Should Your Pet be Entitled to North Carolinas Workers’ Compensation?

October 19, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Current law allows only human workers to collect benefits through the North Carolina workers’ compensation system. And perhaps that is fair and just. After all, although our nation’s cats, dogs, hamsters and fish take a fair amount of abuse – especially from curious toddlers – most of these furry friends (or scaly friends or feathered friends or what have you) do not get hurt while actively engaged productive labor.

However, there are exceptions. For instance:

• Firehouse dogs.

What happens to an adorable spotted Dalmatian who tags along with his fire crew and then one day gets caught in a ladder during a rescue operation and loses the ability to wag that adorable little tail forever more?

• Bomb and drug sniffing dogs.

These highly trained pooches spend their time identifying booby traps, drug mules, nefarious packages, and the like. They can easily find themselves in work-related situations that lead to injury. For instance, one can only speculate on the fate of a bomb sniffing dog who identifies a ticking piece of luggage “too late” to do anything about the “ticking.”

• Show tigers.

Most Americans are familiar with the horrific big cat attack that ended the long renowned Vegas act of Siegfried and Roy. While most news analyses of the Siegfried and Roy disaster focused on the agony the trainer endured, one can imagine that the big cat also suffered in the incident. If so, should the cat be entitled to compensation for the injuries and trauma he suffered on the job?

Of course, this post is meant to be facetious. It is not meant to belittle the cause of North Carolina Workers’ Compensation. And animals hurt “in the line of duty” often do have terrific care options at their disposal, including money for bills and the like.

On the flip side, hurt workers are often treated in “less than humane” ways by employers, insurance companies, and the workers’ comp bureaucracy.

Workers’ comp, philosophically at least, is about much more than dry issues like monetary compensation and regulations. It’s about fundamental human rights.

For help with a specific legal question, connect with a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm.

More Web Resources:

What happens to a firedog injured on the job?

The Siegfried and Roy Disaster