Vicious Dogs vs. Mailmen: The scene of a dog chasing a mail carrier has long been the subject of movies, cartoons, and even jokes. However, the reality is not fun at all. Animal attacks can lead to severe injuries, and if injured, you may be entitled to seek compensation.
The United States Postal Service said that over 5.800 postal carriers are attacked by dogs yearly. It mainly happens because dogs have a basic instinct of protecting their territory, so they see mail carriers as intruders. In most cases, a postal carrier who suffers emotional or physical harm from a dog attack can sue the dog’s owner. Dogs can carry rabies or diseases that can infect dog bite victims.
Getting bit by a dog is a scary experience. You could be left with scars, disfigurement, or emotional trauma. Illinois’s laws allow you to file a dog bite injury so you can seek compensation for your future medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, or other damages you may suffer.
If a dog has attacked you, the dog owner will be responsible for the medical expenses that result from the dog bite. Medical costs can vary greatly based on the severity of your injuries and the duration of your recovery. Victims sometimes require hospitalization, surgery, or ongoing rehabilitative therapy, so they can be expensive.
In Illinois, animal bites are covered under the strict liability laws. This means that if a dog attacks or tries to attack someone without provocation, the dog’s owner is liable for civil damages for the amount of the injuries.
Simply put, mail carriers and delivery drivers can legally enter your property, so they will be entitled to sue you for damages that result from a dog attack. Besides physical injuries, a dog’s owner can be responsible for temporary or permanent psychological harm, such as nightmares, depression, severe anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
As an owner, you should take extra steps to create a positive relationship between your dog and the mail carriers. If your efforts do not lead to a friendship, and they may not, you should keep your dog from causing harm. Consider the following tips:
- If your dog usually barks at mail carriers, put it into a separate room and close the door if the mailman is outside. You should follow this rule for all visitors if your dog is aggressive with strangers.
- Try to put your dog on a leash when someone comes near your property.
- Teach your children not to take the letters or packages directly from the mailman if your dog is around. Dogs are incredibly protective of children and can see any strange person as a threat.
- Consider installing a mailbox on your front walk, so the mailman won’t have to come to your porch.
- The U.S. Postal Service generally announces when your package is scheduled to arrive, so ensure that your dog is adequately restrained.
- If your dog is still aggressive toward the mailman or other delivery drivers, consider professional obedience training.
Dogs usually bite for specific reasons. Whether they are scared, defensive, or hurt, teaching your dog to be gentle is essential. Ensure that there’s a safe distance between your dog and the mailman, as they can bite if they feel threatened or defensive.
There are more than 89 million dogs in the United States, resulting in almost 4.5 million dog bites yearly. In 2020, one bite occurred for every 73 people in the country. A study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that around 800,000 bites also require medical care.
Dog bite statistics are generally higher in higher-population states. As of 2019, the most insurance claims occurred in:
- California – 2,396 claims
- Florida – 1,268 claims
- Texas – 937 claims
- New York – 893 claims
- Illinois – 854 claims
Separately, over 28.000 reconstructive surgery procedures were performed in 2015 due to dog bites, where 43% of hospitalized people needed skin treatment and sustained underlying tissue infections. 22% had wounds on their legs and arms. Dog attack victims have suffered monetary losses of more than $1 billion annually in the United States.
If a dog has bitten you, unfortunately, you may need to face considerable costs, such as medical expenses, lost wages, trauma, permanent scarring, or disfigurement. A personal injury attorney specializes in securing fair settlements for everyone who has been injured by dog bites or attacks. Additionally, a personal injury lawyer will explain the Illinois dog bite laws, gather as much evidence as possible, provide legal assistance, and negotiate with the dog owner’s insurance company on your behalf.
Depending on the severity of your injuries and the resulting losses, you may be entitled to compensation for emotional distress, lost wages, medical or surgical costs, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, or other expenses associated with your long-term medical care. Following your dog bite attack, seek medical attention immediately. Gather as much evidence as possible and take photos of the animal and your injuries. Then contact a personal injury lawyer who’ll fight for your rights.