Few things are as frightening, painful and damaging as a dog bite. Because dogs have powerful jaws and sharp teeth, their bites can cause significant physical injuries. The trauma of an attack can also result in long-term psychological harm to the victim.
Types of dog bite injuries
A variety of factors influence the damage a dog can do when it attacks and bites a person, including the animal’s size, weight and breed. The duration of the attack and the number of bites on the victim’s body also affect the severity of the wounds. Lastly, smaller children may suffer more severe injuries from dog bites than adults.
Let’s take a look at the common types of injuries suffered in dog bites:
- Lacerations: These cuts and tears go through your skin into your muscles, blood vessels, bones and nerves. The wounds are often in jagged, uneven patterns marked by significant bleeding. Lacerations require immediate medical attention by a professional. Delayed doctor care or attempts at self-care can result in infections that exacerbate your problems.
- Punctures: These are typically smaller wounds than lacerations. Punctures are often deep, raising the risk of infection. Victims should receive immediate medical attention.
- Infections: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 10 to 15% of dog bites result in infections. Signs of infection include fever, swelling, tenderness and wound drainage. As noted above, the risk of infection rises when medical attention is delayed.
- Broken bones: Fractures typically occur in the small bones of hands and fingers as victims try to fend off an attacking animal.
Holding owners responsible
Because California is a “strict liability” state, dog owners can be held liable for the damages suffered by a person bitten by their dog “in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog.”
Damages can include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress and pain and suffering.