Ouch! Former CT FedEx Driver is Awarded $160G in Settlement After Vicious Dog Attack

Toni Sutton

Thomaston, CT (WorkersCompensation.com) – Russell Horvath, a former FedEx Ground driver, was brutally attacked by two pit bulls in 2013 while trying to deliver a package. A settlement was reached in late August.

According to Horvath’s attorney Ryan Miller, a partner with Stratford’s Rosenberg, Miller, Hite & Morilla: In July 2013, Horvath backed his FedEx truck into a residential driveway in Thomaston. While backing up, a pit bull started to snarl at him, and then proceeded to jump on his vehicle.

Miller said, “At this point, he put the package between himself and the dog… when, out of nowhere, he looks behind him and sees another pit bull.”

“The dog wanted to kill,” per Miller… Horvath reacted fairly quickly, and most people in that predicament would not have gotten out of the situation alive. One of the dogs bit him in the buttocks while the other bit his forearm and his right knee. He was finally able to get the dogs off of him by kicking one, and slamming the sliding truck door on the other one.

After the two-minute attack, Horvath drove himself to the hospital. Medical personnel decided to irrigate his wounds because they were so deep.

A lawsuit was filed in 2015 against dog owners Ester and Jacob Radulewicz, and their father, Thomas Radulewicz. The dogs were allegedly euthanized.

After a week away from work, Horvath injured himself while lifting a heavy box on a delivery route. His right forearm wounds bursted open, and severe pains developed in his left shoulder. Horvath’s surgeon testified in a deposition that the junkyard incident was very much directly related to his dog bites.

It took both sides months to reach an agreement. The attorney for the dog owners’ insurance carrier, Hanover Insurance, wanted to settle in the amount of $10,000. Miller’s initial demand was $250,000. Horvath will receive a total of $160,000, which includes $40,000 in workers’ compensation, since he was injured on the job, and $120,000 in settlement funds.

Miller said his client has permanent scarring on his arm.

Another FedEx driver made the news after a dog attack last year in Pasco County, FL. He suffered minor wounds after an encounter with aggressive dogs.

In Illinois, a quarantine was issued after a German shepherd bit a FedEx driver.

A spokesperson for FedEx declined to provide a comment to WorkersCompensation.com.

Kevin Backlund also made the news after he was attacked by a pit bull. The retired Nevada State Patrol trooper became a UPS driver after he moved to Puyallup, WA. He was mauled by four pit bulls at a site he frequently delivered to. He needed more than 133 stitches for the 36 wounds he endured during the attack.

Earlier this summer, a dog owner in Chicago, IL was issued a citation after their dog bit a UPS driver.

WorkersCompensation.com spoke with Nick Venetsanako, a UPS delivery driver from MA.

He said, “Thankfully I’ve never been bitten by a dog while delivering, but a co-worker of mine was (bit) about two years ago. He had dealt with this dog before and didn’t (know) there would be a problem, so he approached the house to deliver the package while the dog was out. For no reason, the dog became aggressive and attacked him. He (was) bit on the face and has since had surgeries to try to correct it as best they could. He is back working with limited deliveries to non-residential areas, as he is still uncomfortable delivering to homes.”

Venetsanako also said injuries by dogs are happening more frequently. Why? He attributed it to invisible dog fences, and failure to corral dogs on property. Some dogs are left to run loose.

He also said UPS provides all drivers safety tips when it comes to delivering to households with dogs.

“Our employer has us loudly announce that we are there and beep our horns, to see if any animals approach. We are also told to look out for dog toys, electric fences, or signs to show there is a dog present. We are told if (we) are not comfortable with the situation, to just leave the packages at the mailbox if it’s at the end of the driveway… and if there is no mailbox to just leave it on the ground by the driveway. If there is a dog outside and we are comfortable leaving the package, we beep the horn and see if someone comes out… if not we will just not deliver and have the homeowner come pick up the package.”

Frank Polizzi, a spokesperson for Cal/OSHA, told WorkersCompensation.com, “…delivery drivers should be trained on the hazards associated with the specific work they do and the types of deliveries they perform. Delivery drivers in a busy city, warehouse district or residential neighborhood all face different hazards and should be trained appropriately. If a delivery worker was attacked by a dog and seriously injured (hospitalization for more than 24 hours for more than observation) or killed, and Cal/OSHA was notified, the inspection would look into if the worker was trained on the hazards related to their specific delivery work.”

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