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On-The-Job Dog Bite of Denver TV Anchor a Work Comp Issue?

While taping a 'feel good' news segment for Denver's KUSA-TV, anchor Kyle Dyer was bitten in the face by the star of the piece -- an 85-pound Argentine Mastiff. The show was intended to reunite the dog's rescuer with the dog and its owner, but quickly turned when the Mastiff bit the news anchor in the lip while filming.

Dyer had reconstructive surgery on her lip and was able to go home from the Denver Health Medical Center on Thursday. It is quite likely that Denver workers' compensation benefits will cover all Dyer's medical expenses and any lost wages during her recovery period.

Colorado's work comp system is set up as a no-fault system. Simply stated, no-fault means that it doesn't matter who is at fault for the injury -- in this case a dog bite -- if it happened while at work, expenses and lost wages related to the injury should be covered by workers' compensation.

The purpose of the no-fault system is to provide benefits to injured workers as soon as possible. There is no need to sue your employer and, in fact, you legally cannot sue your employer for workers' compensation benefits. Workers' compensation is the exclusive remedy against your employer for on-the-job injuries in Colorado.

If your employer denies your right to receive workers' compensation for a work-related injury, you do have the right to contest the decision and present evidence that your injury does qualify for work comp. Often, the assistance of a workers' compensation attorney can help you efficiently pursue your claim for benefits.

Outside of the workers' compensation system, an injured employee may also have a third-party liability claim against the person, or in this case, dog owner, who caused the injury.

The attack was a surprise to his owner as well as to the news anchor. "Max is a gentle, loving, family dog," his owner stated. Max was impounded by Denver Animal Control and is in a 10-day quarantine.

Source: CBS News, "TV anchor recovering from dog bite during segment," February 10, 2012

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