If I Perform Work on Someone’s House, Can I Sue for a Dog Attack?

Categories: Dog Attacks

dog attack sign

Some jobs require workers to enter private property.

Whether you work for the gas company, you are a postal service worker, or you are hired by the homeowner to make repairs, if the owner’s dog attacks you, you have options for compensation. This type of situation is more complex than the average dog attack because it will come down to specifics like how the attack occurred, the history of the dog, and insurance coverage.

Understanding the Basics of a Dog Attack Case in Philadelphia

A dog bite that occurs on someone’s property falls under negligence law. When you are invited onto someone’s property, you are entitled to expect a reasonable expectation that the property is safe and that you will not suffer an injury.

This expectation is known as the standard of care. A homeowner must use reasonable care and follow this standard for anyone on their property – including people doing work on their property. Because you are doing work for the homeowner, you are considered a guest. Therefore, the law expects that the property owner maintains a safe premise and prevents harm.

If the owner deviates from the accepted standard, then you could hold them liable for their negligence and make an insurance claim and/or file a lawsuit against them for your injuries.

How Dog Attack Cases Are Paid

The homeowner’s home insurance policy pays a typical dog attack case. In some cases, the owner’s assets might also be used to cover the costs of the claim. You are limited to the amount of coverage available, which is typically $100,000.00, but of course may be much more.  

Factors to Consider When Attacked While Doing Work on Someone’s Property

While the homeowner might be responsible in a dog attack case, these cases are more complex than that. You must not only prove the owner was negligent, but that you did not play a role in the attack. Guest or not, there are ways you can hinder your case by contributing to the incident (e.g., provoking the dog or going to pet it after being told to stay away).

The Worker Should File a Workers’ Compensation Claim Regardless

If you are performing work as part of your regular employment, you should still file a workers’ compensation claim. This ensures you receive compensation in the interim. Also, if for some reason you do not have a valid dog attack claim, you only have so long to file your workers’ compensation claim, or you could be denied benefits. Therefore, report the accident to your employer immediately.

Seeking Medical Attention

It is essential that you seek medical attention immediately after the incident. Not only will this help in the event you file a workers’ compensation claim, but it establishes that a legitimate injury occurred. Furthermore, you must mitigate further damages. If you ignore the injuries you sustain and do not seek medical treatment, the defendant may be able to argue against some of the costs you claim in court.

For example, you were attacked by the animal, but you ignored treatment for several weeks, allowing an infection to develop. While the initial injury and costs are the fault of the homeowner, you ignored your wounds and did not seek treatment, which led to an infection – this is not the homeowner’s fault.

Did the Dog Have a History of Aggressive Behavior?

You may need to establish that the dog had a history of aggressive behavior. It is easier to prove that a dog attacked without provocation if there is a history of similar behavior. The dog does not have to attack a person to have a history. Barking, growling, or attempting to attack people in the past works, too.

Was the Dog Restrained at the Time?

One important factor is where the dog was and where you were at the time.

Also, whether the dog was restrained or not will matter in certain cases. If the dog was on a leash in an area away from your work area, then you approached the dog and that dog bit you, you MAY not have a claim. The owner restrained the dog and removed them from your work area – thus, eliminating the threat of an attack.

The same goes if the owner locks the dog in an area of the house where you were not authorized to go. For example, the owner places the dog in the basement while you perform work on the roof. You have no reasonable excuse for entering the owner’s basement, the owner did not permit you, and you were trespassing in that portion of the owner’s home. Therefore, the expectation of safety does not apply.

If, however, you were performing work in the area where you were authorized, the dog was not restrained and you were attacked, the owner violated their duty of care owed to you.

Speak with a Dog Attack Attorney to Explore Your Options

If you are seriously injured in a dog attack during employment, report the injury to your employer and seek medical treatment. Then talk to an attorney that has experience with dog attack cases.

Jeffrey Penneys has experience handling dog attack cases. He can review the facts of your case and help determine if you have a valid claim.

Get started by scheduling a free consultation now by calling him at 215-771-0430 (cell) or toll-free at the office at 800-465-8795. You can also request your no-obligation consultation online.