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Types of Injuries From Dog Bites

One million people visit emergency rooms annually because of dog bites.

While most dog owners would never think their pets are dangerous, dogs can be vicious animals capable of causing serious injury and even death. Each year in the United States, dogs bite more than 4.5 million people. While not every one of these incidents results in serious injuries, more than 1,000 people per day are treated in the hospital for dog-bite-related injuries. At the Chicago dog bite law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, our dedicated team of personal injury lawyers aggressively pursues compensation on behalf of dog bite victims. We have over three decades of experience handling these claims and command an impressive knowledge of the laws governing these often-complex claims.

Common Injuries Following a Dog Bite

Dogs have sharp teeth and powerful jaws that can easily pierce the skin and, in some cases, break bones. There is also a wide range of other injuries that can come after a dog bite. Some of the most common dog-bite related injures include the following.

Dog bites can cause an array of serious injuries.

lascerations

Lacerations are a cut to the skin, usually caused by a sharp or jagged object. Lacerations are not always deep wounds, but they tend to be larger than puncture wounds. A laceration wound is often contaminated with bacteria and debris from whatever object caused the cut. In the case of lacerations caused by a dog’s teeth or claws, this can result in an increased risk of infection.

puncture-wounds

Puncture wounds occur when a sharp object, such as a tooth, causes a small but deep cut. Because these wounds are usually smaller than other types of cuts, they tend to bleed less. However, because they are deeper than superficial lacerations, they are more prone to becoming infected. Puncture wounds can also lead to nerve damage.

broken-bones

Some dog bite victims, especially young children and older individuals are at an increased risk of broken bones following a dog bite. Dogs have powerful jaws, and some dogs are trained or bred to latch on to a victim. Once dogs latch on, they often jerk their head from side to side. This not only causes tremendous damage to the skin but may also break bones. The most commonly broken bones in a dog bite are those in the hand, wrist and arm.

face-wounds

Dogs prone to attacking humans may be trained to target particularly vulnerable areas of their victims, like the face. Injuries to the face often require multiple reconstructive surgeries; however, the outcome of these procedures is far from guaranteed. Often, dog bite victims are forced to live with constant reminders of the attack.

nerve-damage

Depending on the breed of the dog and the nature of the attack, some dog bite victims suffer permanent damage to the nerves surrounding the bite wound. Nerve damage can result in a
lifetime of lingering pain and reduced mobility. This may result in your inability to return to the same job you had before the attack and permanent paralysis in some extreme cases.

infections

Infection is a serious risk after any dog bite. Dogs carry foreign bacteria in their mouths, which can result in a potentially life-threatening situation. Even the bacteria on a dog’s claws can cause a serious infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one in five dog bites become infected. An infection can occur even if a wound is appropriately cared for.

    Common Infections After a Dog Bite

    The most common infections after a dog bite include:

    • Rabies
    • Capnocytophaga spp.
    • Pasteurella
    • MRSA
    • Tetanus

    The following symptoms are signs of infection

    • Blisters around the affected area
    • Redness, swelling, draining pus or pain at the bite wound
    • Confusion or headache
    • Fever
    • Muscle or joint pain
    • Stomach pain or vomiting

    At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, we understand the impact that a dog bite can have on your life. We have assisted hundreds of clients through the recovery process, helping them obtain meaningful compensation for their injuries so they can begin to move on with their lives after the attack.

    Illinois Dog Bite Laws

    Dog bites and strict liability

    Illinois lawmakers passed a strict liability dog bite law that allows victims to bring a case against an animal’s owner without proving that the owner was legally negligent. However, not all dog bite cases fall under a theory of strict liability.

    DOG BITE LAWSUITS IN ILLINOIS

    To bring a strict liability dog bite case, the following must apply:

    1. You did not provoke the animal;
    2. You were “peaceably conducting” yourself at the time of the attack; and
    3. You were in a place you are lawfully allowed to be.

    To successfully bring a dog bite claim under a theory of negligence, you will need to establish that the owner violated a duty of care owed to you. For example, did the owner fail to retrain their dog with a leash? Was the animal kept in a yard with a damaged or inadequate fence? Did the owner know their animal was dangerous but failed to take the necessary precautions to guard against an attack? If one or more of these facts does not apply to your case, you may still be able to bring a negligence claim against the animal’s owner.

    At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, we have extensive experience handling dog bite lawsuits under strict liability and negligence theories. We can explain the difference between these claims in clear, understandable terms and provide you with an honest assessment of your case.

    DOG OWNER NEGLIGENCE

    Dog bite negligence infographic

    Damages in a Dog Bite Case

    Suffering injures related to a dog bite can change your life at a moment's notice. You may find yourself stuck in a hospital bed for days or even weeks. Afterward, you may require reconstructive surgery, physical therapy, and additional medical treatment. During your recovery, you probably will not be able to work, at least not as much as you did before the accident. The result is that you are left with mounting medical expenses and a reduced income, which can be overwhelming.

    TIPS FOR AVOIDING DOG BITES

    avoid dog bites

    By pursuing a dog bite lawsuit, you may be able to obtain financial compensation to cover the expenses you incurred as a result of the attack.

