Rely on

Louisiana’ premier
personal injury lawyer

Request Your Free Consultation

Dog Bites Can Cause Serious Complications

Posted in Dog Bites on January 27, 2020

A dog baring its teeth

When man’s best friend bites, the consequences can be physically and emotionally devastating. Dog bite victims may face severe infections, disease transmission, PTSD, lost wages, and more. Act quickly after an attack to get medical help and contact an attorney.

Comparing Potential Issues After Dog Bites

Medical Issues Legal and Financial Issues
Infections Medical bills
Disease transmission (rabies, tetanus) Lost income
Nerve damage Disfigurement/scarring
Emotional trauma, PTSD Loss of enjoyments/abilities
Pain and suffering damages

What should you do if you’re bitten by a dog?

If bitten by a dog, the first priority is getting to safety and administering first aid. However, it’s also vital to consult an attorney regarding your right to financial compensation. A dog bite lawyer can help navigate medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress and other damages.

Most of the time, man’s best friend is gentle, trustworthy, and predictable. We must never forget that no matter what, they are still instinctual animals, and if they feel frightened or threatened, they may resort to attacking or biting, even if they are typically well-behaved and good with people. When this happens, dog attack and bite victims can suffer immensely from the dog bite itself and ensuing complications.

The United States Centers for Disease Control reports that one in five dog bite victims will need medical treatment. If you are one of these five or you end up suffering complications from a dog bite, your next step should be to see a New Orleans dog bite attorney.

Potential Complications from a Dog Bite Infection

Approximately five to 25 percent of dog bite wounds will become infected. Infections can increase the risk of hospitalization, scarring, and pain. They also increase their healing time. The risk of infection is higher the deeper the bite is and for wounds with suspected joint involvement,  swelling, and on the hands, feet, face, and genitals. Individuals with an impaired immune response such as the very young, very old, or those with diabetes or who are undergoing chemotherapy are at a higher risk for infections after a dog bite.

Sometimes the culprit germ comes from the victim’s natural skin flora, and sometimes it comes from the mouth of the dog. Common causes of infection after a dog bite include:

  • Staphylococcus
  • Pasteurella
  • Capnocytophaga

In many cases, patients will be started on prophylactic antibiotics to help reduce the risk of infection, and sometimes dog bites are not sutured to prevent enclosing germs in the wound. Infections can significantly increase the cost and healing time of a dog bite and should be discussed with a dog bite attorney in New Orleans.

Other Diseases

Depending on the health and vaccination history of the dog who bit you, you might be at risk for developing rabies. This severe viral infection impacts the central nervous system and can cause death within only a few days. Although humans are vaccinated against tetanus, dog bites can cause this bacterial disease if vaccines are not up to date.

Nerve Damage

Along with damaging skin and muscles, dog bites can also cause nerve damage. This type of injury can cause temporary or permanent loss of feeling and movement in the affected areas or body parts. Sometimes victims are unable to return to work or participate in the activities they once enjoyed due to long-term nerve damage.

Scarring and Disfigurement

Dog bites not only break the skin, but they can damage muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Some of these injuries will require dozens of sutures or staples to close. The more extensive the dog bite injury is, the higher the chance that the victim will suffer from scarring or disfigurement. Those that have become infected are also at a higher risk. Despite excellent care from plastic surgeons and other specialists, dog bites are notorious for leaving scars. In some instances, the victim may require amputation of digits or an appendage.

Emotional Issues and a Fear of Dogs

Physical scars are not the only type of scars injured individuals could be left to deal with. Depending on their age at the time of the bite and other circumstances, some victims will live with emotional scars for quite some time. They may have a fear of all dogs and even suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms of PTSD after a dog bite include:

  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Trigger events such as seeing a dog or being in the same place their dog attack occurred
  • Refusal to discuss the attack
  • Selective memory repression
  • Isolation and disengagement
  • Irrational sense of guilt or blame
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Easily startled
  • Constantly feeling on edge

If the victim was a child, they may act out their attack, become clingy with their caregivers, start wetting the bed, or other regressive behaviors. Some victims may require extensive and expensive psychotherapy to help recover from the PTSD or other emotional scars left behind after their dog bite. An experienced New Orleans dog bite lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your emotional recovery after a dog bite.

After Your Dog Bite

What you do following your dog bite is crucial to reduce the risk of further injury and complications. First, get to a safe place. If no one is with you, ask any witnesses or bystanders for assistance. It may also be helpful to get their contact information so your New Orleans dog bite lawyer can get their account of what happened at a later date. Then:

  • Apply pressure to stop bleeding
  • Wash the bite area thoroughly with soap and warm water
  • Use antibiotic ointment and a bandage
  • If the bleeding will not stop or the area is severely painful, warm, red, swollen, you have a fever, or if the dog who bit you was acting strangely, see a doctor immediately
  • If it has been more than five years since your last tetanus shot or you do not know the rabies status of the dog who bit you, see a doctor
  • If the bleeding is not controlled with pressure or you feel faint or week, dial 911 immediately

Once you are medically stabilized, reach out to a New Orleans dog bite attorney for legal help as you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries

Get Help from a Dog Bite Lawyer in New Orleans

Whether you suffered a dog bite that caused severe complications or not, you should make an appointment to speak to an experienced dog bite attorney in New Orleans. 

The dog’s owner or caretaker could be liable for paying for your damages such as your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. 

To find out more, schedule your consultation with a dog bite lawyer in New Orleans today and begin protecting your rights. 

Call (504) 500-5000 to reach the Law Office of John W. Redmann, L.L.C., or use our convenient online contact form.