Trauma from a Dog Bite
With their strong jaws and sharp teeth, dogs can inflict serious damage when they decide to attack. Victims often suffer from deep cuts and lacerations, disfigurement, and permanent scarring.
However, dog bite injuries are more than just physical. A dog attack can be an extremely scary and traumatic event and often causes severe emotional distress for the victims. This distress can last long after the event, often culminating in the development of anxiety and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The Psychological Impact of a Dog Bite
After the initial attack, many dog bite victims state that they experience changes in their emotional well-being. Some people report not being able to be around dogs for long periods of time, or feelings of intense panic or fear that seemingly appear out of nowhere. Many dog bite victims are unable to go outside for a long time following the incident.
Others relive the trauma over and over again through nightmares and flashbacks. In addition, dog bites often leave permanent scars and other forms of disfigurement that significantly impact a person’s self-esteem.
It is very common for dog bite victims to develop PTSD after the attack. This psychological condition occurs after a person experiences an extremely traumatic event, and usually manifests in the following symptoms.
- Intrusive memories, flashbacks, and nightmares
- Actively avoiding thinking or talking about the traumatic event
- Avoiding places, people, or objects that remind the victim of the event
- Being easily startled or frightened
- Suffering from emotional outbursts or angry behavior
- A lack of interest in daily activities
- Feelings of detachment from loved ones
- Negative thoughts about the self or the world
- Difficulty maintaining close relationships
Children Often Suffer from Severe Trauma
While a dog bite can result in severe trauma for any person, a dog biting a child causes even more severe psychological effects. Events that occur during childhood are likely to have a profound impact on a person for the rest of their life. The trauma can also interfere with normal childhood development.
After a dog bite, children can carry a heavy emotional burden, suffering from anxiety and PTSD. Symptoms of emotional distress in children can be more difficult to spot, but some of the most common signs include the following.
- Frequent nightmares
- Sleep disturbances
- Wetting the bed
- Withdrawal from loved ones
- Feelings of terror when separated from parents
Pursuing Justice after a Dog Bite
Dog attacks can result in physical, financial, and emotional losses. If you are attacked and bitten by a dog in Washington state, you have options for justice ahead of you. According to state law, dog owners are liable for any bites inflicted by their animals, as long as the victim did not provoke the animal or trespass on any property at the time of the attack.
By filing a lawsuit against the animal’s owner, you can recover financial compensation to pay for lost wages, medical care, property damage, and any pain and suffering that you endured. These medical expenses may also include psychological counseling and any other treatment that you require to heal from the trauma.
As soon as possible following the attack, seek medical care. Once you receive the treatment that you need, contact a Washington dog bite lawyer to discuss your legal options and initiate your claim.