Delivery driver dog bite claims
Solicitor James McNally specialises in dog bite law and is one of the country’s true specialists in this niche area. In this article James looks at delivery driver dog bite claims. If you are a delivery driver who has been bitten by a dog then call the experts for a free case assessment and details of no win, no fee funding.
Over the last few years as more and more of us use the internet for our shopping we have seen a marked increase in the number of drivers being bitten by dogs when delivering parcels.
Dog bite injuries can be severe and life changing. It is not uncommon for delivery drivers who have suffered attack to sustain nerve and tendon damage. This can cause permanent, long term problems. Even a simple bite can require surgery as the wound needs to be properly cleaned. There can also be psychological repercussions for the victim. We represent a number of delivery drivers who are now too scared to do their job because they are afraid of getting bitten again.
When people think of a dangerous dog they often have an image of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier or a Pitbull. But all breeds have the potential to pose a threat to an unwary delivery driver. The dogs we have encountered in the cases we have handled over the years come in all shapes and sizes. While bigger dogs do mean bigger, more powerful mouths and so bigger bites, they often bite once and walk away. Smaller dogs on the other hand can be much more aggressive and dogs like the Jack Russell are known to bite and not let go. It is what these dogs were originally bred to do. You only need think of a terrier shaking a rat to imagine what damage they might do if they grab hold of your fingers.
Unlike postal workers, delivery drivers from companies such as Yodel, Hermes and DPD work on a self-employed basis. Payment is based on the number of parcels they deliver. This means that if they don’t work they don’t get paid, so a dog bite can leave them significantly out of pocket as well as in a lot of pain. An injury which stops someone from driving can mean they will receive no income for several weeks. And if that wasn’t bad enough the contracts they enter into often require them to pay for their own work cover while they get better – adding to their financial problems. Being self-employed also means they don’t enjoy the same employment rights that employed people do, so their services can be dispensed with far more easily.
The problem for drivers can be made worse if the dog owner doesn’t have insurance. Pet or home insurance isn’t yet compulsory in this country and if the dog’s owner doesn’t have it the injured victim will have no alternative but to recover compensation from the owner personally. If the owner can’t afford to pay then the victim could be forced to abandon their claim altogether or settle for much less than the case is worth.
It isn’t just the dog bite victims who are left out of pocket. The NHS have to foot the bill for the medical treatment which can often run into thousands. Where insurers are involved the NHS is entitled to be repaid as part of the compensation settlement, but if the owner is without insurance, or the money to pay compensation personally, then the NHS (and therefore we as taxpayers) also lose out.
The law in relation to dangerous dogs has changed in recent years. The police can now prosecute dog owners if attacks take place on private property. But this doesn’t really help the victims of dog attacks. They need to be protected from these attacks taking place in the first place. As a first step to achieving this dog owners must stop being surprised when their dog bites someone. Our advice to dog owners is no matter how friendly your dog may seem it is always possible they may bite a stranger who comes onto or near your premises. Dogs are territorial animals and for generations they have been bred to protect their owners. Dog owners need to bear this in mind and take sensible and adequate precautions. If they do so then a high number of attacks can be avoided entirely.
James runs a free national helpline and deals with delivery driver dog bite claims on a no win no fee basis. You can call in confidence on freephone 0808 139 1601 or email James direct at [email protected]