Pet sitters have become an accepted fact of life in today's society. People hire pet sitters to walk their dogs, to stay in their homes and to generally care for their pets when they can't be there. Sometimes they bring their beloved furry family members to animal daycare or boarding facilities where they are left in the trusted and hopefully loving hands of professionals. Occasionally, however, even the most loving of animals can turn on the very person responsible for their care.
According to the AVMA, dogs bite more than 4.5 million people every year. Over 800,000 receive medical attention for those bites. Both independent pet sitters and those who are employed by agencies have stories about being bitten by pets for whom they were caring. Sometimes the dog sank his teeth into their arm or hand, other times they did significant damage to the person's face. When a pet sitter is bitten, she may be eligible for compensation.
Receiving compensation for a dog bite acquired on the job is not straightforward. An employee may be eligible for reparation via workmen's compensation, whereas an independent contractor is more likely to need to go through the homeowner's insurance. Where it gets really tricky, however, is in determining liability.
Some states have established dog-bite laws. These states basically say the owner of the animal is at fault, regardless of the circumstances, if their dog bites someone. In states that do not have specific dog bite laws, however, it is the responsibility of the victim to demonstrate that the owner knew the dog was potentially vicious.
Regardless of the laws in your state, is it always wise to document the details of the incident as soon as possible after it occurs. Keep copies of any medical records and photograph the injury. You may also wish to consult an attorney to determine if you are eligible for compensation.
Many dog bite victims are hesitant to seek professional legal advice because they are worried about retaliation from the dog's owner. Fortunately, the majority of the arguing tends to be between the attorney and the insurance company as opposed to the attorney and the pet's owner. And the additional compensation you may receive after getting an attorney's help could help cover medical costs and pay for lost wages while you search for new clients.