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Can Postal Workers Sue for Dog Bites?

June 11, 2019

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

It’s a known fact that dogs and postal workers don’t often get along. Dogs become territorial and bark madly as the postal worker approaches. The worker on the other hand, is simply trying to avoid getting bitten so they can continue on with their work. The struggle between the two is a classic, and one that will be repeated.

According to, the number of dog attacks on postal workers is growing in Philadelphia, although the nationwide numbers are declining. While in 2017 there were only 27 dog attacks on postal workers, last year that number jumped to 51. Just like anyone else that’s bitten by a dog, these attacks are painful and can leave workers with severe injuries. So, the question becomes, can postal workers sue dog owners for their injuries?

Pennsylvania Law on Dog Bites

In Pennsylvania, when the victim wants compensation for items such as pain and suffering, medical bills and lost income, the victim must file a lawsuit against the dog owner.

Filing a lawsuit against dog owners involves a bit more than simply showing that the dog caused injuries. The injured party must also show that the dog owner was negligent. In order to do this, they must prove that the owner knew that the dog was dangerous, and that the owner didn’t restrain the dog properly.

There are rules that just apply to when a postal worker is the victim of a dog bite attack.

Federal Employees’ Compensation Act

Due to the fact that postal workers are on the job, if they get bitten or attacked by a dog, they cannot file a personal injury lawsuit. They must file a workers’ compensation claim. The claim they file is also different than the claim other injured workers in Pennsylvania must file. Postal workers are federal workers and as such, must file a claim through the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act.

The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act works a bit differently than the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. The federal statute says that all federal workers must pursue a personal injury claim through the federal workers’ compensation system. This statute is included to protect the federal employees and agencies that all enjoy immunity from liability. Even when the at-fault person is not the employer though, federal workers are still required to file a federal workers’ compensation claim for any job-related injuries.

Still, doing so could prove more beneficial than simply asking the dog owner for compensation for medical expenses. Filing a workers’ compensation claim will provide for full lost wages for up to 45 days after the accident, and then continue on at a reduced rate, if needed.

Want to File a Lawsuit? Contact a Philadelphia Dog Bite Lawyer

While postal workers are unable to file a lawsuit against the dog owner, many others in the state can if they’ve been bitten by a dog and believe the owner was negligent. If you’ve been a victim of a dog bite or attack, you need the help of a skilled Philadelphia dog bite injury lawyer.

If you are injured contact van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim today at (215) 486-0123. We know how to hold dog owners liable for the actions of their pet, and we’ll help you prove the most difficult aspects of negligence in court. No one should file a lawsuit on their own, particularly while recovering from serious injuries. Call us today so we can begin reviewing your case.



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