The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports1 that approximately 4.5 million Americans sustain injuries as the result of a dog bite each year. While the large majority of these bites result in minor bruises or scratches, about one in five is serious enough to require medical attention. Many breeds of household dogs have extremely powerful jaws that have the potential of causing serious damage to the human body. Certain groups, such as small children or older adults, may be more at risk of experiencing complications associated with dog bites than others. Fortunately, laws exist in all 50 states that allow victims bitten by dogs to recover for their losses, which may include medical expenses, lost income, and physical and emotional pain.
Common complications associated with dog bites
While dog bites can be serious injuries in and of themselves, they can also result in complications that can greatly increase their severity. Some of the more common complications that may arise after a dog bite include the following:
- Infection: Contrary too popular belief, dogs’ mouths are not cleaner than those of humans. There are millions of bacteria in a dog’s mouth at any given moment, which could easily be transferred into a person’s wound in the event of a bite. Furthermore, as with any wound, a dog bite has the potential of becoming infected from other sources as well.
- Neurological issues: If a dog bite severs or damages nerves in a person’s limbs or extremities, victims may develop loss of mobility or feeling in these areas. In some cases, paralysis may even result.
- Traumatic brain injury: Traumatic brain injuries2, or TBIS, occur when a bump or blow to the head results in a disruption in normal brain function. In the context of a dog bite, TBI could occur if a dog attack knocked a victim over or bit the victim’s head.
- Loss of limbs or extremities: Dogs’ jaws are extremely powerful and could potentially bite through a person’s fingers or other extremities. Additionally, in some cases, the damage done to a limb by a dog bite may be so severe as to require removal of the limb. Finally, in some cases, an infection that develops as a secondary complication of a dog bite may also necessitate amputation.
Victims of dog bites may be eligible to obtain significant financial compensation for their losses. The best way to ensure that you get are fairly compensated for your injuries is to discuss your case with a dog bite lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction.