COMMON DOG BITE INJURIES
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
“It’s just a dog bite; what’s the big deal?” Dog bites of any type – from major attacks to seemingly minor nips – can have major effects on the victim’s physical and emotional health. Appreciating the long-term impact isn’t always easy.
Dog bites can cause a wide range of physical injuries, including cuts and lacerations, fractures and tissue loss. Because a dog’s teeth rip and tear through tissue, bites can sever nerves, fingers and noses, and result in visible scarring that requires plastic surgery to treat. Scarring is one of the primary causes of emotional distress and depression following a dog bite or attack, causing victims to avoid social contact and to miss out on potential opportunities and enjoyment of life.
Also, about a third of dogs and cats have bacteria that can cause widespread infection in susceptible people. Even minor bites can wind up causing amputations, organ failure, and even death. Bacterial infections also worsen wounds, creating large scars that remain visible for the rest of the victim’s life.
Psychological / Emotional Injuries and PTSD
Besides physical injuries, dog bites can cause lasting psychological injuries that can persist for months or even years after the attack occurs. Depending on the severity of the attack, some victims may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), re-living the event repeatedly for months or years afterward.
Depression and anxiety are common side effects, and even “dog lovers” may find themselves nervous or afraid around dogs following a dog bite incident. Many dog bite victims become wary of going outside alone; Even a relaxing walk through their neighborhood becomes an anxiety-ridden experience, filled with fears of future attacks.
Assessing the emotional injuries that occur as the result of an attack can be especially difficult because often, the fear and anxiety can take time to develop, surfacing in dreams and generalized anxiety that can pervade every aspect of a person’s life.
Disfigurement and Social Stigma
When a dog bite leaves a large, visible scar or when a bite results in the loss of a finger, a portion of a nose or other feature, or causes other physical disfigurement, the bite victim may be ostracized, especially if the victim is a child or young adult. They may have fewer social opportunities or feel too self-conscious to enjoy the opportunities life might present.
Psychological damages can last a lifetime, requiring several long courses of psychotherapy, often in addition to medication for depression and anxiety.
Dog bites are traumatic events that cause both physical and emotional injuries, and the healing process can be long, complex and costly, especially when the victim is a child or young adult.
Because of the potential psychological impact of a dog bite incident, having an attorney who is both skilled and compassionate is critical. If a dog has bitten you, we can help. Call our offices today to schedule an evaluation.