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In movie and television comedies, dogs always chase after and attack the mailman. But outside the realms of Hollywood, animal attacks on the job aren’t so funny. If you work with animals on a daily basis, come into contact with household pets, or otherwise encounter animals while working, it’s important to know your legal rights if something goes wrong. Workers’ compensation benefits may be available to you if you suffer from insect bites, animal assaults, or diseases transmitted via animals.
High Risk Jobs for Animal Attacks
In order to receive workers’ compensation for an animal attack, you must be on-the-job. Because of this, people who work with animals on a daily basis are at the highest risk for workplace animal attacks. These jobs include:
- Staff who work with animals at theme parks
- Animal control workers
- Dog trainers
- Pet store employees
Workplace animal attacks, however, are not just limited to the jobs you typically associate with animals. Several other jobs carry a high risk for animal assaults, such as:
Delivery workers. Mailmen, food delivery workers, and other workers who enter people’s homes are at risk of dog attacks, as well as wasp, hornet, or mosquito attacks.
Teachers. Many elementary school classrooms have class pets, such as reptiles and insects, creating a risk for injury.
Police and firefighters. Many of these workers are called out to handle raccoons, cats, and other wild animals.
Medical professionals. Several workers in the medical profession, such as home health care workers and nurses who visit patients at their homes can encounter violent pets.
Construction workers and installers. Wasps, bees, rats, skunks, and other wild animals are just a few of the dangers construction workers and installers may encounter while on the job.
Babysitters. Since babysitters often spend time at other peoples’ houses, they may interact with their employers’ pets.
Types of Animal Attack Injuries
When you think of animal attacks, you probably think of dog bites. But there are a wide variety of animal attack injuries ranging from mild to severe. If you’ve experienced any of these injuries while working, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Some common animal attack injuries include:
Insect bites. Several types of insects and spiders are venomous, causing dangerous, and sometimes fatal, reactions. Infectious diseases, such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus, can also be spread by insect bites
Rabies. Wild animals such as bats, foxes, squirrels, and raccoons can carry the rabies virus. Once you contract the virus, it may take several months or even years for symptoms to show up. Unfortunately, by the time symptoms appear, the virus is usually fatal in humans.
Cat scratch fever. If a cat bites or scratches you, you may be at risk for cat scratch fever, which leads to swollen lymph nodes, headache, fatigue, and fever. More severe symptoms include blood vessel clusters and dangerous eye conditions.
Psittacosis or “Parrot Fever.” Many birds have the potential to carry the Chlamydia psittaci bacterial strain, which they can transmit to humans through scratches, bites, and contact with feathers or droppings. This condition can lead to flu-like symptoms, pneumonia, heart and liver damage, and in some extreme cases, death.
Allergic reactions to stinging insects. For some people, stings from bees, hornets, ants, and wasps can lead to severe allergic reactions. Hives, difficulty breathing, and anaphylactic shock are the most common reactions and can be fatal in certain cases.
Infected bite/scratch wounds. Since pets’ mouths carry bacteria and parasites, bites and scratch wounds have the potential to become infected, sometimes having deadly consequences.
Available Compensation for Animal Attacks
If you’ve been attacked by an animal while working, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Punitive damages may also be available if there is more than just negligence, meaning there has to be proof of intent to harm or recklessness.
Contact a Massachusetts Worker’s Compensation Lawyer
The lawyers at Powers & Caccavale are experienced in dealing with animal attack cases and are dedicated to maximizing your workers’ compensation benefits. If you or someone you love was attacked while on the job, contact us to help get your life back on track.