Postal Workers And Dog Attacks
Postal workers: those diligent public servants who deliver your mail in rain, snow, sleet and sun. While every job certainly has its drawbacks—for mail delivery personnel the weather likely ranks far behind one of the whoppers they face: dog interactions that have the potential for harm. If you work for the U.S. Postal Service—or for any delivery service, for that matter, it’s entirely possible you’ve come across a vicious looking animal that’s baring its teeth and growling. Sure, to someone else that animal is simply the family pet. Whether it’s protecting the homestead or is just plain vicious, it’s scary, and an actual attack can have long term physical, emotional, and mental consequences. What can you do after suffering an altercation with an angry dog? An experienced local personal injury attorney can help you to understand your options.
Thousands of postal workers endure dog bites every year. The response from dog owners is nearly universal: their dogs are not vicious. But bleeding limbs and torsos prove owners to be perilously wrong. Every pet owner must acknowledge that any pet can be unpredictable when a threat is perceived. Owners absolutely must keep their dogs behind closed doors, on a leash, or behind a fence in order to protect mail carriers and other delivery personnel. Failure to do so could result in unspeakable outcomes for everyone involved.
Under Maryland law dog owners are liable for damages when their pets injure someone, whether or not the dog had a history of biting unless the victim was provoking the animal, trespassing, or committing a criminal offense against someone. Those are not activities generally associated with postal delivery workers. In addition to criminal charges for pet owners, aggressive dogs may be removed, and potentially even euthanized. Penalties pile up if the dog has formerly had problems with aggression and has been classified as a dangerous dog. Owners who are found to be negligent can be sued for medical costs, lost wages, and both physical and mental injuries.
Tips to Avoid Dog Attacks
Mail-carriers and others who deliver packages would do well to follow a few simple common-sense rules in order to minimize the chances of an altercation with a dog:
- Never startle any canine—make noise as you enter a yard, especially if it’s fenced, in order to alert the animal to your presence;
- Make eye-contact with dogs and maintain it while in the area;
- Don’t make any assumptions about a dog, even if it appears friendly or if you’ve interacted with it in the past;
- Never attempt to pet or give snacks to a dog you don’t know;
- Place a foot against any doors that swing outward in case you need to shut it quickly.
- Carry dog repellant, and don’t be afraid to use it if necessary.
In the Event of an Attack
Sometimes, despite taking every precaution, a dog does attack. When under attack, avoid running, even though that’s exactly what you’ll want to do. (It’s pretty certain any dog can outrun you!) Rather, remain stationary and attempt to put something—maybe your mail bag– between yourself and the dog. Don’t hesitate to use dog repellant spray to protect yourself if you have to.
In the Aftermath
The consequences of a dog attack can last for a very long time. If you are a postal worker or delivery worker and are in the process of recovery after a horrendous attack, the experienced Baltimore personal injury attorneys at The Law Office of Hasson D. Barnes can help. To discuss your situation, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.