Approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and about 20 percent of the injuries are severe enough to warrant medical attention, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When a dog bite rips the skin, deeply punctures the skin and tissue, or crushes bone and tissue, it can result it permanent scarring and disfigurement.
If you were disfigured from a dog bite, it can cause not only long-term health issues, but also deep psychological and emotional injuries. Unfortunately, these types of severe dog bite injuries are not uncommon; in 2012, an estimated 27,000 people had to undergo reconstructive surgery for dog bite wounds, according to the CDC.
Dog Bite Attacks Can Cause Extensive Damage
In many cases, dog bites cause only superficial injuries with minor damage to the upper layers of skin. However, in more serious attacks, the injuries can cause some of the more severe types of injuries listed below.
- Fractures and crush injuries
- Deep wounds, extensive lacerations
- Internal damages to the veins, muscles, and other tissues
- Nerve damage
Complications from Severe Dog Bite Injuries
A number of complications can arise when a victim suffers a dog bite attack, such as infection. When there is an open wound, bacteria can enter the patient’s body (either from the dog, the patient’s body, or the environment) and cause life-threatening infections. Up to 20 percent of bite wounds become infected, according to a 2001 report in American Family Physician.
Scarring and disfigurement is another serious complication that can occur. The effects are even more devastating when the injuries are on highly visible areas such as on the face, arms, and hands.
Disfiguring dog bite injuries can affect victims in multiple ways.
- Physical: major scarring can lead to ongoing pain, numbness, tightness and discomfort, and tingling in the area.
- Functional: the scars can cause impediments for certain bodily functions, as well. They can reduce mobility and the skin’s elasticity, and if the injury is on the face, the victims’ speech or vision may be affected.
- Financial: the financial impact of a serious dog bite injury can cause great hardship on a family because the medical and rehabilitation bills will be substantial, not to mention the loss of income for missed work time during the healing period. West Virginia dog bite laws allow victims to file claims for compensation.
Disfigurement and Psychological Injuries
In addition to the physical and economic effects, scarring and disfigurement can cause a host of emotional and psychological damage. Some dog bite victims with disfiguring injuries might suffer from depression and reduced self-esteem.
Below are a few of the other types of emotional injuries that victims can suffer.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Nightmares and flashbacks
- Social disorders
- Panic attacks
- Eating and sleeping problems
- Phobias and irrational thoughts
- Self-harming behaviors
Treatments if Disfigured from a Dog Bite
When a victim suffers a major dog bite wound, the emergency room doctors, surgeons and other medical professionals will go to great care to minimize the chances of scarring, particularly if the injury is on the face.
Some of the following treatments are often used for patients with disfiguring injuries.
- Cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries
- Over-the-counter and prescription topical treatments to minimize scarring and reduce pain and itching
- Surgical removal or augmentation of extra tissue, via methods such as dermabrasion, skin grafts, and laser surgery
- Injections with steroids or collagen
- Psychological therapies, including counseling, medications, cognitive behavioral therapy, and eye movement desensitization reprocessing
Call a Dog Bite Attorney in Clarksburg at the Miley Legal Group
If you or your loved suffered a disfiguring dog bite injury, seek out an attorney’s advice for how to pursue financial compensation for your losses. To speak to a dog bite injury attorney, contact the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg today for a free, no-obligation consultation at 304-931-4088.