Scarring From Dog Bites
Dog bites are dangerous. They can lead to infection, scarring and disfigurement. The risk of infection is greater than other types of lacerations because the organisms in the dog's mouth are more virulent and contain cross-contamination of bacteria.
Were you or a loved one scarred by a dog bite attack? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for people injured or killed through another's negligence.
Call a Chicago dog bite lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
When the dog's teeth penetrate the skin, they can inject the deeper tissue and lead to later infection, presenting as redness, fever, and swelling.
In addition, cuts from a sharp object can leave organisms challenging for the immune system to fight off with antibiotics or antiseptics (i.e., tetanus).
Unfortunately, being bitten by an animal causes the body to fight off numerous organisms – some potentially deadly if not treated properly.
Severe and permanent scarring can be one of the serious consequences of a dog bite. A dog bite can vary from a mere imprint of a dog's jawline on one's skin to the actual tearing of skin on one's arm.
Those who have received dog bites may need corrective surgery to prevent permanent scarring and help the dog bite heal. Some dog bite cases involve bites and clawing marks to individuals:
Serious Dog Bite Scars on the Face, Hands, and Arms
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), dog attacks are the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths in the United States. In addition, the results of a dog attack can be serious and life-threatening injuries, including scarring.
When a person's wounds are infected due to the saliva of an attacking animal, antibiotics may be necessary to prevent permanent scarring or other complications.
According to statistics, dog bites result in approximately 885,000 emergency room visits each year. Unfortunately, many of these victims are children.
The CDC also reports that roughly 60 percent of dog attack fatalities involve children under ten years old.
Physical injuries often include deep lacerations or puncture wounds when an animal attacks a child, leading to permanent scarring.
CDC Dog Bite Statistics: Children Under the Age of 10 Are Most Frequently Attacked by Dogs
Physical injuries often include deep lacerations or puncture wounds when an animal attacks a child, leading to permanent scarring.
Estimates indicate that in the United States, there are more than 4.7 million dog bites and approximately 386,000 dog bite-related injuries requiring medical care annually.
Additionally, studies reveal that more than 900,000 people are bitten by dogs each year in the U.S.
Most of those victims (82 percent) are children under 18 years old – and half of these children are bitten in the face.
More than half of all victims require reconstructive surgery after a canine attack – and one out of every five bites results in permanent scarring that requires medical scar treatment.
When a dog attacks a child, often the wounds inflicted will be to the upper part of the child's body – such as the face and hands.
According to a report on dog bites published in "The American Journal of Surgery," 1994, there are more facial and head wounds than other types of wounds.
Dogs Can Be Aggressive: Are Children More at Risk?
A study performed by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in 2000 revealed that children are more at risk of being attacked by a canine.
The CDC reviewed 1,000 dog bite victims and found that 50 percent were children under ten years old. Twenty-three percent of these attacks were to the face.
Additionally, thousands of victims require reconstructive surgery to repair the damage done by a dog attack.
The CDC published a study in 2000 regarding victims of dog bites. The findings were that children are more likely to suffer from a dog attack, especially on the face and head area.
Other studies found that young children (ages five years old and under) accounted for 77 percent of facial bite wounds resulting from animal attacks.
A report presented at a conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that:
- Children less than five years old accounted for 77 percent of facial bite wounds and 83 percent of dog bites in the study of 233 patients
- A study of 360 dog attack victims reported in the journal "Pediatrics" found that facial bites were present in 37 (18%) patients, scalp/ear region in 25 (12%), neck in 21 (10%), and upper extremities in 28 (13%)
- The head and neck were the predominant bite target site in most children, with at most one or two bites to other sites
Preventing Dog Bites and Animal Attacks
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), dog bite prevention should include:
- Knowing what triggers an animal's aggressive behavior
- Recognizing the signals an animal is giving before an attack
- Preventing access to children when the animal is present
Keeping the animal in a separate room with a closed-door when you are unable to supervise or confining it in an area where physical barriers (i.e., fences) can prevent bites if precautions fail
Dog owners should be aware of the warning signs exhibited by an animal before an attack. These warning signs include:
- Lunging: The dog may try to jump up at you or lunge toward you, growling or barking all the while
- Barking, growling, or showing of teeth
- Facial expressions: If a dog is baring his teeth or wrinkling his nose, it's probably a warning sign of an attack
- Tail position: The tail can signal whether a dog is preparing to attack by lifting it straight up stiffly; some dogs also wag their tails in slow motion (rather than the more common fast wag)
- Posture: If the ears are pinned back against the head, and their shoulders are slumped forward while they stare at you with intense eyes, get out! They are ready to attack
- Raised fur along the back of the neck and shoulders
A good source for information on dog attacks, prevention, and care for dog attack victims is the National Canine Research Council. According to this organization, several behaviors can signal an impending attack by a canine.
