After a dog attack, the victim may be left with stitches, scars, and scratches. Most people assume that after the wounds and scratches are healed, life moves on smoothly. However, attacks can have long-lasting psychological effects, especially in younger children. This psychological trauma may mean a long-term fear of dogs and sometimes costly therapy.
If someone suffers an attack from a dog, symptoms such as avoidance, intrusive memories, guilt, and mood swings are not uncommon. These symptoms can affect children’s personalities as they grow up.
Physical Injuries Following a Dog Bite
Physical injuries that are sustained in a dog bite can be severe, and they may result in weeks of treatment and months of healing. Sometimes these attacks cause permanent damage to the victim. Below are the most common physical injuries sustained during a dog bite:
- Cuts and bruises
- Lacerations and abrasions
- Permanent scars
- Permanent scars
- Broken and fractured bones
- Traumatic brain injuriesI
- Dog bite defensive wounds
- Permanent damage
Children and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Children and adults cope differently after a dog bite. While adults may share their experience with their friends and talk about the attack, children often remain silent, burying their fears and feelings.
Kids have an innate ability to feel emotions, especially those of sadness and guilt expressed by adults around them when the topic is brought up in a conversation. As they carry these heavy emotions, they can develop high levels of fear, anxiety, and PTSD.
Signs of PTSD Following an Attack by a Dog
Dog bites and attacks may seem like a small thing. However, most people experience continuing trauma that may last for years to come. Below are the signs that someone may have PTSD following an attack:
- Experiencing nightmares and flashbacks reliving the attack
- Being triggered by sound or sight that may cause a significant emotional reaction, such as extreme fear
- Keeping away from places and objects that reminds them of the attack
- Refusing to think or talk about the episode with someone else
- Selective memory suppression- denying or not being able to remember critical elements and descriptions of the attack
- Disengagement and isolation from loved ones and friends
- Difficulty sleeping
- The person becomes easily startled and frightened and will react badly or violently when it happens
- Always being alarmed and on edge as if preparing for something terrible that may happen
If you or your child are suffering from any of these symptoms, it may be time to go get checked out by a mental health specialist. They can help you develop coping techniques like EMDR therapy that will lessen your symptoms.
Proving Negligence on the Part of the Owner
If the dog’s owner’s negligence was responsible for the attack, you may want to file a legal claim. To win a dog bite case based on the dog owner’s negligence, the injured person has to prove the following:
- The dog owner had the duty to take precautions and control their canine’s behavior.
- The dog owner was negligent and inattentive by failing to meet their duty.
- The owner’s negligence directly caused the attack and injury.
The court also looks at other factors when deciding on a dog bite case. Such factors include whether the dog owner could have predicted that the dog would behave violently and did not take any action to restrain it.
However, it’s often difficult to prove all aspects of negligence, and different dog bite cases have different outcomes depending on the circumstances. Click here for more information about your legal options after a dog attack.
Seeking Compensation After a Dog Bite
A dog attack can leave victims physically and psychologically devastated. In the U.S alone, over 4.7 million dog attacks occur every year, with over 800,000 requiring medical care. When someone’s dog attacks you, in most cases the owner is considered to be negligent. The exceptions to this are bites that happened while trespassing or when the animal was provoked.
If you suffered psychological and physical trauma due to a dog bite, you should hire an experienced personal injury attorney for a case evaluation and consultation. A lawyer can protect your legal rights and pursue every available option to prove your case and get you the right compensation.