Dog Bite While At Work: Do I File A Workers’ Compensation Or Personal Injury Claim?

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Dog Bite While At Work: Do I File A Workers’ Compensation Or Personal Injury Claim?

Attorneys Ben Schwartz and Rob Collins answer a viewer’s question on receiving a dog bite while at work. The viewer wanted to know if they file a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury claim? Spoiler alert: You could potentially have both. Keep reading for the details.

Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz and I’m Attorney Rob Collins,

Ben: Rob has graciously agreed to come to do a video with us. Today we are going to ask Rob to answer a question about dog bite personal injury cases. In our Law Firm, Schwartz & Schwartz, we handle a pretty good volume of dog bite or dog knock down personal injury cases. Rob handles probably more dog bite, dog knock down personal injury cases than any other attorney in the firm. He is the leading attorney in our group of trial lawyers who deal with dog bite and dog knock down personal injury cases.

Ben: Today, we are going to answer a question. The question is this, if I am working and I am bitten by a dog, is that a workers’ compensation case or is that a dog bite case against the owner of the dog? To give an example, let’s say that the person asking the question is delivering packages for UPS. He goes up to the front door of someone’s home, rings the doorbell to hand the package to the resident and the dog accidentally is permitted to come out of the house, runs after the UPS delivery guy and bites him right on the leg. Is that a dog bite case against the dog owner or should that guy make a workers’ compensation claim? What is the difference and what do you do?  What do we have here? Dog bite while at work? Do I file a workers’ comp or personal injury claim?

Rob: That is a surprisingly common situation you just gave. FedEx, UPS, or food delivery, it is really common for the dog to get out and bite somebody while they are on the job. As long as the bite occurred while the employee was in the course and scope of employment, it is going to be a workers’ compensation case and that will cover the lost wages, medical bills, and potentially for the scarring as well. But, it’s also a claim against the owner of the dog under the Delaware dog bite statute. That would basically be a strict liability against the dog’s owner. If there was somebody else, other than the owner, who was taking care of the dog at that time, such as a dog walker or somebody who is watching the dog for the owner, there is also a potential negligence claim against that person as well. So it is actually at least a workers’ comp claim and dog bite statute claim and potentially more.

Ben: So the answer is, it is both. Under the law, you can more than one claim arising out of some event, accident, or injury.

Rob: Those situations tend to get a little more complicated, legally, than your straight dog bite case. That is the type of situation where the average person probably would need an attorney to work out who gets paid and why, and who gets repaid that type of thing.

Ben: It is complicated when it comes to coordinating the benefits and the claims. I should mention not only the average person but the average lawyer too. If you are an attorney and you are practicing law, you do a general practice and you do some personal injury work, you are probably not going to have 100 dog bite injury cases a year. You are probably not going to see dozens of dog bite injury cases where the person is on the job. You are probably not going to be coordinating benefits between workers’ comp and liability for homeowner’s liability insurance claims or litigating these cases. If you are an attorney and have questions, feel free to send us an email below or give us a call. If you have a question about personal injury litigation in Delaware or in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, feel free to send me an email, we can see what we can do. Thanks, Rob, I appreciate you doing this video with me.

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