It is that time of year again. Winter has passed and the improving weather that follows means more people and their pets are outside taking advantage of the weather. This is probably bigger news for people in the northern tier states than those in the south, but it’s something about which the whole country takes note.
In emergency rooms across the country, officials are likely seeing a significant increase in the number of dog bite victims. According to DogsBite.org, some 9,500 people in the U.S. end up hospitalized every year due to animal attacks. In 2016, nearly 6,800 of those victims were postal workers. Many of those cases certainly led to claims for federal workers’ compensation, and rightly so.
The threat to carriers
Every year, the U.S. Postal Service makes a point of highlighting National Dog Bite Prevention Week. This year, it was noted from April 9 to April 15. While this might seem like old news, USPS officials take it seriously. And you can be sure that the mail carrying victims of pet attacks do as well.
The data shows there is good reason for raising awareness.
- More than 4.5 million people suffer dog attacks every year.
- Children, elderly citizens and letter carriers are the most common victims.
- The famous last words from owners in many letter carrier attacks were “my dog won’t bite.”
- In 2016, 31 people died from dog attacks.
The USPS and safety advocacy groups are ready with an array of recommendations to reduce the chances of dogs attacking. Some techniques might work well in certain situations, but there is no way to avoid them all.
When federal workers are injured on the job, regardless of the agency they work for, the law says they are entitled to seek benefits from the Office of Workers’ Compensation programs for loss of wages and medical care. If rehabilitation is needed, that should be covered, as well.
If the nature of the injuries are such that victims are unable to return to work, they are entitled to seek disability benefits. Consulting an experienced attorney can provide confidence in the assessment of options and pursuit of needed help.