Some people have dogs because they just want a family companion and others have dogs for specific purposes such as service dogs, working dogs, and guard dogs. The vast majority of dogs are harmless to harmless people, but as our dog bite attorneys know, it only takes one dangerous dog to cause serious injuries or death to a dog bite or dog attack victim.
After being bitten by a dog, experts recommend securing vaccination paperwork from the dog’s owner or veterinarian to make sure that you were not exposed to rabies. Check with your own doctor to be sure that you are up to date on your tetanus vaccination. And seek necessary medical treatment.
Dog bite and dog attack injuries
Injuries suffered from dog bites can vary significantly. Some do not even break the skin while others leave victims with permanent injuries and sometimes death. See below for common dog bite injuries.
- Disease from bacteria in a dog’s mouth such as rabies, MRSA, and tetanus. These diseases can lead to serious complications including amputations and death if not treated properly.
- Skin and soft tissue damage that may require stitches, surgical repair, rehabilitation, or other medical care.
- Wound infection
- Scarring that may require multiple plastic surgeries.
- Permanent disfigurement.
- Nerve damage that causes pain or loss of sensation.
- Death due to the attack injuries, a disease contracted, or infection.
- Emotional trauma such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Generally owners are responsible for paying medical bills related to the dog bite. Owners may be liable for additional damages if any of the following factual circumstances are present:
- The dog owner knew or should have known that the dog previously bit or attacked another person.
- The dog owner knew or should have known of the dog’s dangerous propensities. Evidence of this would be showing that the dog growled or bared its teeth at someone or exhibited other types of behaviors that would lead someone to believe that the dog was capable of biting or attacking someone.
- The dog bite occurred at a time that the dog owner was violating an animal control law such as a dog outside of the owner’s property and not under anyone’s control.
- The injuries caused by the dog bite were “serious” such as broken bones or lacerations requiring stitches or cosmetic surgery.
If any of the above four factual circumstances are proven, damages in addition to medical bills that a dog bite victim may be entitled to include property damage, loss of wages, loss of future earning capacity, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. Depending on certain facts and circumstances, in the case of a fatal dog attack, a wrongful death claim and/or survival action may be made on behalf of close family members and the decedent’s estate.