Dog Bites on Children: The Long-Term Effects

As a Memphis personal injury lawyer, I know too well the psychological impact of dog bites on children. It’s a horrible but all-too-common problem on our streets, and it impacts our children’s ability to develop, learn, and grow.

While we can’t remove these effects, our firm works hard to help families recover from dog bites, including covering the extensive medical costs and also the long-term mental health treatment any child might need in this awful situation.

Here’s what you can expect after a dog bite and how we might be able to help.

The Real Dangers of Child Dog Bites

While dog bites are a fairly rare occurrence in most communities, they disproportionately affect children. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), each year approximately 800,000 dog bites require medical attention. 334,000 require hospitalization. And 50% of the victims are children.

12% of adults require medical treatment from dog attacks, but that number is much higher for children: 26% need a doctor or emergency room.

The CDC adds dog bites are a bigger health problem for children than measles, mumps and whooping cough combined. Children are more likely to get injuries from a dog attack than bike accidents, playground injuries, mopeds, skateboards, or other dangerous hobbies like ATVs.

PTSD for Survivors of Dog Attacks

Dog bites can be a traumatic experience and lead to the development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a mental health condition that can occur following exposure to a traumatic event, including dog bites.

Symptoms of PTSD can include:

  • intrusive thoughts or memories related to the event
  • nightmares
  • flashbacks
  • heightened anxiety or reactivity
  • negative changes in mood
  • brain fog

For someone who has experienced a traumatic dog bite, memories of the event or even the sight or sound of a dog can trigger these symptoms.

Treatment for PTSD may involve therapy, medication, or a combination of both.

Mental Impacts of Dog Bites on Children

Dog bites on children can cause even more problems than for adults. As their brains are still forming, they process traumatic experiences differently. 

Symptoms of PTSD in children can vary from those in adults. They may include:

  • bedwetting
  • separation anxiety
  • avoidance of activities or places associated with the trauma
  • slower development at school and home

Certain therapies have been shown to help. Play therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and family therapy can all make it easier for children to deal with the aftermath of a dog bite.

But even beyond PTSD, children can struggle. One young girl I knew who suffered a dog bite worried about the permanent scarring and whether she would still be pretty after she healed. We don’t always think about these impacts and how much time it can take to recover, mentally as well as physically.

What Can You Do If Your Child Is Attacked by a Dog?

If your child has suffered from a dog attack, you need a lawyer who understands the seriousness of the situation and will fight for you every step of the way.

Our attorneys work with you and your family to get the compensation you need to heal. We know the injuries are often more than skin-deep. You’ll feel safe with our award-winning team, known for our compassion, sensitivity, and communication.

What’s more, we don’t receive any payment unless and until you do. So your success is our success.

We can’t give you back what you had before a dog attack, but we can make sure your child has someone on their side. We’ll fight for their rights and the compensation you all need in order to heal.

To get started, call us today at 901-327-2100 or fill out the form below.

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