Five Common Dog Bite Injuries

by | Sep 15, 2022 | Injuries

Contrary to popular myth, stray animals aren’t responsible for most dog bite injuries. Instead, owned pets inflict most serious injuries. Furthermore, most households include at least one dog. So, the environment is not too promising for dog bite victims.

Pet owners are legally responsible for dog bite injuries, at least in most cases. Dog bite victims in Kentucky have multiple legal options. The Bluegrass State has a very broad strict liability law, Unless the victim provoked the animal, pet owners could be responsible for damages as a matter of law, even if they didn’t know the dog might be dangerous. 

Other possible theories include scienter (knowledge), a/k/a the one-bite rule, negligence per se, and ordinary negligence. Scienter claims rest on aggressive pre-bite behavior and other evidence of viciousness. Negligence per se is a violation of a leash law or other safety law, and ordinary negligence is a lack of ordinary care.

All these legal theories have some pros and cons. A Lexington personal injury attorney can evaluate your case and, based on the evidence and the applicable law, obtain maximum compensation for your serious injuries.

Spine Injury

Frequently, serious dog bite injuries happen before the bite itself. The knockdown often causes serious wounds, like spine injuries.

The spine isn’t a single bone, or even a closely-bonded chain of a few bones. Instead, it’s a loosely-linked chain of thirty-three bones and twenty-six vertebrae.

A slight crack in any bone usually causes a very painful injury, like a herniated disc or a pinched nerve. In many cases, these victims have few treatment options, other than radical and risky back surgery or a significant intake of addictive pain pills.

More serious spine injuries are common as well, especially if the victim is very young, very old, or has a pre-existing condition. The lifetime medical bills in a serious spine injury case often exceed $5 million.

Head Injury

Sudden knockdowns also often cause head injuries. When victims fall and land hard, their brains usually slam against the insides of their skulls. That’s because the brain doesn’t fit snugly in the skull, like a head in a stocking cap. Instead, the skull is a large water tank which suspends the small brain in cerebrospinal fluid.

Much like spine injury victims, head injury victims often have few treatment options, other than radical brain surgery and extended physical therapy. Not everyone is a candidate for radical brain surgery, and even if doctors can perform it, there’s no guarantee of success. Brain injury physical therapy often isn’t very successful either, unless the therapist successfully trains uninjured parts of the brain to assume lost functions.

PTSD

Roughly half of child dog bite victims suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Just like there are some misconceptions about Traumatic Brain Injuries, there are also some misconceptions about PTSD, which is also a brain injury.

Extreme stress, like armed combat or being the victim of a car crash or serious dog bite, alters brain chemistry. The amygdala (part of the brain that controls emotional responses) enlarges, and the cerebral cortex (logical responses) shrinks. The resulting imbalance causes symptoms like:

  • Unnatural fear of all dogs,
  • Depression,
  • Anger,
  • Nightmares, and
  • Flashbacks.

These and other symptoms make it difficult or impossible to function at school, home, or pretty much anywhere else.

PTSD knowledge is still in the experimental stage, and so is PTSD treatment. Some drugs have shown some promise, but they are quite powerful and have significant side-effects, especially among children.

Severe Lacerations

When dogs bite and scratch, their teeth and claws often cause severe lacerations, frequently on the face. These wounds usually leave visible and invisible scars. No amount of treatment can entirely erase the physical scars of a dog’s teeth. We mentioned some of the emotional injuries above. Much like physical scars, sometimes PTSD fades after about a year, and sometimes it doesn’t. 

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Severe tearing lacerations usually require extensive, and expensive, treatment at large regional hospitals. Additionally, the infection risk increases significantly in these cases, since the wounds often remain open.

Internal Injuries

A dog’s teeth also cause deep, piercing wounds. These wounds often cause significant internal bleeding. Since kidneys and other internal organs have no protective skin layer, even a tiny pinprick causes profuse bleeding. In fact, many victims go into hypovolemic shock before doctors have a chance to examine them. Once again, these wounds are especially bad among young children. These victims don’t have much blood to begin with.

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 routinely handle matters in Fayette County and nearby jurisdictions.