Some dogs bark, growl, snarl, or snap but don't bite. If you take these warning signs seriously and remove yourself from the situation when appropriate, it is unlikely the dog will escalate to biting.
With many dogs, this type of behavior can occur when guarding food or toys or when confronted with another dog.
If a canine is exhibiting any of these behaviors, it is important to immediately remove yourself from the situation. If this means getting out of your car when a dog approaches, do it if this means.
Surgery May Be Required to Correct Dog Bite Scars Caused by Canines
Injuries resulting from an animal attack require medical attention immediately after the accident to minimize the risk of any complications. Therefore, one may want to contact a medical professional about possible treatment options if they have been involved in an accident with a dog.
There are a variety of medical procedures available that can help victims erase any signs of scarring on their skin. In addition, pursuing a corrective procedure can help victims ease the embarrassment or anxiety they feel after an animal attack.
It is not uncommon for victims to feel ashamed of their disfigured appearance and to have many negative emotions about the experience.
Obtaining a corrective procedure can help dog bite victims to deal with emotional trauma after an accident. After noticeable scar tissue is erased from one's skin, one is no longer reminded of the traumatic experience of being bitten by a dog.
The following types of corrective procedures and emergency medical treatment are available to minimize the presence of disfiguring scars for those who have been involved in dog attacks and have received bites:
- Tissue re-arrangement: Scar tissue re-arrangement can be used when one has suffered from a severe laceration or puncture to tissue or ligaments to repair disfiguring dog bite scars. The medical professional will take a piece of healthy tissue from another body area and then connect it to the wound site. This process assists in eliminating scarring and improving the healing process.
- Skin grafting: Skin grafting is a more invasive procedure that involves the transplantation of skin. This process is used for an area that has received a severe wound or puncture. Skin grafting reduces the amount of time that a person needs to spend in the hospital and the other types of invasive operations that they may need to receive. In addition, there is only a thin scar line left when one chooses skin grating to avoid severe scarring.
- Muscle grafting: Muscle grafts can be used for extremely severe dog bites. A severe bite may have caused extreme damage to the muscle tissue in one's body. Muscle grafting involves using donor muscle tissue to repair the broken tissue in one's body to correct the dog bite permanent scars. Those who receive muscle grafting are at risk for experiencing a complication or rejection of the muscle tissue provided by donors.
- Dermabrasion: A procedure where a plastic surgeon scrapes the top layers of the skin using a rotary wheel tool. The dermabrasion procedure can minimize scarring from animal bite injuries but will not erase it.
A plastic surgeon can correct scar formation and surrounding skin from a dog bite attack. Then, after the dog bite wound has healed, a plastic surgeon can help erase scarring signs and restore the skin to its nearly original state.
Effective treatments often require staples, surgical stitches, dissolving stitches, butterfly bandages after rinsing and disinfecting the wound.
Unfortunately, scarring from animal bites can last a lifetime for some individuals. Doctors can perform many types of corrective procedures to minimize the appearance of bite scars.
Any treatment costs associated with treating scarring from animal attacks will vary by individual case and treatment type needed.
Impact of Corrective Medical Procedures to Minimize Scarring From Dog Bites
Victims may not be able to erase animal bite scars using corrective medical procedures completely. In many instances, a victim still has markings left after a corrective procedure. As a result, one can suffer from skin discoloration and feel self-conscious about their appearance in public.
There may also be an additional need for other types of corrective procedures to complete the healing process. For example, skin or muscle grafting procedures may not be meet the victim's expectations, and they may need to undergo additional invasive operations.
