Online retailers have increased their business tremendously over the past few years, primarily due to more and more of them offering free shipping on many of their items or for less-expensive orders. This has been great for the delivery business, particularly for the US Postal Service which nearly went defunct as a result of snail-mail being replaced by email.
But while the economy of these industries has picked up, there has been an unexpected negative consequences: postal workers are being bitten by dogs more often. The USPS reports that in the year 2015 alone, dog bites rose by more than 14%, with over 6,500 cases. This becomes a little less surprising when you also learn that delivery industries have been bombarded with business; the USPS delivered 1.2 billion more packages in 2015 than they did in 2011.
A Dog’s Territory
The long-standing rivalry between dogs and postal workers is one that has been immortalized in cartoons and numerous other art forms, but it’s a very serious issue that mail carriers face every day. So serious, in fact, that the USPS has developed a new app available for their delivery handhelds to mark potential hazards along their routes, including vicious animals.
Postal worker Michael Micali from New Jersey stated “Dogs view mailmen as trespassers invading their space.” Indeed this has been referred many times to an instinctual response to defend what the animal views as its territory from a potentially hazardous invader.
And it’s not just dogs that are vicious. While the numbers listed are strictly for dog bites, the USPS has also mentioned that territorial turkeys, peacocks, and geese, amongst other animals have attacked postal workers who they believe have entered their property.
Am I Liable for a Dog Attack?
If you are a pet owner, the law in North Carolina places the onus on you to have them secured at all times to prevent these attacks and injuries. Postal workers and delivery couriers are considered to be “licensees,” meaning they must be given protection from and adequate warning about the presence of any hazards. This includes locking up or otherwise securing any animals that may attack them for the duration of their visit, even if such a visit is not by explicit invitation.
If you are bit by a dog or other animal and injured while on the property of another, you could be eligible to receive substantial compensation. Have your case reviewed by a North Carolina personal injury Attorney with more than 60 years of combined experience and multiple legal accolades, including an AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. At The Law Office of Donald R Strickland, we pride ourselves on providing each of our clients with top-quality legal counsel, and fight on their behalf to get them the compensation they need while they recover from their injuries.