When animals attack: How to protect yourself and your employees from animal-related inspection injuries
By Stephanie Jaynes
Inspecting homes is a dangerous job. From slippery roofs to electrical hazards, rotted subflooring to invisible toxins, the average home inspector encounters countless perils during their careers. While inspection horror stories come in all varieties, many of the tales that have unhappy endings seem to stem from home inspection animal attacks.
Most recently, the home inspection community rallied behind Texas home inspector Brian Bassett, who, while performing a residential home inspection on August 28, 2019, was mauled by three pit bulls that escaped their backyard pen. While Bassett declined to comment, his story lives through the testimonies of many of his fellow home inspectors online on various Facebook groups, forums, and his GoFundMe page.
According to those online sources, Bassett’s injuries were substantial. Within the first month after the attack, Bassett underwent four surgeries to clean and remove damaged soft tissue and reconstruct his lower left leg. While doctors were able to save his leg, infection forced them to remove two of his toes. And, although Bassett was able to return home from the hospital 23 days later, on September 20th, it will likely take another four to six months of rehabilitation and procedures to recover.
Unfortunately, Bassett’s story is not unique to the industry. Animals, both domestic and wild, pose a threat to unsuspecting inspectors. In this article and infographic, we discuss some precautions and resources to overcome onsite animal attacks.
What resources are available for home inspection animal attacks?
If you or one of your home inspectors is injured by an animal on the job, workers’ compensation benefits may be available to you.
Workers’ comp insurance provides employees who suffer from work-related injuries or diseases with access to medical and wage benefits. Unlike general liability (GL) insurance, which covers inspection-related bodily injury and property damage claims for non-employees, workers’ compensation looks out for you and the people who work for your company.
By covering job-related injury and illness costs, workers’ comp protects both employees and employers. Employees work under less financial risk knowing they have on-the-job protection. Additionally, employers limit their liability and deter litigation.
“Just speaking from personal experience, I know that an animal can do harm to an inspector. And [inspectors] need to have some way of dealing with that,” Gorum said.
What expenses can workers’ comp cover?
In animal injury cases, workers’ comp coverage can assist inspectors in the following ways:
- Medical Bills. From doctor appointments to hospital visits, to medications and mobility aids, workers’ comp helps pay to treat employee illnesses and injuries. Workers’ comp can even help inspectors pay for their mileage when traveling to receive medical care.
- Lost Wages. Sometimes, animal-related injuries and illnesses are bad enough that employees are unable to work. Workers’ comp can pay a percentage of the money the employee would be earning if they weren’t in recovery.
- Rehabilitation. Workers’ comp policies may offer medical rehab benefits, like physical therapy, to help employees recover. They can also help pay for vocational rehab for severely injured employees unable to perform their previous jobs. By helping these injured employees attain new abilities, vocational rehab helps them return to work in a different role.
- Death. If an employee died, the employer’s workers’ comp insurance may help cover funeral costs and lost income.
Note that, since workers’ comp is state regulated, the amounts paid out for the above benefits vary from state to state.
Do your part to abide by state law and protect your employees and your business by carrying workers’ compensation insurance. And do so with a company prepared to meet the inspection industry’s unique coverage needs. Apply for a workers’ comp for home inspectors with us today by completing this application. Or, you can learn more about workers’ comp by reading this long-form article on our blog.