The United States Postal Service has released its annual dog attack safety rankings, and Los Angeles is no longer at the top of the list. It came in second. Houston leads the list with 71 attacks in 2017. That’s up from 62 in 2016. Los Angeles had 67 in 2017. That number was down from 80 in 2016. One letter carrier in New Jersey might hold a dubious record. He was bitten by the same dog three separate times in 2017.

Tech and Teaching

Both tech and teaching are being used to keep USPS delivery people safer. When a package is to be picked up, the USPS inquires as to whether there are dogs at the pickup premises. If there’s an unleashed dog in the area, the information is given to carriers through their delivery scanners. A spokesperson for USPS remarked that the information is “particularly helpful for substitute carriers who fill in for regular carriers on their days off.” Continuing education and dog bite prevention training have also been helpful with decreasing he number of attacks.

Strict Liability

No dog gets a free bite in California. It’s a strict liability state. The fact that a dog in California has never bitten anybody before is irrelevant. Pursuant to section 3342 of the California Civil Code, a dog owner can be held liable for damages if the following occur:

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  • The victim’s damages were caused by a dog bite.
  • The victim was in a public place or legally in a private place.

Bites and Not Jumps

Note that the strict liability statute only applies to bites on postal workers. It doesn’t apply to your dog jumping up and knocking the mailman down and injuring him. Under those circumstances, the law of negligence applies. Strict liability also applies only to owners of dogs and not keepers of dogs. As opposed to an owner, the keeper of the dog must have known of the dog’s vicious tendencies.

Federal Employment Compensation Act

Upon being bitten by a dog, USPS delivery personnel are eligible for benefits through the Federal Employment Compensation Act (FECA), but those benefits simply don’t contemplate all of the damages that a victim might suffer. After a bite, postal delivery personnel might also be eligible to file an actual personal injury lawsuit against a homeowner, renter or business. That lawsuit allows the victim to seek a broader spectrum of damages than a FECA claim. You’ll want to talk with a Los Angeles dog bite lawyer from our offices about filing both a FECA claim and a personal injury lawsuit.

Contact a Los Angeles Dog Attack Lawyer

Whether you’re a USPS delivery person, a guest or a customer, you’ll want to speak with our offices right after suffering a dog bite injury. Don’t give the opposing insurer a statement of any kind. It will only try to use your own words against you in the future. Contact us by phone or email to arrange for a free consultation and case review on any dog attack in or around Los Angeles. We’re going to listen to you carefully and answer your questions completely.

Remember that California is a strict liability dog bite state.