Skin grafts performed by a reconstructive surgeon are often very expensive, but they may be covered under the funds that one receives after a lawsuit. One may request damages to cover the cost of operations after an animal attack.
The Psychological Traumatic Impact of Dog Bite Injuries
A noticeable scar on the neck, shoulders, face, or head can leave the victim with psychological injuries.
For example, after an animal attack, the victim often suffers post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), low self-esteem, or depression. In addition, facial scars, body disfigurement, and torn skin may lead to depression due to an altered physical appearance.
With facial scars, one can suffer from feelings of anger, guilt, resentment, sorrow, and frustration after being involved in an animal attack that has resulted in scarring. In addition, many people are reluctant to leave their homes because they do not want the public to see their bite scars and marks at the attack site and surrounding skin.
The psychological pain associated with physical injuries can be difficult for a victim to manage.
A plastic surgeon, physician, or another medical caregiver should help a person suffering from such experience by performing corrective procedures that minimize the visibility of animal bite scarring that occurred after an animal attack.
Plastic surgery, laser resurfacing, and cosmetic surgery can repair visible scars, prevent infection, and allow damaged soft tissue to heal.
The Pet Owner and the Dog Bite Victim
In Illinois, the law holds a dog's owner accountable to the dog bite victim injured by their pet. In addition, the law specifies that the pet owner is responsible for all costs associated with the medical treatment of any injuries suffered by the victim during an attack.
Although the victim can request damages from the dog owner's insurance agency, the amount of money one receives after filing a claim will vary depending on state laws.
In many incidents, the pet owner's insurance company will pay the dog bite victim's damages through a homeowner's policy.
How a Lawyer Can Help With Dog Bite Injuries and Medical Expenses
If one is unfortunate and has suffered dog bite scars, it might be wise to contact a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer will likely ask for proof of work loss after filing a claim with an insurance policy company.
It may be helpful to keep any paperwork-related items such as medical bills, receipts, and tax filings. The attorney will also help the victim with any negotiations they have with an insurance company.
The attorney can also help ensure that the disfiguring scars receive corrective medical scar treatment to minimize their appearance. In addition, the lawyer may work directly with a psychiatrist if their client is suffering from PTSD, depression, or anger after a dog bite.
There are several ways a victim can receive damages from the pet owner's insurance company.
For example, they might receive payment for pain and suffering associated with the animal attack, which resulted in permanent scars and soft tissue damage on their bodies, requiring plastic surgery. A therapist may also be willing to work directly with victims who developed post-traumatic stress disorder.
The compensation award will also include any lost wages, medical bills, and future or corrective surgery costs after a dog bite accident. In addition, a victim may request to receive payment for the cost of repairing damaged property such as clothing and glasses damaged during an animal attack.
If you feel a dog bite incident has wronged you, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Attorneys Representing Your Best Interests After a Chicago Dog Bite Involving Scarring
A personal injury lawyer can help victims file lawsuits against the owners of dogs that are known to be dangerous. For example, suppose the victim is awarded damages for medical bills, pain, suffering, or lost wages due to an accident caused by a dog bite or animal attack.
In that case, they could use these funds to pay for corrective surgery after receiving compensation for injuries from an animal attack.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can assist Chicago dog bite victims in asserting their legal rights after an attack. In addition, a victim who is left with scarring should receive compensation for their emotional suffering and disfigurement.
Disfigurement is an element of damages under Illinois tort law. In many dog bite cases, our personal injury lawyers can recover compensation for medical procedures to treat dog bite scars that a person has required in the past or may need in the future.
Men, women, and children can be left with permanent scars throughout their bodies after a dog bite. Their arms, legs, abdominal areas, facial regions, and other parts may be left severely damaged after a dog bite. These dog bite victims need to fight for the maximum amount of compensation available to them after an accident.
Contact an experienced Illinois dog bite lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) for a free consultation to discuss financial compensation that may be available after an accident. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC works on a contingency fee basis, and this means that one only has to pay legal fees after a settlement has been won.
Our legal team currently represents clients throughout Illinois, including Cook County, DuPage County, Kendall County, Kane County, Lake County, Will County, Sangamon County, and Peoria County.