When you think of the most dangerous jobs in America, the mail carrier rarely comes to mind. With personal injury claims becoming more common, the idea of the dog chasing the mailman seems to live on only in the 80s’ and 90’s kids’ movies.
However, recent data points to the fact that many mail carriers still suffer from the threat of dog bites. NBC News reports that in 2016 alone, 6,755 incidents occurred that involved dogs attacking postal workers. UPS adds that 900 of its own workers also suffered bites. Not surprisingly, the highest record is in the 1980s, when total incidents surpassed 7,000.
The upward trend
The cost of these dog attacks reaches millions of dollars each year in workers’ compensation and medical bills. In 2015, dog attacks against mail carriers climbed by 14%. The post office then launched an app that helped to protect workers by warning carriers when people had potentially hostile pets living on the property. In some instances, dog parents of repeat offenders would need to pick up packages in person.
The general public at risk
Postal workers are not the only people at risk. In fact, anyone who spends time around dogs can be in danger. As the NBC article pointed out, even good dogs have bad days and can surprise owners by lashing out. In fact, every year, 4.5 million Americans suffer dog attacks that lead to bites. More often than not, the victims are children.
The recommended approach
Ideally, dog owners need to keep dogs restrained and inside when postal workers approach. If they do not need to sign for packages, it is best to wait until the postal worker gets back into their vehicles before opening the door. USA Today also recommends that affected persons seek medical attention immediately.
Not all dog owners stay up to date on shots for their dogs and this can lead to diseases passed on to victims. Having medical records on hand to pull from might also come in handy should the individual decide to make a claim.