Dog attacks suffered by children have the potential to be severe and even life-threatening, especially for those incidents involving big dogs. Survivors of a dog attack might face lifelong consequences, such as scarring and disfigurement, as well as emotional trauma.
If your child was attacked by a dog, you might feel be about for their health and unsure about how to proceed. However, a lawyer who is well-versed with civil lawsuits stemming from child dog bite injuries in Michigan could help. A seasoned attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. could explain your legal options, launch an investigation, and work to pursue a claim to request compensation for your child’s losses.
How Kids Get Bitten by Dogs
Dog bite injuries sustained by children are frequent and often influenced by a number of factors in Michigan. These include the breed-related behavior of certain dogs, as well as—more importantly—the temperant and behavior of the dog owners, the child, and the child’s parents. Children who are younger than 10 years represent the high-risk group for dog attacks, according to a study conducted by the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In particular, children tend to underestimate the danger arising from dogs due simply to their lack of experiences. Unfortunately, while most dogs do not attack or bite out of malice, the ensuing damages could be severe.
Who is Liable for an Attack?
According to Michigan Compiled Laws §287.351, the dog’s owner or handler is usually liable for any injuries their animal causes. The only exceptions to this law are if the dog was provoked into biting someone, if a victim was not on public property, or if the child was not permitted on private property at the time of a bite.
Therefore, state law requires that a plaintiff in a dog bite case prove that their injuries were from a canine’s attack and that none of the above exceptions apply. For child injury claims stemming from a dog bite, a parent and their skillful Michigan lawyer must demonstrate these elements on the child’s behalf.
Types of Child Injuries from Dog Bites
Due to their smaller size, developing bodies, and immature immune systems, children are often more susceptible to sustaining severe dog bite injuries and complications in Michigan after an attack. These include crushing injuries, avulsions, nerve damage, and infections.
Scars and Disfigurements
Many children are bitten on the head and face in a dog attack. This can leave serious and permanent scars that will last a lifetime. Many bites are so serious that plastic surgery may be required if the skin does not heal on its own.
Depending on the age of the child at the time of the attack, many surgeons will not perform surgical revisions until the child reaches early adulthood. This means that many times, children might go through the embarrassment and humiliation of a scar through adolescence, a period in which they are very self-conscious of their appearance.
Large dogs are more likely to cause crushing injuries due to the tremendous strength of their teeth and jaws. Crushing injuries can break bones and cause damage to soft tissues and muscles.
When a dog rips or tears tissue, an avulsion injury occurs. These injuries are serious and sometimes require reconstructive surgery, which could lead to a lifetime of scarring and other medical complications.
If a dog bite extends into the nerves of the tissues, temporary or permanent nerve damage may occur. Loss of function or a permanent loss of ability to use that part of the body may follow. In extreme cases, the injured person may have permanent paralysis.
Data reported by the CDC reveals that nearly 20 percent of all dog bites become infected with bacteria. Infections in a bite wound can delay healing, increase scarring, and require additional medical care. These complications include:
- Capnocytophaga bacteria
Potential Damages After a Bite
The psycho-sociological consequences of the trauma caused by a dog bite can impede a child’s quality of life and their own vies of themself. This trauma often impacts them both socially and emotionally. Therefore, these attacks represent a serious medical and public health issue.
Michigan law provides for money damages to child victims of dog attacks. Compensation in includes payment for pain and suffering, scarring, medical bills, and psychological harm caused to the child. These settlements are often very substantial depending on the severity of the attack and the injuries to the child.
Seeking Legal Help After a Child Suffers Dog Bite Injuries in Michigan
If your child has suffered injuries after being attacked by a dog, seeking medical attention should always be the first priority. However, depending on the circumstances of an attack, you might also be able to file a civil lawsuit against a negligent pet owner.
By retaining a lawyer who is familiar with child injury claims stemming from dog bites in Michigan, you could rest assured that a legal professional is by your side. Call an experienced attorney today to begin working on a claim.
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