Los Angeles and California are high up on the U.S. Postal Service’s list of dog attacks on postal workers last year. According to a KTLA news report, the agency released the numbers this week, which show that Los Angeles is third on the list of 47 cities with 59 USPS employees being attacked by dogs in 2020.
California is consistently among the most dangerous states for dog bite injuries. It was first with 782 dog attacks last year, up from 777 in 2019.
Increase in Dog Attacks Against Mail Carriers
In 2020, nationwide, more than 5,800 mail carriers suffered injuries in dog attacks. The national rankings are released as part of USPS’ National Dog Bite Awareness Week efforts with this year’s theme being: “Be Aware: Any Dog Can Bite.” The campaign aims to raise awareness about dog bites, which are preventable. Houston and Chicago were ahead of Los Angeles in the ranking, while Texas and Ohio follow California in the states category.
USPS reminds dog owners that they are responsible for controlling their dogs and making sure their pets are properly secured as mail carriers approach their property. However, despite repeated reminders, dog attacks do happen. In one case, a mail carrier in Kansas said a dog attacked him on his route. He called the incident “one of the most terrifying moments” of his life.
He said he knocked on a resident’s door to pick up a package and as a young child answered, a dog came bursting out the door and bit his forearm. The impact knocked the mail carrier to the ground. He said by this time he was in shock and struggling with the dog when the animal lunged and bit him again on his face and ear. The mail carrier said this attack happened so quickly and was so forceful that he couldn’t get to a repellent, which all mail carriers take with them. The owner eventually restrained the dog, but the postal worker was already injured.
Liability in Dog Bite Cases
It is important that dog owners understand their responsibilities. California has a strict liability statute when it comes to dog bites, which means dog owners are financially responsible for the injuries, damages, and losses their pets cause. Injured mail carriers who are bitten on the job may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits. At the same time, they can also file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent dog owner.
While workers’ comp will only cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages, a personal injury lawsuit will be able to compensate them for other losses such as lost future income, loss of earning capacity, cost of cosmetic surgeries, psychological therapy, continuing treatment and care, and pain and suffering. An experienced California dog bite lawyer will be able to advise injured victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.