Having pets is a great joy in life. What used to be pet ownership has shifted over the years to pet parenthood. The pet care industry is one of the top money makers by the time you factor in high quality food, treats, toys, clothing, accessories, and veterinary care. Then you have endless customizable pet care options.
In the United States, pet parents spent over $6 billion last year on the category encompassing grooming, training, and pet sitting. A pet sitter has been viewed in the past as a high school or college student looking for part-time cash who comes to your home a couple times a day to let your dog out or clean your cat’s litter box, and feed him or her. Today, pet sitters are running very serious six-figure businesses, complete with risks and workers’ compensation injuries.
Spreading yourself too thin eventually means injuries
Those who have made pet sitting their full time career limit their income by virtue of there only being so many hours in the day. The only way to truly make it in the world of professional pet sitting is to eventually hire help, which means even more risk – the legal kind. Sitters are up and caring for clients before sunrise and don’t stop until late at night. Exhaustion can lead to injury, especially in an occupation that requires being on your toes up to 18 hours a day.
Whether you’re running a dog walking service, you’re operating a doggy daycare, you’re making drop-in visits, or sleeping over in your pet client’s home, danger is everywhere. From working for clients who make you fear for your personal safety to pets knocking you down to working in inclement weather, it’s easy to become injured during a day of pet sitting.
Injuries pet sitters sustain
- Torn or pulled ligaments. With the amount of physical activity and number of quick movements and sudden turns made while keeping up with pets and keeping them safe, ankles and wrists can be overexerted and require substantial time to heal.
- Broken bones. From slipping on icy or slick surfaces to tripping over a tangled leash, broken bones can be extremely serious injuries putting you out of work permanently. Homeowners who are out of town rarely arrange for snow or ice removal when they hire pet sitters and just assume it’s part of the sitter’s job to dig a path to a door or navigate iced up steps. When it rains, certain surfaces may be very slick. One good pull from a dog can send a dog walker flying to the ground.
- Concussions and other TBI’s. Just as slips and falls can cause broken bones, they can also cause you to hit your head hard enough to cause a brain injury. A fall to the ground or floor can mean your head striking a table or counter, or your head connecting with the floor leaving you unconscious. Traumatic brain injuries can require long-term care if the accident is severe enough.
- Cat bites and scratches. Cats can carry bacteria that cause cat scratch disease. If the infection becomes serious, it can affect the brain, eyes, heart, or other internal organs, requiring intensive treatment.
- Dog bites. Bites can occur when your client’s dog becomes aggressive over food or a toy, or when loose dogs approach your client’s dog while out on a walk. Bites can become infected causing a host of complications. Dogs have the ability to clamp down crushing bones when they bite, which can require expensive, painful surgery.
Many of these injuries may require physical therapy to put you back in shape to return to work.
Making a claim
If you or one of your workers becomes seriously injured, you’ll need to make a claim against your workers’ compensation policy. Report your injury to your insurance carrier and see a doctor immediately. Your doctor will be able to assess the degree of your disability, which will help determine the compensation you may receive.
Insurance companies primarily care about their bottom line but they make it appear as if they’re more concerned about your business – until you need to file a claim. Having the guidance of a skilled workers’ compensation attorney can allow for a smoother claims process that will maximize your final settlement.
If you are a solo pet sitter, you likely don’t have the ability to file a workers’ compensation claim. If you become injured while caring for a pet, or while handling an emergency issue in the client’s home, you may need to file a personal injury or premises liability claim against the homeowner instead.
When the insurance company is looking out for its own interests, you need someone who’s sole job is to look out for yours. The fierce Alabama workers’ compensation attorneys at Mezrano Law Firm are here to help you get back on your feet and get back to your life after a work injury by working to secure the compensation that you deserve.
Speak with one of our client-focused attorneys by calling 205-206-6300 to schedule your free case evaluation, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact page. We take pride in serving the citizens of the State of Alabama with offices located in Birmingham, Mobile, Florence, Tuscaloosa, Gadsden, and Montgomery for your convenience.