Every year, approximately 4.5 million people sustain dog bite injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Twenty percent of these people will require medical attention at an emergency department or hospitalization for their injuries.
What kind of physical injuries can dog bites cause?
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Attacks to the face are common when you are knocked down or if you were in close range to the dog’s face before the attack. Facial wounds can lead to disfigurement and could impair your vision, speech, and even ability to eat.
The most common injuries are lacerations that can leave facial scars. Injuries to the lips and ears can cause the loss of tissue in these parts. In some cases, plastic surgery is required to repair the lost or damaged tissue and restore a normal appearance. Serious trauma to the lips and jaw can cause complications with talking and eating.
When a dog goes for the face, it often causes damage to your eyes. This part of your face is extremely sensitive, and wounds here can be difficult to treat. Lacerations to your eyelid or surface of your eye (cornea) are possible and may require stitches or a protective covering to heal.
In serious cases, the trauma to an eye can be so great that partial or total vision loss occurs. Deep punctures or a severe blow to the eye socket can cause irreversible vision loss.
Lacerations and Punctures
Lacerations and punctures are the most common types of dog bite injuries. They occur when the dog’s teeth or claws pierce the skin, leaving open wounds that are prone to infection. Blood loss can occur quickly if the dog’s attack punctures a major artery.
Depending on the location and depth of the laceration, stitches may be needed to close the hole and promote healing. Before closing, the wound will need to be cleaned and disinfected to reduce the risk of infection. Even with proper care, deep wounds can leave permanent scars.
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Even though scars are a sign that the injury has healed, the truth is they can cause injuries of their own. As new skin grows to close the wounds, it can become tight and uncomfortable. Wounds near the mouth or nose that scar over can impair breathing and mouth movements.
Scars also add to the emotional injury aspect of dog bite injuries. They become lasting memories of the attack and can increase feelings of fear or anger toward dogs. Some people may become depressed or withdrawn due to prominent scarring.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are several common diseases that you can contract through dog bites:
- Capnocytophaga spp.
These infections happen when bacteria from the dog’s mouth gets into the wounds. An average of 18 percent of dog bites become infected (CDC), and these infections can cause:
- Can become fatal if untreated
What kind of emotional injuries can dog bites cause?
The trauma of an attack by a dog can cause life-long anxiety and fears, especially in young children. There is a potential for a dog bite survivor to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the attack and seeing similar dogs might trigger this mental condition.
Disfigurement also plays a major part in the cause of emotional damages after an attack. If the scars are prominent, you may become reclusive and avoid going out in public or go to great lengths to cover your scars. Depression is a common result of severe disfigurement from a dog bite.
How can I determine if I can collect damages for my injuries?
To collect damages from a dog bite attack, you must be able to prove that the dog’s owner was negligent in keeping others safe from harm around his dog. Furthermore, you must prove that you did not provoke the dog.
Before you can file a claim, you must identify the dog’s owner, which can be a difficult task. A family in Columbus had difficulty contacting a dog owner and was frustrated by the lack of communication from health officials after their 11-year-old son was bitten, as chronicled by the Columbus Dispatch. They were unable to find out if the dog was rabid and were worried about collecting reimbursement for the hospital bills.
At Bressman Law, we take on the burden of locating the dog’s owners and holding them accountable for the damages their dogs cause. While you recover from your injuries, we assess the impact the attack will have on your well-being and future ability to work and live a normal life.
When you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury in an attack by a dog, contact Bressman Law to schedule a FREE consultation regarding your rights to file a claim against the dog owner. Call today – (614) 538-1116.