Nearly five million people are bitten by dogs every year in the U.S., as reported by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). In a recent year, close to 27,000 people needed reconstructive surgery for dog bites, according to dogsbite.org. What is the most alarming, however, is that fact that nearly one in every five dog bites becomes infected. Infections can lead to hospitalization, illness, and life-long disabilities if not treated in time.
The Costs of a Dog Bite
Every day in the U.S., more than 1,000 people are treated for dog bites in hospital emergency rooms. Victims suffer up to $2 billion in monetary damages annually, as reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Severe dog bites are catastrophic injuries that can lead to life-threatening complications.
For a severe dog bite, you will likely have to receive extensive medical treatment, including surgeries and even physical therapy. On top of the pain you will suffer, these treatments will cost you a pretty penny for an injury that wasn’t even your fault. On top of that, if the injury becomes infected, then you will have to take medications, get several checkups with your general practitioner, and face further complications, which will only serve to add to your medical costs.
What Types of Injuries Can Dog Bites Cause?
When a dog bites a person, it can cause a range of injuries. Physical damage caused by dog bites can vary widely, depending on the victim, the type of dog, and the ferocity of the attack. Injuries commonly sustained in dog attacks include:
- Puncture wounds
- Torn muscles
- Crush injuries
- Bone fractures
- Severe bruising
- Facial injuries
These kinds of injuries will require medical assistance in order to heal properly. You won’t recover from a large laceration unless it is closed up with stitches or clean bandages. But help from a doctor costs money, and a severe dog bite could end up leaving you drowning in debt. That isn’t to even mention the further complications caused by an infected bite.
A Bite is More Than Just An Injury
The most serious complication of dog bites is an infection. Dog saliva contains an astounding variety of viruses and bacteria. Certain types of infections from dog bites can be serious or life-threatening, including:
Rabies: This can happen if a dog that bites is not up-to-date on its shots. Symptoms include headache, fever, weakness, and a prickly sensation around the bite. If not treated promptly, rabies can be fatal.
Tetanus: Puncture wounds from dog bites can introduce tetanus bacteria into the body. This is a medical emergency. Tetanus symptoms include muscle spasms in the stomach, cramping in the jaw, muscle stiffness, and difficulty swallowing.
Sepsis: Dog bites should receive immediate medical attention to help prevent a serious infection that could lead to sepsis – a potentially life-threatening reaction to infection. Symptoms of sepsis include severe pain or discomfort, body temperature higher or lower than normal, extreme sleepiness, and confusion.
Capnocytophaga: Symptoms of capnocytophaga infection can appear within one to 14 days after dog bites. They may include headache, joint pain, fever, vomiting and diarrhea, pain, blistering, swelling, and redness around the wound, and oozing. Without medical treatment, capnocytophaga could lead to gangrene, heart attack, or kidney failure.
What Should You Do If a Dog has Bitten you?
Get Medical Attention
If you or your child has been bitten by a dog, it is essential to take action right away. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water, and use a clean cloth to stop the bleeding. Apply antibiotic cream to the wound and cover it with a sterile bandage, and then get medical attention. Your doctor will likely clean the wound again and may prescribe antibiotics. A tetanus booster may also be administered if more than five years have passed since the last immunization.
Speak with a Dog Bite Lawyer
After your dog bites wounds receive proper medical care, the next thing to do is to speak with a Colorado Springs personal injury attorney about a claim for compensation. In Colorado, strict liability applies to dog bites that cause serious bodily injury. In this case, there is no requirement to prove the dog owner had knowledge of the dog’s propensity to bite.
At The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., we have the knowledge, skills, and resources to pursue the compensation you deserve. Call us at (719) 401-0585 for individualized representation in your dog bite case.