The number of postal employees who were attacked by dogs around the country reached 6,244 in 2017, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Postal Service. That number is down by 500 in 2016. Several California cities made it to the top 17 list, the cities with the most dog bite incidents involving mail carriers. Los Angeles is at number 2, San Diego at 5, Long Beach at 12, Oakland at 13, San Jose at 15, and Sacramento at 17.
USPS officials say while they are encouraged by the decrease in dog attacks on their employees, the totals are still too high. The agency has put several safety measures in place to prevent these incidents including alerts sent out to carriers when an unleashed dog is reported in the delivery area. Since this is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, USPS kicked off several safety campaigns to create more public awareness about the dangers mail carriers endure.
What Can the Public Do?
There are several things members of the public can do to help prevent dog bite injuries to mail carriers:
- When the carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, put your dog in a separate room and make sure you close that door before opening the front door.
- Parents should remind their children not to take mail directly from carriers in front of the family pet as the dog may view the person handing the mail as a threatening gesture.
- Place your mailbox closer to the street so that postal carriers don’t have to venture behind a fence or a house.
- Let the mail carrier drop the mail into the mailbox. Don’t take it from them.
- Keep doors and windows secure when dogs are inside.
Compensation for Mail Carriers
If you are a mail carrier who has been injured in a dog attack on the job, you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation insurance. In addition, you may also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the homeowner. In many of these cases, your injuries and losses may be covered by the individual’s homeowner’s insurance policy. You may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, cost of cosmetic surgery to fix scars or other disfigurements, pain and suffering and emotional distress. A dog attack, in addition to causing physical pain, also causes significant emotional suffering. Please contact an experienced California dog bite lawyer to assess your legal rights and options.