Chicago Attorneys Fight for Doordash Drivers Who Suffer Dog Bites
Doordash is a helpful service for those who need a meal delivered and for those who want to make extra money with a side job. In 2020, Doordash made 45 percent of all app-based food delivery orders, rapidly outpacing its competition as the company expanded into new markets. Today, Doordash has 25 million users and over 390,000 member restaurants.
Doordash also keeps thousands of delivery drivers busy with orders. These drivers can make money by completing deliveries, but they also face risks. Dog bite injuries are among the risks – and the consequences can be severe.
Are Dog Bites Common for Delivery Drivers?
Approximately 69 million US households have at least one dog. Many dogs are friendly toward strangers. Some are aggressive. And any dog may bite if it feels startled or threatened.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) estimates that over 5,800 postal workers experienced a dog attack in 2020. This number does not include attacks against other package carriers, like FedEx or UPS drivers. Nor does it include attacks involving Doordash or other app-based delivery drivers.
Overall, Illinois ranks lower than many states for total dog bite injuries recorded each year. Chicago, however, is third on the USPS list of most dangerous US cities for dog bite injuries to postal carriers. Other delivery drivers face similar risks as postal carriers.
About 4.5 million dog bites occur in the US each year. While deaths are rare, permanent injuries are not.
Illinois Dog Bite Law
Illinois’s dog bite law, 510 ILCS 5/16, allows an injured person to recover damages from a dog’s owner after a dog bite or other attack. An injured person may recover damages if:
- The owner’s dog “attacks, attempts to attack, or injures” the person,
- The injured person was “peaceably conducting himself or herself” at the time of the attack, and
- The injured person was in a place they were legally permitted to be when the attack occurred.
Illinois dog bite laws don’t apply when an injured person is somewhere they don’t have a legal right to be. For instance, a person who is bitten while trespassing may not seek damages under the dog bite law. Similarly, a person who is threatening harm to others may not be covered by the statute, as they are not acting “peaceably.”
Most delivery drivers, however, aren’t trespassing when they make deliveries. Typically, a delivery driver is legally permitted to be on a house’s driveway, sidewalk, stairs, or front porch if their purpose is to drop off a delivery. In addition, most Doordash drivers intend to act peaceably. They simply want to complete the delivery and move on.
In Illinois, the dog’s owner may be liable even if the dog was on a leash or otherwise restrained. Likewise, a dog’s owner may face liability even if the dog has never acted aggressively in the past.
Types of Injuries and Statistics
About 48 people died of dog bite injuries in the US in 2019. Injuries, however, numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
Common types of dog bite injuries include:
- Damage to skin, muscle, nerves, and bones,
- Infections due to dog bites
- Permanent scarring, pain, or loss of function, and
- Mental and emotional trauma.
Approximately 1,000 people each day receive emergency room care for dog-related injuries. Nearly 27,000 people each year need reconstructive surgery to address the damage caused by a dog bite. About 20 percent of dog bite injury sites get infected, requiring additional medical care.
Where to Turn for Help
A dog bite can be a serious burden for a Doordash driver. Doordash drivers are typically considered independent contractors, not employees. As a result, Doordash drivers don’t get health insurance or workers’ compensation coverage from Doordash. If a dog bite or other injury happens, these delivery drivers must pay their own costs.
And the costs can be steep. The average cost of a hospital stay for a dog bite is $18,200. Financial losses faced by dog attack victims in the US total over $1 billion annually, according to some measures.
If you’ve suffered injuries from a dog attack while driving for Doordash, you may feel angry, worried, or overwhelmed. You have legal rights – and you don’t have to fight for them alone.
The experienced Doordash dog bite injury lawyers at Briskman, Briskman & Greenburg can help. Our legal team understands how a dog attack can be life-changing. We’re here to help you understand your legal options and pursue the course of action that is best for you and your family. To learn more, contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.