Dogs attacking the mail carrier is an often joked about cliche, but it is also something that actually happens. In the city of Chicago, IL, it is something that happens a lot.
A recent poll ranks the city eighth on its list of American cities with the most dog attacks on mail carriers.
The poll includes dog bite statistics from 2021. Chicago earned its spot thanks to the 35 dogs that attacked mail carriers during that year. Illinois has the seventh most dog bites in the country with 226 in 2021 and 289 in 2020. The United States Postal Service says that dogs attacked over 5,400 postal employees in 2021.
Preventing dog attacks
The USPS urges dog owners to secure their dogs inside their homes, on a leash or inside a secure fence that is not located near the door where postal workers drop off mail and packages. It also urges owners to take safety precautions even if their dog has no bite history. Many of the dogs who attack postal workers have not previously bitten anyone.
Compensation for injured postal workers
Postal workers injured by dog attacks while doing their jobs are eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim through the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act. In some cases, they may also be able to sue the owner of the dog. Illinois is a strict liability dog bite state. Dog owners may be liable for dog attack injuries if the dog attacks a person who has a lawful right to be on the property, is conducting themselves peaceably and does not provoke the dog.
Workers’ compensation provides compensation for medical expenses and lost wages to injured employees. However, employees seeking compensation for pain and suffering may need to pursue a personal injury claim.