Phoenix Dog Bite Scar Lawyers
Dog is man's best friend. In most cases, this adage is true, and for people who own dogs as pets, or who simply love them as animals and occasional pals, the thought that a dog could ever hurt a person for any reason seems ridiculous. Unfortunately, reports indicate that more than 4.7 million incidents involving dog bites happen throughout the United States each year. That's nearly 537 bite injuries per day on average. More than 800,000 of those bite injuries require urgent medical care. Children are especially susceptible to dog bites because they tend to be more trusting of dogs, even those that they do not know or those that may seem vicious to an adult.
Dog bite injuries can happen any time, to any person of any age, with or without provocation, and involving dogs that are both leashed and unleashed. Dog bite injuries can kill, maim, physically injure, and emotionally and mentally injure the victim. For many victims, life can stop in its tracks while they are working to recover from their injuries, both physical and non-physical, and their lives may never be the same due to the physical scarring that frequently accompanies dog bite injuries. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a disfiguring dog attack, please contact the Phoenix personal injury attorneys at The Husband & Wife Law Team immediately.
Reports indicate that nearly 66 percent of all dog bite injuries, or 3.1 million injuries, happen in close proximity to the victim's own home, and the majority of cases, the victim knows the dog and the owner of the dog that bit them. In a large majority of cases, victims are bitten by a neighbor's dog. This can be confusing and frustrating for victims, who think that if they know a dog it should be safe to approach it. There are many different ways that dog bite accidents happen, one of which is that dog owners allow their dogs to roam freely and interact with everyone in the neighborhood. This is not allowed under state law in Arizona. But the problem is much more significant than dog owners simply allowing their dogs to roam at large.
Dog owners who do not train their dogs how to properly interact with people and do not make sure visitors know how to behave around their dog are creating a potentially dangerous situation. Also, dogs that are hungry, scared, cooped-up, frustrated, abused, with puppies or lost are likely to bite a person under certain circumstances. A person has no way of knowing what state of mind a dog may be in but would do well to learn about basic dog behavior and physical signs of aggression or agitation in order to avoid a potential incident.
Although, in some cases, a victim provokes the dog that bites them, the many victims are bitten when they are doing nothing to provoke an attack. This does not mean that the person's actions had nothing to do with it, which is why learning how to properly interact with dogs, when to avoid them and even what to do when a dog does display aggression can make a huge difference in safety. Many dog bite injuries occur when a victim is trying to get away from an aggressive dog and does not understand that running only encourages further aggression. Petting unaware or unfriendly dogs also frequently leads to bite injuries.
The state of Arizona takes dog bite injuries very seriously and has put into place several laws that help to hold dog owners responsible for keeping the neighborhood safe and for keeping their dogs in good habits.
ARS 11-1025 sets the statewide standard for liability for dog bite injuries in the state. This law holds the owner of a dog that bites another person liable for all damages suffered by the victim, as long as that person was legally in a public or private location. This even includes the property of the person who owns the dog (think about your mailman, or if you're bitten while dropping off a package to your neighbor).
In the case of ARS 11-1025, it doesn't matter whether the owner of the dog knew their dog would bite a person or not, they are still responsible for the injuries and other damages suffered by the victim.
Dog owners must also be aware of other laws that protect people in their communities from dog bite accidents.
ARS 11-1012 prohibits dog owners in the state of Arizona from allowing their dog to roam at large, and ARS 11-1020 holds the dog owner fully responsible for any injuries and property damages inflicted by their dog when the dog is roaming at large, regardless of the nature of the incident.
ARS 11-1014 holds owners of dogs that are known to be vicious to an even higher standard and requires them to take extra safety measures in ensuring that their dogs do not come into contact with the general public.
The prognosis for dog bite injuries is dependent on the type of injury that is sustained and the severity of the dog bite injury. Nearly 370,000 people require emergency medical treatment each year for dog bite injuries in incidents that often prove to be life-threatening, though typically fewer than 20 people die each year as a result of a dog bite injury. Although the death rate is low, many people who sustain dog bite injuries may face permanent scarring, loss of sight or an eye, loss of function of a body part and other serious injuries. The majority of dog bite injury victims are able to make a full recovery.
One of the most significant, and emotional outcomes of a dog bite injury, is the probable scarring that comes along with it. Approximately 71 percent of dog bite injuries happen to the arms, legs, hands, and feet. However, a large portion of the remaining 29 percent of injuries occur to the face and neck.
For young children, more than 65 percent of dog bite injuries involve the head and neck. These incidents typically always involve scarring. Scars from dog bites occur when the bite pierces the lower layer of the dermis. According to statistics, more than 29,000 people undergo reconstructive surgery each year as a result of sustaining a dog bite injury.
For those dog bite injury victims who sustain serious dog bites to the face, scarring is practically inevitable. The uneven nature of the face results in uneven bite marks that are characterized by jagged edges and multiple depths. The resulting scarring can be disfiguring as it becomes uneven throughout the entire bite. Nerve, bone, and tissue damage paired with deep lacerations can leave a scarring victim in significant pain for a long period of time. Scarring may never completely heal and often leaves victims with a numb feeling, twinges and spikes of pain, and other discomfort for the rest of their lives.
Although reconstructive surgeries are possible to minimize scarring, there is no guarantee that a victim of a dog bite injury, especially to the face or neck, will not have scarring. In severe cases, scarring is inevitable. Multiple physical surgeries and laser surgeries can help to minimize scarring and to help smooth it out but can never fully eliminate the remnants of scarring and of the serious injuries that were suffered by the victim during and after the bite accident. With extensive scar massage and other therapies, some scars may partially fade away and leave the victim with the majority of their original appearance, where reconstructive surgery was not a necessity. This is most often the case for those who experience scarring on arms, legs, chest, and other body parts as opposed to the face and neck.
Victims of bog bite accidents do not only experience bite injuries and scarring to the face and extremities. Other injuries that are common for dog bite injury victims include:
- Broken or shattered bones where the bite of the dog was strong enough to collapse bones in the hands, feet, or other body parts.
- Torn through ligaments and muscles where the dog's teeth tore through the body, or from the force of trying to free oneself from the dog's grip.
- Infections, diseases, and other systemic issues arising from the introduction of bacteria into the body from the bite. This may include problems such as rabies and other problems originated with the dog or dog's saliva.
People who suffer from dog bite injuries often see many different sets of complications unique to their set of injuries. However, some complications are common to all types of dog bite injuries. One of the most significant complications is the possibility of infection. Poorly treated dog bite injuries and those that are not treated at a hospital are highly susceptible to infection. Victims who catch the rabies virus may sustain long term damage to the brain and to motor function. Those who are infected with other types of bacteria may be susceptible to necrosis and other serious complications that could result in the amputation of limbs or life-threatening situations. Major infections may result in the need for hospitalization over a long period of time in order for life-saving interventions to be pursued.
If you were bitten by a dog and sustained a serious dog bite injury, you'll likely suffer significant pain throughout your recovery period, and if your injuries leave you disfigured or with major scarring, the emotional pain and suffering will last for much longer. The Phoenix dog bite lawyers at The Husband & Wife Law Team can help you work through your recovery and get back to the life you had before you were injured. Contact us at (602) 457-6222 for a free consultation.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer