Earlier this month, the United States Postal Service (USPS) released statistics about dog bite incidents involving mail carriers. Well, there was good news and bad news. The good news was that the number of postal employees attacked by dogs nationwide fell to 5,714 in 2018, more than 500 fewer than 2017 and more than 1,000 fewer since 2016.
However, the bad news is that thousands of mail carriers are still bitten each year nationwide as they attempt to do their jobs. And in 2018, four California cities – Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, and Oakland — were among the top 25 cities that saw the most number of dog attacks involving mail carriers. Los Angeles was number two in the country next to Houston. San Diego was at number 12, Sacramento 19, and Oakland, 21.
Use of Advanced Technology
The USPS has been trying to equip its workers with technology that could determine whether dogs are on the property. USPS officials say mail carriers are equipped with scanners, which not only help confirm customer delivery but also have a built-in feature to indicate the presence of a dog at an individual address. The Package Pickup application asks customers to indicate if dogs are at their address when they schedule package pickups, which allows USPS to send alerts to those carriers.
Preventive Steps and Liability Issues
You can take steps as a homeowner or business owner to ensure that mail carriers are safe. Place your dog in a separate room and close the door before you open the front door for your mail carrier. Parents should remind children not to directly take mail from postal workers in the dog’s presence because the dog might view the mail carrier as a threat to the family member.
If your dog attacks and injures a mail carrier, you could be held financially responsible for the injuries and damages caused. Under California’s strict liability statute, dog owners can be held liable for the injuries, damages, and losses their pets cause. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of cosmetic surgery, rehabilitative care, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
As a law firm that has represented mail carriers who dogs have been mauled, we understand how such an incident can leave individuals disabled and psychologically devastated for life. If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack, please get in touch with an experienced Los Angeles dog bite lawyer to understand your legal rights and options better.