What Are the Most Common Dog Attack Injuries? And What Should You Do if You Are a Victim?
In 2018, dog bites ranked as the 13th most common cause of nonfatal emergency department visits in the United States. This data predates the COVID-19 pandemic, when nearly one in five American households acquired a cat or dog.
As dog ownership in the United States continues to increase, even among inexperienced dog owners, there are more opportunities for dog attacks. This is not necessarily to say people should stop adopting furry friends—but these statistics do make it critical to know about the most common risks of dog attacks.
Most Common Victims of Dog Attacks
An aggressive dog might attack anyone, but some groups are especially at risk. People who have less experience with dogs are not as equipped to know the warning signs and take effective action to prevent a dog attack. A lack of experience with dogs does not put the fault on the victims, however—especially when they do not agitate or antagonize the animal.
Unfortunately, children often lack experience with dogs. Combined with their lack of experience, children are also vulnerable because they may not be big enough to defend themselves well against a large, aggressive dog. Even experienced people might be at increased risk of dog injury if they are physically unable to defend themselves efficiently against an attack. Physical limitations also put the elderly and infirm at risk. However, anyone can become the victim of a dog attack, and the victim’s personal characteristics do not take away from the severity of a personal injury.
Most Common Injuries From Dog Attacks
Depending on the dog, the victim, and the nature of the attack, a dog bite incident might cause a wide variety of injuries. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a dog attack, it is helpful to assess the injuries as soon as possible. Understanding the injuries helps the victim receive appropriate care, and can also help a dog bite attorney build a personal injury case. A lawyer for dog bites might ask a victim about their physical injuries, as well as harm that goes beyond the physical.
Physical Injuries from Dog Attacks
Physical injuries, especially injuries requiring emergency medical treatment, are the easiest to identify after a dog attack. Dog attack victims may experience cuts, puncture wounds, or broken bones. Injuries to the head, neck, face, and eyes can be especially severe. Some dog bites also cause lasting physical injuries, such as scarring, nerve damage, and chronic pain. Depending on the dog’s medical history, a victim may require rabies treatment.
When measured in pounds per square inch of pressure, a dog bite can be more than twice as powerful as a human bite. The pressure from such a bite can cause damage to underlying tissue as well as the skin itself. Furthermore, when a dog’s teeth puncture a victim’s skin, the bite can inject hundreds of types of bacteria. Depending on the bacteria transferred to the wound, the victim may have issues healing. Infected wounds can cause additional issues later on.
After a serious dog attack, the victim might require emergency medical treatment for some injuries, especially anything involving broken bones or open wounds. Some victims may even experience shock symptoms and high heart rates. As time goes on, in fact, some dog bite injuries get worse.
Much like some physical dog bite injuries, mental pain and suffering can last long after the attack.
Beyond the Physical: Personal Injury From Dog Bites
Personal injuries are often mentally traumatic in addition to being physically traumatic. Children are especially susceptible to the long-term psychological damage that can result from dog bites, but any person of any age can experience lasting effects. The mental, emotional, and psychological injuries from a dog bite might include any of the following:
- Lasting fear of animals, especially dogs
- Difficulty sleeping or an increase in nightmares
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Personality changes or the onset of speech defects such as stuttering
- Mood changes, including a decreased ability to control outbursts of anger or sadness
Some dog owners may claim that a dog attack is not a big deal, but this is not for them to decide. The victim is entitled to care, and often compensation, especially when they experience acute or chronic pain and suffering. Whether injuries are immediate or lasting, and whether they are physical or psychological, dog bite victims can take steps to ensure they receive the appropriate attention.
What to Do After an Attack
The first priority after a dog attack is to get the victim safe, which may involve emergency medical care. The next step is to document the situation, reach an understanding of what happened, and account for all personal injury risks to the victim. Because dog bites are such a common cause of emergency room visits, emergency medical services are equipped to provide rapid care. Medical professionals can also recommend proactive treatments to address lasting damage from dog bites, and can help document the situation. Documenting the situation, including keeping records from medical care, can benefit victims when they seek compensation.
The next step to dog bite recovery for many victims is pursuing financial compensation. Financial compensation helps pay for the expenses of medical care, and the victim may be entitled to more for their pain and suffering. An experienced dog bite attorney can help victims collect evidence, build a case, and stand up to aggressive dog owners or insurance companies.
The victim’s safety is the first priority after a dog attack. Once the victim is stable and cared for, reaching out to an experienced dog bite attorney is also time-sensitive. The earlier you contact a lawyer for dog bites, the easier it is for them to guide you through the process. Contacting a dog bite attorney as soon as possible gives victims the best possible chance of winning a fair settlement in their personal injury cases.
Dog Bite Attorneys
The law office of Hipskind & McAninch has helped dog bite victims recover millions of dollars in compensation. If you need a lawyer for dog bites in the St. Louis or Belleville areas, contact us today.