The dramatic increase in online shopping over the past 10 years has been incredible. And the Covid-19 pandemic only sped up the use of online shopping for people from all age groups and walks of life. Because of the proliferation in online shopping, companies like Amazon, Fed Ex, and UPS have hired tens of thousands of workers to keep up with demand.
Amazon.com now has more than 1.3 million employees worldwide, more than doubling its force work in only a few years. The company has at least a dozen fulfillment centers in metro Detroit, with additional warehouses in Lansing and Grand Rapids. Fed Ex is expected to hire more than 60,000 temporary workers this holiday season. UPS will hire a similar number of workers this Christmas too.
But with the increase of Amazon delivery personnel as well as delivery drivers working for Fed Ex and UPS, comes the danger of animal bite injuries and dog bite attacks in Southfield, Michigan. The Michigan dog bite lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm handle dog bite cases for employees of delivery companies every day. We are the experts in Michigan dog bite cases. Schedule a free consultation with our attorneys to discuss your case.
What is the Michigan Dog Bite Law?
One of the ways to obtain compensation for injuries following a dog bite claim is by asserting the dog owner failed to abide by the Michigan dog bite law. The Michigan dog bite statute is MCL 287.351. The statute says:
“if a dog bites a person, without provocation while the person is … lawfully on … the property of the owner of the dog, the owner of the dog shall be liable for any damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
This means so long as the dog bite was not provoked by the injured person, the dog owner is responsible for any and all damages – such as medical bills, scarring, and pain and suffering – caused by their dog. It is a strict liability statute. This means you don’t even have to prove the dog owner was negligent to pursue legal action. All that must be shown is a bite occurred, the bite was not provoked, and the victim was not trespassing.
This is a powerful statute. It puts the onus on the dog owner. It is a law that has been basically unchanged for over 100 years.
What Should I Do If I am Bit by a Dog While on the Job in Southfield?
Getting bit by a dog is a scary, traumatic event. It goes to our primal fears. It is a very disorienting, confusing time. But whether you work for Amazon, Fed Ex, UPS, or some third-party contractor, there are some things you should do after an attack.
- Find a place of safety. Get to your van, or truck scream for help and make sure the dog is taken away.
- Ask for medical help from the dog owner if possible. If the dog owner is home, ask him or her for medical aide. Clean the wound(s) with hydrogen peroxide or some cleaning solution. Bandage the areas up as well to prevent infection. If you have a first aid kit in the truck, use it.
- Call your supervisor. Let them know what happened. That way they can contact a co-worker to come to the accident scene to give you help. It also helps memorialize what happened so the dog owner can’t deny the attack later on.
- Call the police. Make sure a dog bite report is made. Sometimes this must be done after you get medical treatment, but it is important the police or animal control knows about the attack. The police will come to the dog owner’s home and check for documentation of the dog, in particular whether it’s up to date on its shots. The police can also issue fines and tickets.
- Go for medical treatment. This is important. Even small bites can cause major problems if left untreated. Dog saliva has lots of bacteria. A small wound can get infected and make a small problem much worse. A hospital or urgent care can clean the wound, give an antibiotic and provide a rabies shot if needed. Always seek medical attention after an animal bite.
- Take photographs of the accident scene and your wounds. This is important for later on so the insurance company understands the severity of the attack.
- Call a Southfield, Michigan dog bite attorney who has experience and knowledge of dog bite attacks.
Who Pays for the Injuries from Southfield, Michigan Dog Bite Cases?
The dog owner is ultimately responsible for the payment of injuries caused by their dog. But, the homeowners’ insurance company for the dog owner will pay the claim. Just about all homeowner insurance policies cover dog bite attacks. This is true even if the attack did not occur on the property of the dog owner.
For example, if a dog owner takes his Pitbull to a dog park, and the Pitbull bites a person in the dog park, the dog owner’s homeowners’ insurance company – whether it is Allstate, State Farm, or some other carrier – is responsible for covering the case.
However, if you are covered by worker’s compensation, then the worker’s compensation company your employer uses will pay the medical expenses and lost wages resulting from the dog bite. Worker’s compensation does not pay for pain and suffering and emotional distress though. The homeowners’ insurance carrier for the dog owner will pay this.
In addition, the worker’s comp carrier is entitled to get reimbursed by the homeowners’ insurance company for the dog owner for any benefits it has paid out to the victim.
How Much is My Southfield, Michigan Dog Bite Case Worth?
The value of a dog bite case in Michigan depends on a lot of factors. The severity of the injuries is obviously important. The amount of medical treatment and medical bills also come into play. Scarring is also important, including whether the scar is permanent or not, the size of the scarring, and where it is located.
Scars to the face and scars to children tend to carry more weight with insurance companies and juries.
However, every case is different and almost all cases have value. That’s why it’s important to contact a Southfield, Michigan dog bite injury lawyer who is an expert in settling dog bite cases.
How Do I Stay Safe From Dogs While Delivering Packages
Your employer should provide some basic training on how to do deal with dogs that are on the property when you are making a delivery. But there are some basic safety precautions to take and think about:
- Look at the “kite” or “bunny” for that particular house. The cell phone or computer your company uses will provide delivery instructions for the home. It may also give you an idea if a dog lives on the property. Sometimes, the homeowner will provide specific instructions to leave a package at a side door or other location.
- If you see a dog roaming free on the property, honk your horn a few times. Do not get out of the truck or van. Wait for the dog owner to retrieve the dog. If the dog does not leave, call your supervisor.
- If you are in the process of delivering a package or walking away from a house after making the delivery and you see a dog roaming free, do not run. This will only encourage the dog to chase you. Instead walk backwards toward your truck and van while maintaining eye contact with the dog. Without screaming, ask if anyone is around to retrieve the dog.
What are Typical Injuries from a Dog Bite Attack in Southfield, Michigan?
The injuries from dog attacks vary widely. Injuries can range from small dime-sized scars to complete tears of muscle groups requiring surgery. Usually, a scar or multiple scars result from the attack. Bites to the arms, legs, ankles, and buttocks are common. If a person is knocked down by a charging dog, that can result in a broken leg or broken hip.
How Long Do I have to File a Lawsuit After a Southfield, Michigan Dog Bite Attack?
Whether you work for Fed Ex, UPS, Amazon, or another delivery company like Door Dash or Uber Eats, the answer is the same. You have three (3) years from the date of the attack to file a lawsuit against the proper defendants. This is called the statute of limitations.
Minors have a different set of rules. They typically have one year after their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit.
However, there is no reason in waiting this long to contact a Southfield dog bite injury lawyer after an attack. Most dog bite claims can be resolved without even having to file a lawsuit. But an experienced and knowledgable dog attack injury lawyer who understands the Michigan dog bite law and insurance companies’ processes can assist you in achieving full compensation for injuries.
Southfield, Michigan Dog Bite Injury Lawyers You Can Trust
The dog attack injury attorneys at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm have acquired millions of dollars in settlements for Michigan dog bite accident victims. We are experts in dog bite claims involving Amazon employees, UPS workers, Fed Ex employees, and other delivery people. We know what factors the insurance companies use to evaluate the value of a case. We can help with the worker’s compensation company as well if needed.
Call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) with any questions you may have after a dog attack. The consultation is free and we never charge anything until we win your case.