The United States is home to close to 80 million dogs, which means the chances are high that each of us will encounter “man’s best friend” at some point in our lifetime, if not on a regular basis. While most dogs are harmless, some are not. These vicious dogs can cause long-lasting physical, emotional, and mental injuries to the innocent victims whom they attack.
If you or your child has been attacked or bitten by a dog, know the dog’s owner may be subject to criminal penalties and/or civil fines and litigation. On the civil side, each state addresses “dog bite liability” differently, with some states requiring that the dog have bitten another person at least once before the current victim is allowed to sue. This is not the law in California.
California Dog Bite Law
In California, the victim of a dog bite may recover money for personal injuries provided he or she shows they were not a trespasser on the owner’s property; the owner owned or controlled the dog; and that he/she was actually injured. For a case involving physical and emotional injuries, the last requirement likely will not be a problem. A San Fernando Valley personal injury lawyer who practices “dog bite law” will evaluate your claims and assist you in obtaining financial recovery for your injuries.
Injuries Resulting from Dog Bites
We’ve all heard about the physical injuries a person can suffer from a dog bite. Indeed, many victims of dog bites need medical treatment, ranging from stitches to reconstructive surgery. Victims may suffer from permanent scars or other physical injuries. A personal injury lawyer can help recover damages for these injuries, but it is important to note that there may be other damages as well.
For example, dog bites can also bring a host of emotional injuries, such as trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Considering that many victims of dog bites are children, these injuries are particularly troubling.
Dog Bites and PTSD
Emotional scars can last a lifetime and feel incredibly painful. Some victims may develop a fear of dogs, which could have a negative impact on their daily life. Others may develop other conditions. A person may develop PTSD from any situation involving physical harm or the threat of physical harm, which includes dog bites. Common symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, flashbacks, irrational fears or thoughts, problems with memory, emotional numbness, and depression, guilt, anxiety or withdrawal. In children, symptoms may include bedwetting, acting out, becoming disruptive and losing the ability to speak. If you have or a loved one has been bitten by a dog bite, talk to a trusted friend or loved one about what you are feeling. You are not alone if you feel frightened or afraid and you do not seem to feel like your old self again. Similarly, if your child has been bitten by a dog, pay attention to how your child feels and what he or she talks about. Treatment from a mental health professional may be warranted.
An experienced attorney can help you recover money for treatment not only for physical injuries and treatment but for psychological injuries and counseling or other treatments. Contact dog bite lawyer Barry P. Goldberg today if you or a loved one has been bitten by a vicious dog.