Each year, dog attacks send more than 800,000 victims to emergency rooms and half of them are children suffering from severe head and neck injuries. The highest at-risk groups include seniors and children under five years of age. With canines occupying 5 percent of American homes, one must be aware of the dangers associated with even the smallest of dog bites.
1. Infection & Disease
The high likelihood of infection and life-threatening diseases may be the most concerning effects of a dog bite. Any time a dog punctures, tears, or lacerates human skin bacteria is introduced into the wound where it will fester and become red, warm, and swollen. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of dog bites result in infections and other diseases including rabies, Staphylococcus, tetanus, and strep. These infections can be combated, but the wounds must be treated early.
2. Muscle & Tissue Damage
While a dog’s canines are likely to cause tears in the surface of the skin, it is the molars that can cause unseen damage. These round teeth are capable of exerting high levels of pressure which can cause not just bruising, but significant damage to underlying tissues, muscles, tendons and blood vessels, as well. These injuries may not be evident at first, but in time the site will swell, discolor, and become warm to the touch.
3. Reconstructive Surgery
The bacteria and tissue damage introduced during a dog bite have the potential to cause a need for surgery. Not only that, a vicious dog bite may cause disfiguration or loss of function at the site, in which case reconstructive surgery will be needed to restore use of the affected area. The high medical costs associated with surgery cause many victims to hire a dog bite attorney as recovery for those damages is difficult to obtain without legal assistance.
4. Nerve Damage & Scarring
Beyond curing infections and healing tissues, the nerve damage and scarring inflicted by a dog bite will last forever. Nerve damage, especially, has the potential to reduce the use of the affected area which in turn infringes on the victim’s ability to lead a normal and productive lifestyle. Additionally, children who have suffered scarring of the face have difficulties in social settings such as school and during extra-curricular activities.
5. It’s Covered
Even if the dog who has bitten you belongs to a family member or close friend, you should not hesitate to seek medical help and compensation for the attack. Unless specifically stated, as with some dog breeds, homeowners insurance policies cover dog attacks. Contacting an experienced dog bite attorney will help you fight the insurance companies to ensure you are appropriately compensated for your medical costs, lost wages, and suffering.
If you or a loved one is bitten by a dog and begin experiencing tenderness at the site, oozing pus, loss of sensation, red streaking near the bite, fever, night sweats, fatigue, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention right away. Doing so just might save your life and contacting an attorney right away will increase your chances of being compensated for your injuries.