If you work with animals, your risk of physical harm is not insignificant. Every day, animals cause serious injuries to people, even those who are trained to handle them. The risk is there even if you work primarily with domesticated animals, like dogs.
Even if you don’t work with animals, there may be times when you cross paths with one. Mail carriers have to watch out for dogs. And animals have been known to get loose in places of business, occasionally causing injury to workers as well as customers.
As with any other work-related injury, it’s important to act quickly. If you’ve been injured by an animal, you need to promptly seek medical attention. After that, you need to report the incident to your employer and, depending on the nature of the incident, animal control.
Workers’ compensation for bites and other animal-related injuries
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance, and most states require employers to carry it if they have more than a few employees. If you’re classified as an employee, rather than an independent contractor, you are probably covered in the event of an injury.
With workers’ compensation, employees who are injured while at work, or while performing work-related activities, can have some of their medical expenses covered. They can also receive reimbursement for lost wages, if the injury prevents them from working.
Workers’ compensation comes with a catch, though. Under this system, injured employees are usually barred from bringing a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. This is true even in cases of obvious negligence.
But workers’ compensation claims have certain advantages, too. They are generally faster than lawsuits, and because of the no-fault system, you won’t have to prove that your employer was negligent.
When to bring a personal injury lawsuit
You may not be able to sue your employer for your animal-related injury, but this doesn’t prevent you from suing the owner of the animal, assuming the animal has an owner.
In the case of dog bites, Florida has a “strict liability” stance. This is a law that makes it easier for victims to get compensation. With strict liability, owners are responsible for dog bites even if the dog has never bitten before. This is in contrast to the “one bite rule” that some states have, in which the owner is only responsible if the dog is known to be aggressive at times.
Suing for animal-related injuries is easier if the animal is a domesticated one, like a dog or cat. But in some cases, you might have a personal injury claim after being injured by a wild animal.
For example, the owner of the property where the attack occurred may be responsible for your injuries, if they knew about the problem and didn’t do anything about it. To succeed in this kind of lawsuit, as with any lawsuit, you would have to prove negligence on the part.
If you’ve been injured at work by a wild animal or a pet, contact our offices for guidance. We’ll give you a free consultation with an excellent attorney, who is experienced in both workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits. Give us a call, an email, or a text message today!