It is not uncommon for a seriously injured victim of a dog bite to suffer from mental anguish and emotional trauma in the wake of a dog attack. Being severely bitten by a dog can be an extremely violent, terrifying, painful, and distressing event with long-term effects on one’s mental health. Dog bite wounds which affect children or that result in disfigurement, scarring, or disability are even more likely to be accompanied by emotional trauma.
If you or a loved one was injured by a dog bite in California, you may find it helpful to understand the signs and symptoms of emotional trauma. These symptoms can vary depending on the age of the victim.
- Babies and toddlers. Very young children may show high levels of distress when separated from caregivers and may regress in recently-attained skills. In addition, they may lose playfulness, act numb, avoid eye contact, smile and coo less frequently, or cling to caregivers.
- Primary school children. Children ages six to twelve may show regressive behavior, suffer from behavior problems, become withdrawn, display sleep disturbances, share irrational fears, and struggle in school. Elementary school-aged children also may complain of physical problems such as stomachaches, headaches, and general pain.
- Teens and adolescents. Teens and high school-aged dog bite victims may become withdrawn, suffer in school, sleep significantly more or less than before the accident, or become emotionally numb. They may feel helpless, guilty, or regretful when thinking about the dog attack, and they could “act out” through bad behavior or poor academic performance. In addition, they might deny that their unusual behavior or feelings are connected with their dog bite.
- Adults. If you were bitten by a dog, watch for building anxiety and depression, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, difficulty performing at work, flashbacks of the event, restlessness, and diminished interests in relationships and hobbies.
Emotional wounds can be as painful as physical wounds, and they require just as much medical care and healing. If you or your child was injured in an Orange County dog attack, you could be owed compensation for damages. To learn more about your legal options and rights, speak with a California personal injury attorney at Russell & Lazarus today: (949) 851-0222.