcy, on the verge of filing for bankruptcy protection, or otherwise have no way of paying for the damages their dog caused.
Besides analyzing potential insurance coverage, we also have to analyze the history of the dog.
Has the dog bitten other people before? If so, in what other situations has this dog shown aggression and attacked someone?
Did the owner have reason to know that they were keeping a dangerous dog on the property? There is an old line of court cases that developed a rule called the one bite rule, meaning unless the dog had bitten someone in the past, it was presumed not to be a biter. But, if the animal had bitten in the past, the owner was presumed to know the dog posed a danger.
If we can establish facts that show that the dog was known to be dangerous, then we investigate further to find out what steps, if any, the dog owner took to restrain their dog. For example, did they keep it locked up or leashed?
Did the dog break free from an enclosure?
Was the dog chained or leashed, but broke free just before the attack?
Other steps the dog owner might have taken include posting warning signs… Did the property owner post warning signs that delivery people could view to put them on notice that they might encounter a dangerous dog on the property?
These are just a few examples of the kind of investigative work that we do in analyzing dog bite situations in order to preserve and optimize the legal rights of dog bite victims.
I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at www.DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth”.