There are an estimated four million dog bites every year in the United States, and studies show that nearly 25 percent of these will require emergency treatment. Injuries from dog bites are unique in that they can be severe at the time of the accident, and they are also more prone to developing complications because of infection. This is why it’s so crucial to seek medical treatment after a dog bite. Your medical records will also be an essential part of a personal injury lawsuit.
Injuries That Can Happen Because of a Dog Bite
If you were attacked by a dog, these are some of the most common injuries.
- Abrasions. Abrasions are generally superficial injuries that don’t go beyond the top layer of your skin. There may not be a lot of bleeding with this type of injury, but you may be left with scars. This type of injury can usually be treated at home, but it’s not a bad idea to seek medical attention to avoid complications from an infection. Records of medical treatment will also be essential if you pursue a lawsuit against the dog’s owner.
- Punctures. These are usually caused by a dog’s teeth, and although they may be small, puncture wounds from a dog bite can go very deep into the skin. This increases the risk of infection.
- Lacerations. These are deeper cuts or tears in your skin, and they can go deep enough to damage muscles, nerves, and bones. Most victims will need professional treatment and stitches for this type of injury.
- Nerve damage. When nerves are impacted by a dog bite, it can be a temporary loss, or it can mean permanent paralysis.
- Avulsion. Avulsion occurs when something is ripped off or torn away. If a dog tears your ear off during a bite, this is known as avulsion. These types of injuries are serious and often require reconstructive surgery.
- Scarring. Lacerations, avulsion, or abrasions can leave behind unattractive scars. Treatment such as skin grafting or laser therapy might be needed.
- Crushing injuries. The bigger the dog, the more likely a crushing injury will occur from the tremendous force of their jaws. A large dog can crush or break your bones in addition to damaging the soft tissue and muscle.
- Infection. Infections can occur from a dog bite, either from the dog’s saliva or from germs and bacteria on your skin. Clean your wounds thoroughly and keep an eye out for pain, swelling, and redness. If your wounds become infected, you might need antibiotics.
- Tetanus. This usually doesn’t happen because of bacteria from the dog’s mouth but from the bacteria on your skin. Check with your doctor to find out when your last tetanus shot was and update it if needed.
- Rabies. Rabies is the worst type of infection you can get from a dog bite. After you are bitten, you should try to ensure that the dog is up-to-date on vaccinations. Alaska state law mandates that all dogs over the age of four months be vaccinated for rabies. However, not all dog owners are responsible, so some dogs are not vaccinated. If there is any uncertainty about whether the dog has rabies, go to the nearest emergency room for treatment. Symptoms from rabies can start within a day or two after the attack—or they can take up to a year to show up.
- Death. Some dog attacks can lead to death, particularly in small children.
You Need an Anchorage Dog Bite and Dog Attack Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured by a dog, working with an experienced attorney who handles these types of personal injury claims can help protect your right to recovery of damages. Working with an attorney is the best way to build your case by locating liable parties, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing you if the case goes to trial.
Call the Law Office of Ben Crittenden at 907-885-6032 or take a moment to fill out our online contact form to request a free initial consultation.