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Ohio BWC: Work Injury: Dog Attack


Dog attacks with cute dog in background

When most folks think of dog bites, dog attacks they tend to focus on one legal cause of action, suing the owner or harborer of the dog for the physical injury that dog has caused. But what if you get attack or bit by a dog while working, how many causes of action would you have?

The answer may be two. The traditional lawsuit you would file against the owner, harborer of the dog; and a worker’s compensation claim against your employer.

Problem of Collectibility

I do not wish that anyone is hurt, either on the job or otherwise, but you may have a better legal result or claim if you are bit or attacked during the course of employment. Why? Collectibility. A problem that folks sometimes encounter with dog bite cases is that the person who owns the dog or is legally responsible for the dog has absolutely no assets. So you might legally have won the case, and the court may have entered a six-figure judgment against the dog owner, but if the dog owner has no money, then he/she has no money to collect. Why is that person allowed to own a dangerous animal when he cannot financially pay for the harm the dangerous animal causes? Good question, unfortunately its an all too common problem in Ohio.

Dog Attack During Course of Employmeny

Suppose you deliver packages for UPS or are a pizza delivery driver. You pull up to a house/apartment, walk up to the door, ring the doorbell, owner opens the door, dog jumps out bites you on the leg. In this case you would fall into the duel category situation, two legal causes of action: dog bite claim, and worker’s comp claim.

Under worker’s comp, as long as your claim was allowed, you may be entitled to have your medical bills paid for, and compensation paid for during the time you are physically unable to work. This claim would be assessed against your employer’s worker’s comp coverage.

Now if the dog bite owner was collectible, and you either prevailed at trial or settled the case, you would probably have to subrogate the BWC in terms of the medical bills that had already been paid out.

Goes Without Saying . . .

Because we are talking about dog bites, I present you with pug in a drawer. So cute, Cheers, Kip