    Illinois law allows for accident victims to recover for their compensatory damages following a dog bite attack. Compensatory damages consist of economic and non-economic damages.

    Economic damages refer to the out-of-pocket expenses you must pay as a result of the accident. Economic damages also include any money you would have earned by working but could not because of your injuries. Some of the most common economic damages available through a dog bite claim include:

    • Past medical expenses
    • The cost of follow-up medical treatment
    • Lost wages while you cannot work due to your injuries
    • Any decrease in your ability to earn income in the future

    Proving economic damages often entails presenting the court with objective proof of your claimed damages. For example, to determine the amount of past medical expenses you incurred, it is relatively easy to gather all your medical bills and present them to the court.

    Pain and Suffering

    Non-economic damages are very different from economic damages in that they provide compensation for the emotional and psychological impact of your injuries.

    These damages are harder to pinpoint because they require a jury to assess the subjective effect of the accident on your life. However, non-economic damages are critically important to a full and fair recovery, in dog bite cases, in particular. Common types of non-economic damages in an Illinois dog bite claim include:

    • Pain and suffering
    • Disfigurement
    • Disability
    • Loss of consortium
    • Loss of society

    Unlike economic damages, you cannot prove non-economic damages by showing the court your medical bills. Instead, you must explain to the judge or jury how the accident impacted your life. At our Illinois dog bite law firm, we can help you identify the full extent of your damages, so you know what a fair settlement offer looks like. This way, you do not run the risk of accepting a low settlement offer, only to learn months or years later that your suffered damages that were not covered under the settlement.

    What to do After a Dog Bite

    Protect your rights and ensure our recovery

    Nobody expects to fall victim to a dog bite attack. Yet, hundreds of thousands of people are seriously injured as a result of dog bites each year. You must take the following steps to ensure you recover the necessary medical care and protect your right to bring a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner.

    Get Immediate Medical Attention

    Do not wait to visit the doctor or emergency room after a dog bite. Even if the injuries seem minor, you must get checked out by a doctor to assess the risk of infection and determine if the animals caused any latent damage that may cause you troubles down the road.

    Photograph Your Injuries

    If you can, take a few pictures of your injuries. This will provide a judge or jury with an accurate illustration of just how traumatic the attack was. Photos right after an accident tend to convey the seriousness of an attack best.

    Document the Attack

    Although dog bites are traumatic, and it may be hard to keep a clear head in the immediate aftermath, it is important you immediately write down all details about the attack. For example, jot down where the attack occurred, what the animal looked like, whether there were any witnesses, and the owner’s name and address if you can get it.

    Report the Bite

    File a report with your local animal control agency as soon as possible. This serves as additional documentation of the attack allows the animal control agency to determine what to do with the dog that bit you. Often, dogs that attack a human are prone to attacking others. By reporting the incident, you are doing your part to protect others who may encounter the dog.

    Reach Out to a Dog Bite Lawyer

    When you are ready, the next step is to contact a knowledgeable dog bite lawyer to obtain an honest assessment of your case. A lawyer will be able to explain how Illinois dog bite laws apply in your case and may even be able to give you an idea about the amount of compensation you could recover if you are successful.

    The Briskman Guarantee

    OUR PROMISE TO CLIENTS

    You will receive a free consultation with an experienced attorney.
    You have the right to a free consultation during which you can evaluate the attorney who will handle your case. We promise that we will never charge you to consult with us, and we welcome an open dialogue with any of our experienced attorneys.

    The Briskman Guarantee

    OUR PROMISE TO CLIENTS

    You will never have to pay a fee unless your case is successful.
    We handle all cases on a contingency basis, which means you will not owe any fees unless we make a financial recovery for you. We promise we will only accept payment if we are successful in getting compensation for you or your family.

    The Briskman Guarantee

    OUR PROMISE TO CLIENTS

    We will keep you advised of all significant developments in your case.
    You have the right to have all your questions answered and always know the status of your case. An experienced attorney will handle every important aspect of your case, and our dedication to answering all your questions will give you peace of mind.

    The Briskman Guarantee

    OUR PROMISE TO CLIENTS

    We do not use call screeners. You will speak with an attorney.
    At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, we build one-on-one relationships. Your case will be reviewed by an experienced attorney, often one of the firm’s principals. We will listen carefully to your situation and answer all of your questions.

    No Fee Unless Your Dog Bite Case is Successful

    Contact an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer for Immediate Assistance With Your Case

    If you, your child, or another loved one was recently bitten by a dog, Briskman Briskman & Greenberg understands what you are going through. While this is a stressful time, and the thought of bringing a lawsuit may not be at the front of your mind, it is crucial you protect your right to recover compensation, should you decide to do so. We have more than 30 years of experience aggressively pursuing compensation on behalf of dog bite victims. We have developed a methodical approach that removes as much of the burden as possible from you, allowing you to focus on recovering from your injuries. To learn more and schedule a free consultation, give Briskman Briskman & Greenberg a call at 877-595-4878. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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