When it comes to pet ownership, dogs are among the most popular choices for Orange County residents. They provide endless companionship and loyalty, making them a beloved addition to many families. However, as much as they can bring joy into our lives, there is also the reality that dogs can be dangerous animals when provoked or mishandled. Dog bites can result in severe injuries that may require surgery or leave permanent scarring. If a dog bite injures you or a loved one, consult Orange County dog bite lawyers to process your restitution claim. This article will outline the five most common dog bite injuries and explore their legal and medical implications.

Black and white dog looking at the camera

1. Punctures

Punctures are among the most common dog bite injuries seen by medical professionals. They occur when a dog’s teeth penetrate the skin and underlying tissue. Puncture wounds can range from minor scrapes to severe puncture wounds that require stitches or wound closure techniques like glue or suturing.

In terms of legal implications, states have different laws regarding liability for dog bite injuries, with some states imposing strict liability on owners while other states operate under a “one-bite rule.” 

Under strict liability laws, owners are held liable for any injuries caused by their dogs regardless of whether they knew about their pet’s aggressive tendencies. Alternatively, states with “one-bite” rules hold owners liable only if they knew their pet was likely to bite based on previous incidents.

2. Facial Injuries

Facial bites often result in more significant physical trauma than other bites due to proximity to vital organs like the eyes and nose facial bones. These bites almost always require emergency medical attention – including reconstructive surgeries – and long-term psychological treatment to address lasting emotional scars.

Legal consequences may also come into play, with facial bites being higher profile cases than those occurring on less visible areas like arms, legs, face, and scarification. If a victim alleges disfigurement from a facial injury due to an attack by someone else’s dog, the victim may be able to sue for medical expenses and pursue compensation. This would cover damages such as impacted income or pain and suffering that resulted from the injuries.

3. Infections

Infections can follow bites if left untreated or not appropriately managed after injury. Bacteria from dogs’ mouths can introduce germs into a human’s bloodstream resulting in severe infections like cellulitis or sepsis. Because infections are often a result of poor recovery practices, most legal claims related to them stem from acts of negligence by dog owners and caregivers. In some cases, direct failure by animal care professionals may also lead to infection-based lawsuits since it’s their responsibility to diagnose potential complications stemming from bites.

4. Nerve Damage

Nerve damage usually affects those bitten by large breed dogs, like pit bulls, rottweilers, or boxers. Since these breeds possess more significant jaw strength than small breed counterparts, they ultimately cause more damage when they bite. This type of injury is frequently seen among their victims.

Damage to the facial nerves can occur during attacks around the face region, while sciatic nerve issues sometimes arise following leg bites. Depending on which specific nerve registers impairment, damages brought by this type of injury could be challenging for victims since there’s no visible evidence. Instead, it leaves behind other long-term symptoms, such as tingling sensations and loss of sensation in limbs/muscles that may not indicate obvious physical trauma.

5. Emotional Trauma

Emotional trauma is common after dog attacks in individuals directly or indirectly affected by an attack. This might include anyone who witnessed an attack or received PTSD. Even at lower severity levels where physical wounds hardly exist, many people still develop mental scars that persist long after any physical cuts have healed.

From a legal standpoint – particularly when severe cases involving PTSD occur – courts recognize “pain and suffering” damages awards to reflect the mental and emotional disruptions caused. Many who have suffered a dog bite injury can pursue psychotherapeutic care that may involve various techniques, from cognitive-behavioral therapy or exposure therapy to recover damages. 

A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help victims seek full compensatory awards for lost wages, medical bills, future treatment plans, as well as pain and suffering resulting from these injuries.