Although dog bites are often thought of as minor incidents, they can result in serious injuries that cause a great deal of emotional and physical pain as well as disfigurement or scarring. Animal attacks can have serious financial repercussions, as medical treatment may be required, and a victim may suffer a temporary or permanent disability that affects their ability to work. If you or a loved one have suffered from a dog bite, you will want to work with a personal injury attorney to gather evidence demonstrating liability for your injury and pursue compensation from the animal’s owner.
Depending on the circumstances of a dog attack, the seriousness of a bite could vary significantly. There are a variety of factors that can affect the severity of a dog bite injury, including:
The Bite Classification
A dog bite may be categorized based on the amount of harm caused to the victim. These categories may include:
- Near bite: The dog’s teeth came into contact with the skin but did not cause damage.
- Shallow puncture bite: The dog’s teeth broke the first few layers of skin.
- Multiple puncture bites: This is the same as a shallow puncture bite, except that the dog has bitten the victim in multiple places.
- Deep puncture bite: These bites, which may be either single bites or multiple bites, are very serious and may require surgery.
Age of the Victim
Younger children and elderly individuals are at a higher risk of disfigurement and emotional pain when suffering a dog bite injury. For this reason, the same type of dog bite might be considered more severe on a child or a senior rather than an adult.
Required Medical Treatment
Medical expenses can vary depending on the severity of dog bite injuries. For example, a minor dog bite may require a few stitches, while more serious dog bite injuries may require multiple surgeries. Taking photos of a dog bite wound or other injuries can help demonstrate the severity of the injury. An attorney can help gather medical information demonstrating the effects of a dog bite injury, including:
- Number of surgeries required, including skin grafts
- Number of treatments, such as stitches
- Cost of the medical treatments
- Treatment for any infections contracted through the dog bite, such as rabies or tetanus
Under Wisconsin law, dog bite victims can seek compensation for the costs of all medical treatments, including expected future treatments or therapies. A victim may also pursue damages for other types of injuries that occurred in a dog attack. For example, a dog may jump up and knock someone down, resulting in broken bones or traumatic brain injuries, or an attack on a bicyclist could lead to a crash involving multiple pedestrians or vehicles. Under Wisconsin law, a dog’s owner may be required to pay double the amount of damages if the dog had previously injured someone. However, the law only applies to specific types of injuries, so it is important to work with an attorney to determine the types of damages that can be addressed in a dog bite claim.
Permanent Effects of the Dog Bite
A serious dog bite injury can permanently affect a person’s quality of life. Some of these permanent effects may include scarring, disfigurement, missing extremities, or a disability resulting in an inability to work in the same job or for the same number of hours.
Emotional and Mental Trauma
Dog bites can lead to ongoing emotional issues, especially if the victim was a child. The mental effects of a dog bite can be long-lasting, and they may include anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is often recommended that victims share and express their thoughts and feelings with an experienced therapist.
Contact a Green Bay Dog Bite Injury Attorney
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), over 4.5 million Americans are injured by dog bites each year. If you or a loved one have been attacked by a dog, you may seek compensation to cover lost wages, medical expenses, and emotional pain and suffering. At Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd., our team of experienced Appleton, WI personal injury lawyers are here to help in your time of need. To schedule a free consultation, contact our office today at 920-739-7366.