PTSD from Dog Bites – Can a Victim Sue for Psychological Damage
Every year thousands of individuals suffer dog bite injuries. Damages caused by dog bites include not only physical damages in the way of puncture wounds and bite marks requiring stitches but also severe emotional and physiological trauma including serious incidences of Post Traumatic Disorder (PTSD). Victims of personal injury including dog bites due to the wrongful or negligent actions of others are entitled to compensation for all harms suffered including the development of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
What is PTSD – Diagnosing Post Traumatic Stress Following a Dog Bite Incident
Dog bite incident especially those involving large dog or small children can be a traumatizing experience often resulting in a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder. Specific signs and symptoms of PTSD is provided below. (1) Re-experiencing of the symptoms – this can include flashbacks, nightmares and bad dreams. (2) Physical Symptoms – this can include racing heartbeat, and sweating. (3) Symptoms associated with avoidance – this can include staying away from location known to have dog present, lack of emotions, numbness loss of interest in usual activities, amnesia – the failure to remember the dog bite incident. (4) Hypersensitivity and arousal – being easily startled.
Establishing Liability Against Dog Owners – Quasi Strict Liability for Dog Bite Owners
The state of California has instituted a ONE BITE RULE – Strict Liability on owners of Dog Bites to attack and bite victims. “The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.” However there are certain defenses which can be used to reduce and or eliminate liability on the part of the dog owner. These can include (1) Entering into a property without the consent of the property owner. (2) Teasing of a dog or touching of a dog, (3) Attempting to partake in a criminal activity.
Compensation Available for Victims of Dog Bites: Victims of dog bite are entitled to financial recovery for all harms and damages they have suffered. Specific categories of harm compensable in dog bite injury claims is provided below…
1. All medical and rehabilitation costs including hospitalization costs, cost of prescription medications and cosmetic surgeries.
2. Pain and Suffering including mental anguish and Post Traumatic Stress.
3. Lost income and loss of future earning potential due to long term physical and psychological trauma.
4. Punitive Damage – intended to punish an at fault party so as to discourage future intentional or reckless behavior of at fault parties.
Steps to Take if You or a Loved One have Suffered a Dog Bite Incident
1. Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Documentation of your injuries as soon as they take place is an important factor in determining the overall settlement or jury verdict that can be reached during a trial.
2. File a police report with your local police department.
3. Take picture of the incident location and your injuries.
3. Contact and experiences dog bite attorney.
Legal Help: If you have any questions feel free to contact our law office. Any consultation with our attorneys are confidential and free of charge.