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Dog Bites cause more than just Physical Scars

Dog bites are considered a serious public health problem [1] worldwide because of the risk of severe injury involved in a dog attack. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports [2] that nearly 900,000 people in the United States require medical treatment for dog bite-related injuries each year. Additionally, approximately 27,000 Americans suffered such disfiguring injuries that they required painful reconstructive surgeries.

Though the physical injuries of dog bites can be extremely serious, even more devastating can be the emotional pain suffered by dog attack victims. Emotional scars can have an even greater disabling effect on victims and often last longer than most types of physical pain. Even more troubling is the fact that, according to the CDC, about half of all dog bite victims are children. Children can be particularly susceptible to emotional trauma when they are involved in a frightening attack.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)[3] is a condition that develops after an individual is the victim of an ordeal involving actual physical harm or the threat of physical harm. PTSD can be debilitating and is the most common emotional affliction suffered by dog bite victims. Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include the following:

  • Nightmares
  • Awake flashbacks, which can cause sweating or racing heartbeat
  • Emotional numbness
  • Depression, guilt, anxiety, or withdrawal
  • Memory lapses
  • Irrational fears or thoughts

While the above symptoms may be experienced of PTSD sufferers of any age, children may develop additional troubling signs and symptoms of PTSD. Some examples include:

  • Losing the ability to talk
  • Bedwetting (after they had been toilet-trained)
  • Extreme clinging to parents or trusted adults
  • Regularly acting out the frightening event at inappropriate times
  • Becoming disruptive, destructive, or disrespectful at home or school

Fear of Dogs

Understandably, being bitten or attacked by a dog can lead to an extreme fear of dogs, referred to as cynophobia[4]. The ASPCA estimates[5] that Americans own 70 to 80 million dogs, therefore dogs are everywhere and are a regular sight in almost every neighborhood in Florida and across the United States. If you have an intense fear of dogs, you may find yourself avoiding many activities, refusing to go into the homes of family or friends, or even developing an aversion to going outside of your home at all. Such phobias can be long-lasting and can have a debilitating effect on a person’s life and work.

Issues related to Physical Injuries

In addition to the above emotional conditions, many dog bite victims may suffer psychological damage due to the physical injuries that resulted from a dog bite. Disfigurement and scarring, especially on the face, can have a hugely negative impact on a victim’s personality and body image as a whole. Even if plastic surgery is able to substantially correct the injury or scarring, psychological effects may continue to linger and affect a victim’s confidence and life as a whole.

Contact an experienced dog bite attorney for a free consultation

If you or your child has suffered a dog bite, it is critical that you seek a psychological evaluation and treatment if any signs or symptoms of emotional trauma arise. An experienced Clearwater, Florida dog bite attorney can help you recover for not only the physical injuries you sustained, but also for the emotional effects of a dog bite. At the Dolman Law Group, our dog bite lawyers are committed to helping you receive the full amount of compensation you deserve, so call today at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
727-451-6900

[1]http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs373/en/

[2]http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/dog-bites/

[3]http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml

[4]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynophobia

[5]http://www.aspca.org/about-us/faq/pet-statistics