Dog Bite Injuries: A Closer Look

by | Sep 21, 2021 | Injuries

Since travel declined significantly in 2020, the number of dog bite claims declined as well. However, the average settlement amount increased over 12 percent. As pandemic pets struggle to adapt to higher levels of human interaction, the number of claims is set to increase as well. As outlined below, these attacks cause a number of injuries. Although some of these injuries are invisible, they are no less serious.

A better understanding of these injuries is probably one reason settlement amounts have gone up. Better understanding also means higher medical expenses. Victims need compensation for these expenses. Most health insurance companies refuse to pay these bills. Additionally, the compensation a Lexington personal injury attorney obtains helps these victims carry on with their lives.

Physical Injuries

These injuries begin before the dog’s teeth break the skin. In fact, in many cases, the knockdown injuries are worse than bite wounds. These knockdown injuries usually include head injuries and broken bones. 

Head injuries are normally permanent. Dead brain cells, unlike dead bone cells, don’t regenerate. Fortunately, a combination of surgery and therapy reduces the symptoms. Surgery eases brain swelling and prevents the injury from getting worse. Furthermore, a highly-skilled therapist can train uninjured parts of the brain to assume lost functions. 

Severe broken bones are normally permanent as well, at least to an extent. Normally, doctors must use metal rods and other such aids to reconstruct these shattered bones. That’s especially true if, as is often the case, the victim is a small child. As a result, some permanent loss of function is usually inevitable. Once again, a physical therapist can strengthen the area, but it will probably never be 100 percent again.

Frequently, the knockdown is worse because the bite itself isn’t too severe. For example, retrievers usually don’t bite hard enough to break the skin. These animals are bred to be, well, retrievers. 

Other dogs, like rottweilers, are different. These animals are bred as attack dogs, so that’s what they do. Their teeth usually cause both deep puncture wounds and tearing lacerations. The deep puncture wounds often cause excessive internal bleeding. In fact, in fatal dog bites, exsanguination (excessive blood loss) is usually the official cause of death. Such bleeding is hard to detect and control. The tearing lacerations usually cause injuries which require extensive reconstructive surgery.

All these injuries sound expensive to treat, and they are expensive. Fortunately, an attorney usually arranges for medical treatment at no upfront cost. That’s especially a good thing since brain injuries and other such wounds are usually degenerative.

Emotional Injuries

As if the physical injuries weren’t bad enough, many dog bite victims experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-type symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Hypervigilance (irrational fear of all dogs),
  • Sleeplessness,
  • Depression,
  • Anger, and
  • Loss of interest.

These symptoms make it difficult or impossible to function at home, work, school, or anywhere else. 

PTSD is a physical injury, just like a bite wound or a broken bone. Extreme stress affects the balance between the amygdala and cerebral cortex. The amygdala controls emotional responses, and the cerebral cortex controls logical responses. This imbalance explains the aforementioned symptoms. Although the chemical imbalance is permanent, time and therapy reduce the symptoms. For example, instead of a crippling fear of all dogs, PTSD survivors might only think twice about being close to a dog.

Infection Injuries

The old story that a dog’s mouth is very clean is completely untrue. In fact, dog bites have one of the highest infection rates of any kind of injury. These infections are especially severe if the victim has a pre-existing condition. Usually, bacterial infections spread very quickly and also become entrenched very quickly.

These injuries usually involve medical malpractice issues. Frequently, doctors either don’t detect these infections straightaway, or they do not treat them appropriately. Sometimes, a medical device, like a Bair Hugger Warming Blanket, could make infections worse. These blankets include vacuum pumps which suck dirty air from the floor, heat it, and use it to warm the blanket. As a result, the risk of serious infection rises significantly.

Both these scenarios usually involve separate legal claims. Usually, these injuries are not foreseeable to negligent dog owners. So, attorneys must file claims against either the doctor or the manufacturer of the defective product.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters. #goodelawyers