If I was hurt on residential property, do I have recourse?

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If I was hurt on residential property, do I have recourse?

I was delivering phone books as a contractor in a residential neighborhood. As I entered the yard of a homeowner, which had no fence or signs indicating any warnings, a dog came around and barked at me. At that time I decided to turn around and head to my vehicle but the dog ran at me and in fear I started to run. The dog pounced on my back and bit me as I fell on the ground. I yelled for help and got up and finally got to my vehicle. I noticed a resident,

seemed to be a teenager, and advised her of the situation which she ignored and went indoors. I called the police and they determined it was not a bite. After further inspecting my back with high resolution pictures, there is a bite on my back along with severe pain in my knees, my left one in particular. I am now headed to the hospital.

Asked on July 10, 2016 under Personal Injury, Tennessee

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you are an employee delivering phone books, you have a workers' compensation claim because you were injured on the job, and should contact your employer's human resources office to file the claim.
If you are an independent contractor instead of an employee, you don't have a workers' compensation claim because workers' compensation does NOT apply to independent contractors.  As an independent contractor, you would file your personal injury claim with the homeowner's insurance carrier.
If you are an independent contractor, notify the homeowner's insurance carrier in writing that you will be filing a personal injury claim.
When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a point in your treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of wage loss.  Your personal injury claim filed with the homeowner's insurance carrier should include those items.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
If the case is settled with the homeowner's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the homeowner's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit against the homeowner for negligence for the dog attack.  If this is the first time the dog has bitten, your lawsuit is for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable dog owner would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
If the dog has a history of biting, in addition to your negligence cause of action (claim), you would have an additional separate cause of action (claim) in your lawsuit for strict liability.  Strict liability imposes liability whether or not due care was exercised.
If the case is NOT settled with the homeowner's insurance carrier, your lawsuit against the homeowner for negligence and strict liability must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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