Over 4.5 million dog bites are reported each year and victims on the receiving end of those dog bites are frequently children. Parents do everything they can to make sure that their children receive the best medical care to recover from dog bite injuries, often needing stitches, surgeries, and treatment for infections and diseases. You cannot blame parents for being focused on necessary medical treatment in order to make sure that their children fully heal from dog bites, but with the focus on their children’s physical recovery, often the emotional damage that children experience with dog bites is overlooked.
Settling without an attorney
Dog attack lawyers know that dog attack claims, especially when children are the victims, not only involve physical injuries, but they also involved emotional injuries. Emotional distress is not always immediately apparent and it is often not discovered until some time has passed after the incident. Unfortunately, dog bite claims are often settled without considering the emotional distress suffered by children, especially when victims and their families settle their claims without an experienced dog bite attorney.
PTSD and children
After a dog attack, children often suffer from the post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD symptoms may include:
- Anxiety and fear in the presence of dogs
- Anxiety when leaving the home due to fear of experiencing another dog attack
- Nightmares and night terrors
- Inability to sleep
- Irritability and other behavioral problems
- Decreased school performance
- Withdrawal from social activities and extracurricular activities
- Exaggerated startle response
Children are not the only ones who may suffer when they are victims of a dog attack, especially when close family members witness the attack. In California, close family members who witness the attack may also have an emotional distress claim for their own emotional damages. In order to recover as a bystander witness to a dog attack in California, the following elements must be satisfied:
- The witness was a close family member of the dog bite victim
- The witness was present and aware of the dog attack at the time it was happening
- The witness suffered severe emotional distress as a result of witnessing the dog attack his or her loved one
The emotional recovery for dog attack victims and family members who witnessed the incident may take years of intense treatment and therapy. Individual and family therapy may be necessary and sometimes medication may be prescribed in order to cope with emotional trauma. Medication and therapy may be short term in some cases, but in other cases, dog attacks can be life-changing events requiring long term medication and therapy services.
If you or a loved one has suffered physical and emotional injuries due to a dog attack, contact a Los Angeles dog bites attorney with the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg to discuss your claim. Our experienced attorneys will review the facts of your case and injuries sustained in order to help you determine an amount that will fully and fairly compensate you and your family for injuries and damages.