Broken bones will eventually heal, but scars leave a lasting reminder of the trauma suffered in a dog bite attack. Victims are entitled to seek compensation for their medical expenses as well as the psychological toll associated with disfigurement.
Dog Bite Scars Take a Mental Toll
Dog bite scars typically have an irregular shape, jagged edges, and a non-uniform depth with varying colors. This makes them more noticeable than other types of accident scars, especially if the attack involved facial injuries.
Scar tissue often requires a year or more to fully reach a permanent condition. The scars, either before or after they become permanent, are a constant reminder of the trauma suffered in the attack. With this visible reminder, in some instances comes depression, low self-esteem, poor body image, and anxiety. Psychological care and possibly plastic surgery can help with the effects associated with dog bite scars. Children may worry about being bullied by their peers, while adults might be concerned about how they'll appear to a romantic partner.
Using makeup designed to cover tattoos or special scar camouflaging kits with color correcting benefits can provide a temporary confidence boost, but these products are not foolproof. Victims will have varying degrees of success based on their skin tone as well as the location and severity of the scar.
Preventative Treatment Measures for Dog Bite Scars
Seeking medical treatment immediately after a dog bite attack is crucial to minimizing the potential for disfigurement. Bites that get infected will heal more slowly and leave more visible scars. If your doctor prescribes antibiotics to prevent infection, it's important to take all of the medication as directed.
When the wound begins to heal, you can reduce scarring by regularly applying a scar treatment product using silicone over the affected area. Silicone has been proven to minimize scarring and fade existing scars.
Exposure to the sun's UV rays can cause scars to darken or permanently discolor. If your scar is in an area that's exposed to sunlight, apply your scar treatment product first and let it dry completely before applying sunscreen.
In some cases of injury to the arms or legs, your doctor might recommend the use of a pressure garment. This helps suppress the growth of hypertrophic scar tissue and keep the skin smoother.
Advanced Techniques for Scar Treatment
When a dog bite victim has severe scars, more advanced treatment options might be recommended to reduce the level of disfigurement. For example:
- Dermabrasion or laser resurfacing can be used to make rough or elevated scars less noticeable by creating a smoother surface.
- Keloid or hypertrophic scars can be treated with injected medications that reduce scar size or they can be removed surgically. The incision for the procedure will leave a fresh scar, but it will be less prominent.
- Scar revision surgeries can be done by recreating the incision and moving the skin around to make the scar less visible.
While the above procedures are designed to help improve the appearance of a scar for cosmetic reasons, some dog bite victims with injuries to the extremities will require a separate surgery to address scar tissue that limits their range of motion.
Receiving Compensation for Dog Bite Scars
Victims of dog bite attacks are entitled to compensation for their attack-related medical expenses, as well as for the pain and suffering related to their injuries. Dog bite claims are most often paid through the owner's homeowner's insurance. Although you're still entitled to compensation, if the animal's owner doesn't have homeowner's insurance, the case will become more difficult to settle or provide proper compensation. The amount of compensation available for a dog bite injury is dependent on the severity of the injuries, the location of the scarring, the amount of insurance and/or assets available to be used for payment of the injuries and damages.
Since laws regarding liability for dog bites can be complex, working with a skilled personal injury lawyer is the best way to protect your rights and insure that your claim is processed in a timely manner. The legal team at the Inland Empire Law Group has extensive experience assisting California residents in settling dog bite claims resulting in disfiguring scars. To learn more, call (888) MY IE LAW. Free, no-obligation consultations are available at either our Rancho Cucamonga or Victorville offices.