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Dog attacks to workers can lead to personal injury lawsuits

The ASPCA says almost half of households nationwide, including California, have one or more dogs as pets -- an estimated 70 to 80 million dogs across all states. These numbers increase the chances of package deliverers, cable installers, meter readers, police officers and postal carriers being victims of dog attacks. While some such attacks lead to no more than minor personal injury, dog attacks could be deadly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risks of infections from dog bites are caused by the presence of bacteria in the mouths of dogs. The organization says the number of bacteria types that could be present in the mouths and saliva of dogs can exceed 60, most of which can cause infections. While rabies is likely the best-known disease caused by dog bites, bacteria causing MRSA, Pasteurella and Tetanus can also be present.

While most workers who have to deal with dogs at the premises they have to enter as part of their jobs know the general rules of avoiding attacks, dogs can be unpredictable. Many dog attacks involved no provocation; instead, dogs often attack what they perceive as a threat. Victims of dog attacks in California might have grounds to file civil lawsuits against the owners of the dogs.

California has strict liability laws when it comes to dog bites. Dog owners cannot claim that they were unaware of the possibility that their dogs could be aggressive, and they cannot escape liability. An attorney who has experience in both personal injury and workers' compensation can explain how dog-bite victims can pursue financial relief through both avenues. Workers' compensation typically provides benefits to cover only medical expenses and lost wages, while a civil lawsuit can yield recovery of other damages like pain and suffering, scarring, and more.

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