Are you a Royal Mail or delivery worker going about your day-to-day job posting customers’ birthday cards, letters or parcels, when, without warning, you post something through a letterbox and next thing you know, something has bitten your fingers and won’t let go? Or the customer opens the door and out escapes the family dog, who has taken a dislike to you and decides to attack and bite you… Sound familiar?
Did you know that there have been over 2,700 dog bite attacks on Royal Mail delivery workers since 2015? During the year up to March 2023, Royal Mail recorded 1916 dog attacks. That’s 37 a week (an increase from the year before, which saw 32 a week). So, the overall figure seems set to take a steep increase. According to Royal Mail, Tunbridge Wells had the most dog attacks up to the end of March 2023, followed closely by other cities such as Sheffield, Belfast, Nottingham etc., with most dog attacks (47%) taking place at the front door. The threat is worst for delivery workers during the summer holidays, according to Royal Mail, when residents are more likely to be at home and their dogs are running free in the garden etc.
It has become such a problem that, over the last 11 years, Royal Mail has run a Dog awareness week, where customers are reminded and provided with advice about how to prevent such dog attacks in the event that they own a dog.
Albeit known as man’s best friend, however friendly they are to the owners and their family, dogs are notorious for being territorial and protective. Such dog attacks are becoming commonplace. We also know that however friendly a dog may normally be, they may have times when they may not be feeling their best, or they are hot or ill, and all of these things can make them act unpredictably. With the rise of dog owners during the pandemic and, in some cases, a lack of proper training and socialisation skills, we are seeing more and more of these dog attacks, leaving postal and delivery workers with injuries that not only affect them physically but also mentally.
Injuries can range from puncture wounds, loss of the ends of their fingers or fingernails, loss of muscle mass, and significant scarring. Sometimes, a customer’s dog may knock them over, causing fractures in hips and arms etc. Victims may also experience panic attacks, nightmares, constantly reliving the incident, and having an ongoing fear of dogs. All these factors can have a significant impact on them and may lead to financial losses such as lost earnings from time off work, medication costs, revision surgery, counselling costs etc.
We have represented many postal and delivery workers pursuing compensation from dog attack injuries over the years and helped them with future treatment costs where required in addition.
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