Legal Guide

Damages From a Dog Bite

A dog bite injury may leave you emotionally traumatized or disfigured. There are several injuries that can result from a dog bite. Whether it was a small puppy or a larger breed, the injury can lead to significant injuries and infections. If you know someone who has recently experienced a dog bite injury, it is important to contact a knowledgeable attorney who can explain your options and preserve your right to recover damages for your injuries.

Initial Steps After a Dog Bite

If there is no significant damage to the skin or there are only minor abrasions from the bite, it is still important to have the wound checked and cleaned by a medical professional to avoid infection. If it was a stray dog, call the authorities. If the dog is wearing a registration tag, consult the dog’s owner about the matter. There are times when dog bites cause severe injuries. The fact that dog bite injury cases range from minor cuts or abrasions to life-threatening injuries or death should be sufficient to demonstrate the importance of consulting a Fort Myers dog bite attorney!

Severe Diseases and Infections Caused by Dog Bites

1. Bacterial Infections

The most serious and common threats associated with these injuries are bacterial infections that develop in the injured area. Because of the nature of puncture wounds, these bites are prone to severe infections.  When a dog bites, bacteria are essentially “injected” deep into the bloodstream and surrounding tissues. 

2. Capnocytophaga

Capnocytophaga is the name of a group of Gram-negative bacteria that live in the mouth of some animals, including dogs and cats. Although it is rare, it can severely impact a patient’s life. The germs do not make animals sick but they can cause severe infection or sepsis in human beings. This is especially dangerous for people with weakened or compromised immune systems. It can also be more difficult for someone taking steroids. Here are the common symptoms of Capnocytophaga:

  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Redness, Pus, Swelling, And Pain at the injury area
  • Blisters around wound appearing in hours
  • Vomiting or Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain

Capnocytophaga responds well to antibiotics but it is important that you consult your medical doctor. Medical documentation will also later assist your legal claim for compensation.

3. Sepsis

Sepsis is a life threatening medical condition that occurs when the body responds aggressively to an infection. It is more dangerous to pregnant women, older adults, infants, and people with chronic diseases. Here are the symptoms:

  • Pain, redness, or swelling near or around the wound
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Abnormalities in kidney or liver function
  • Blood clotting 
  • Low blood-oxygen saturation levels

Spesis requires immediate emergency care. When infections progress to sepsis, intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and close medical observation are necessary.

4. Rabies

Rabies is a fatal viral disease transmittable by dogs and other mammals that is known for causing madness and convulsions to its victim.  The rabies virus is transmissible through saliva to humans when bites occur. With widespread vaccination against the disease, it has become less common in native animals. Rabies is an emergency situation. Consult a medical professional if you or someone you know have been exposed to an animal bite, especially if experiencing rabies symptoms, such as:

  • Flu-like symptoms, such as malaise, general weakness, fever, and headache
  • Prickling, itching or general discomfort
  • Cerebral dysfunction
  • Delirium, hallucinations, abnormal behavior, fear of water or hydrophobia, and insomnia
  • Anxiety, confusion, and agitation

Fast-acting antibiotic injections and rabies vaccinations are the best treatment options.  Consult a medical professional immediately following an animal bite, even a dog bite, as rabies can be fatal.

5. Tetanus

Tetanus is a bacterial disease marked by muscular rigidity and spasms. It is commonly referred to as lockjaw as facial muscles are affected by the condition. Tetanus spores are everywhere in the environment, including soil, dust, and manure. The spores develop into bacteria when they enter the body. The bacteria enters the body through breaks occurring from contaminated objects, such as dog bites or rusty nails. Here are the symptoms of tetanus:

  • Cramps of jaw muscles
  • Seizures
  • Unexpected muscle spasms, often in the stomach
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Stiffness or widespread muscle pain 
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

A tetanus infection usually requires hospitalization, and treatment includes intravenous tetanus immune globulin (TIG) drugs, antibiotics, and rigorous wound care.

Minor Dog Bite Injuries

Temporary health problems can also occur from a dog bite. Some of them are:

  • Bruises and muscle contusions
  • Scrapes, rashes and other soft tissue damage
  • Defensive injuries related to the incident but are not dog bites - such as broken bones, joint sprains, and muscle strains.  

Severe Dog Bite Injuries

Serious and deep-wound dog bites can also occur, including skin tears and puncture wounds. These often require skin grafting or surgery and lead to long-term health issues of scarring and neurological dysfunction. The risks of complications associated with these wounds are greater. People may also experience lasting emotional traumas, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), that negatively impacts their lives and restricts them from living normally.

Life Altering Injuries 

A mauling or dog bite can result in severe and life altering issues. Some of these are included below:

  • Bone fractures
  • Torn ligaments
  • Amputations
  • Avulsions
  • Fatalities
  • Nerve Damage
  • PTSD, and other mental health conditions

When to Consult a Lawyer

Serious health issues caused by dog bite injuries demand the specialized knowledge of a personal injury attorney. If you or someone you know suffered a dog bite and complicated injuries, consult a Fort Myers Personal Injury Lawyer has come to rely on for their personal injury claims. We are a leading injury firm where you can discuss your dog bite case with highly experienced attorneys.


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