Every year, dogs bite over four million Americans. Many of these instances cause serious injuries. As outlined below, these injuries usually have multiple layers. As a result, the medical bills add up quickly. Hospitalization costs about $3,000 a day, and that’s just the beginning. Prescription drugs and physical therapy adds thousands more to this total. Additionally, these victims must endure significant emotional distress. Sometimes, this distress lasts a lifetime.
A Lexington personal injury attorney can obtain substantial compensation in these cases. The amount of compensation usually depends on the severity of the injuries, as well as possible insurance company defenses.
Most serious dog bite injuries involve large breed animals, like rottweilers, that attack small children. In these situations, the knockdown might cause worse injuries than the bite.
Knockdown injuries usually include head injuries and broken bones. Initial head injury symptoms usually include soreness and disorientation. Eventually, head injuries often cause personality changes and other symptoms. More on these things below. Frequently, broken bone injuries are long-lasting as well. That’s especially true if the victim breaks a shoulder, knee, elbow, or other joint bone. These injuries usually cause permanent loss of motion.
The bite itself usually causes severe tearing lacerations as well as deep puncture wounds. As the victim struggles to get free and the attack continues, the dog’s teeth often cause gruesome injuries. These wounds usually require reconstructive surgery. The deep puncture wounds often cause massive internal bleeding. Internal organs have no protective skin layer. So, even a pinprick could cause massive hemorrhaging. A dog’s teeth are much sharper than a safety pin.
A significant number of dog bite victims experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The symptoms include:
- Loss of interest,
- Nightmares, and
PTSD is not a processing disorder. Instead, like the head injuries discussed above, it’s a physical brain injury. Extreme trauma triggers chemical changes in the brain, specifically in the amygdala and cerebral cortex. The amygdala controls emotional responses, and the cerebral cortex controls logical responses.
Trauma enlarges the amygdala and shrinks the cerebral cortex. The resulting imbalance explains the aforementioned symptoms.
Chemical imbalances need chemical treatments. Unfortunately, no chemical treatment is available. Current remedies just treat PTSD symptoms. Some drugs, like MDMA (Molly), have shown promise. But a PTSD “cure” is still a long way away.
Dog bites have very high infection rates. Sometimes, bacteria in the dog’s mouth causes these infections. Other times, infection happens at the hospital, mostly because of the extended stay requirement and extensive surgery needed.
In terms of injury claims, infections are complex matters. As mentioned, sometimes the infection is a direct result of the dog bite. If that’s the case, the dog’s owner is usually financially responsible for infections. Other times, medical negligence causes an infection. Doctors are responsible for these injuries. Still other times, a defective product, like a Bair Hugger Warming Blanket, is to blame.
Briefly, the BHWB sucks air from near the floor, heats it, and uses it to warm a blanket. The warmth is often a welcome relief in a cold hospital room. Unfortunately, the air near the floor is also quite dirty. Bacteria multiply in the heat. Then, these particles go into an open wound.
Claims against dog owners are equally complex. Most victims have several legal options. Each one has pros and cons, as follows:
- Strict Liability: Kentucky has a very broad strict liability law. Owners are responsible for any injury to “a person, livestock, or other property.” Victims who claim compensation under this law must only prove cause.
- Scienter (Knowledge): If the owner knew the dog was potentially dangerous, liability also attaches. Evidence of knowledge includes prior attacks as well as pre-bite behavior, like snarling or growling. Compensation is usually higher in these claims. There is an element of owner recklessness. However, scienter is obviously only applicable in some cases.
- Negligence: Many municipalities have animal restraint laws, like fence laws and leash laws. Owners who violate such laws are liable for damages as a matter of law, if the violation caused injury. The ordinary negligence doctrine is available as well. Ordinary negligence is basically a lack of reasonable care.
Common defenses in dog bite compensation claims include the assumption of the risk defense and the provocation defense. Assumption of the risk usually involves a warning sign, like “Beware of Dog.” Provocation is a form of comparative fault. This doctrine shifts accident blame from the owner to the victim.
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. Lawyers can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money. #goodelawyers