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Types of Injuries Caused By Dog Attacks

When a dog attacks, the physical and emotional injuries suffered by a victim can be severe. Every year, hundreds of victims visit emergency departments across the US with serious dog bite injuries. Other injuries can also be caused by an attack, such as from being knocked over by a large dog. If you or someone you love has been attacked by a dog in Pittsburgh, contact the Pittsburgh personal injury attorneys at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. for a free case evaluation.

Skin and Soft-Tissue Injuries

Dog attacks can inflict injuries from the animal’s teeth, jaws and claws, as well as the weight of the animal itself if it jumps on the victim. Many dog attack victims suffer injuries to their skin and soft tissues, including the muscles, ligaments and tendons from being bitten by a dog. The following skin injuries may be inflicted by a dog attack:

  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Abrasions
  • Severe lacerations
  • Avulsions
  • Degloving 
  • Nerve damage
  • Soft-tissue damage
  • Muscle tears
  • Strains and sprains
  • Bruising
  • Contusions

A victim’s skin can be cut, torn or even pulled away from the body in a severe dog attack. Skin injuries often require stitches and put the victim at risk of infections from bacteria in the dog’s mouth and saliva. A victim may also suffer significant scarring and disfigurement from skin and tissue damage. 

Puncture Wounds

A dog’s teeth are sharp enough that they can break the skin and cause puncture wounds. These are wounds caused by a sharp object that penetrates the skin. A sharp dog’s tooth can cut through the top layer of skin (the epidermis), as well as the second layer (dermis) and the underlying tissues. In severe cases, tooth punctures can penetrate the muscles or even reach bone.

Bone Fractures

The strength of a dog’s jaw in an attack can exert enough force on a victim to break or crush a bone – such as in the fingers, hand or arm if the victim tries to fend off the dog attack. In addition, a victim could break one or more bones in a fall accident from being tripped or knocked over by a jumping dog. These incidents can lead to hip fractures, wrist and elbow fractures, and skull fractures or concussions.

Facial Injuries

Dogs may lunge at a victim’s face and neck in an attack. This can lead to devastating face and eye injuries, including deep lacerations, puncture wounds, irreversible eye damage and disfiguring facial scars. In the most severe cases, dog attacks involving the face and neck can be fatal – especially if the victim is a small child or senior.

Infections and Diseases

Dog bite injuries are unique in that they come with a risk of infectious diseases due to the transmission of bacteria from the dog’s mouth into the wound. If a dog bite breaks the skin, the victim is at risk of contracting dog-borne diseases such as rabies, tetanus, Pasteurella, MRSA and Capnocytophaga. In some cases, these infections can turn into sepsis – a potentially fatal reaction within the body to an infection.

Emotional Injuries

Physical injuries are not the only harm caused by dog attacks. Survivors of these traumatic incidents often suffer emotional, mental and psychological harm, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well. They may experience flashbacks, nightmares, chronic anxiety or a new phobia of dogs. Victims may need counseling or therapy to overcome these issues.

Injured in a Dog Attack? We Can Help 

If you were recently attacked or bitten by a dog in Pittsburgh or the surrounding cities, contact a Pittsburgh dog bite injury lawyer at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. for a free case consultation. You may be able to collect financial compensation from the dog owner or another party for your medical bills, ongoing care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

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