Common Injuries Resulting From Dog Bites and Their Treatment Options

Many dog owners believe their beloved pup would never hurt a fly. But even the friendliest dog can bite someone for no reason, and those bites can have devastating consequences for victims.

Thousands of people visit the emergency room for dog bite injuries annually in California. Dog bites can cause severe lacerations, internal bleeding, and infections that might turn deadly if not treated immediately.

Learn more about injuries resulting from dog bites and the compensation that may be available to bite victims in Orange County.

Dog Bite Injuries Can Be Disabling and Even Life-threatening

Many types of dog bite injuries can take months to heal fully. Severe dog bites can have long-lasting consequences that haunt victims for the rest of their lives.


Many people have heard the adage that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s. But dog saliva often contains dangerous bacteria, and bites from infected animals could make people sick.

Infected dog bites can transmit:

  • Rabies
  • Tetanus
  • Capnocytophaga spp.
  • MRSA
  • Pasteurella

Doctors can treat some infections with a course of antibiotics. If an infection is severe enough, a doctor might have to administer antibiotics via IV. Some dog bite victims may need a tetanus shot as well.


Dog teeth are designed to rip and tear, so it’s easy to imagine the damage they can do to delicate human skin.

Dog bite lacerations often require stitches to heal properly. These wounds can leave permanent scarring; even if the bite heals well, the bitten area may remain sore to the touch.

Broken Bones

A dog’s bite carries significant force that can break bones. If a dog bite breaks a victim’s arm or leg, they require immediate medical attention to reduce the risk of infection and permanent injury. Victims might need crutches to walk, and if the break is bad enough, they might even require a wheelchair.

Some types of broken bones, such as compound fractures, are notorious for healing poorly. Broken bones that don’t heal well can leave victims with chronic lifelong pain.


Attacking dogs commonly lunge at a victim’s neck or face. Such attacks can be deadly, but even if the victim survives, they may be left with heavy scarring and disfigurement. 

This can cause embarrassment in social situations. Some victims may isolate themselves because they fear other people will judge them.

It may be possible to correct disfigurement with reconstructive surgery. However, such treatment often costs thousands of dollars. If insurance refuses to pay, victims are stuck footing the bill for surgery out of pocket.

Internal Organ Damage

Dogs can bite deeply enough to damage internal organs, such as the lungs, bladder, liver, and others. Such bites can be life-threatening and require emergency treatment.

Surgery to repair internal organ damage isn’t just expensive. It also comes with a long recovery time and can leave victims bedridden until they heal.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

A dog doesn’t need to bite a person’s head to cause a traumatic brain injury. Dogs may knock a victim to the ground during an attack, causing them to strike their head on the pavement or another object.

Mild concussions usually resolve themselves in a few days. More severe TBIs can cause permanent memory loss, confusion, muscle spasms, personality changes, and other debilitating symptoms.

TBI victims may need surgery to reduce the pressure from brain swelling. They may also require counseling to learn how to adapt to the mental changes a TBI can bring.

Mental Health Effects of Dog Bites

Dog attacks can be terrifying. Many victims go on to develop anxiety and a severe fear of dogs. Others may feel depressed, especially if their injuries don’t heal well.

Many dog bite victims develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They have flashbacks of the attack and may struggle with nightmares that force them to relive the frightening event over and over again.

People suffering from mental distress may need therapy or medication to recover. But these treatments don’t work for everyone, so some victims may have to cope with these issues for the rest of their lives.

Compensation for Dog Bites in California

Can you sue a negligent dog owner for injuries resulting from dog bites? California follows strict liability rules when it comes to dog bites. That means you can hold the owner responsible for your injuries even if their dog has never bitten someone.

If you choose to file a lawsuit, a court may award you economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages cover your financial losses. They include the cost of your past, current, and future medical care. For instance, if a doctor says you’ll need ongoing treatment or physical therapy, it’s possible to sue the dog owner for those damages.

You can also recover lost wages if a dog bite was so bad that you needed to take time off of work for recovery. You can also seek compensation if you’re permanently unable to work.

If you need to retrain for a job in another industry, you may be able to sue for those costs as well.

Non-economic Damages

Assigning a figure to some damages is tricky because they don’t come with receipts like medical treatments. A competent dog bite lawyer can evaluate your non-economic damages and prove your losses in a lawsuit.

You can hold the dog’s owner responsible for your emotional distress. If you’ve developed anxiety, PTSD, or a fear of public spaces, these conditions can seriously hinder your quality of life.

You may also wish to sue for loss of companionship. This means your dog bites are so severe that you can no longer enjoy time with your loved ones like you once did.

Schedule a Consultation With an Experienced Dog Bite Law Firm

Injuries resulting from dog bites can cause heavy financial losses, chronic pain, and mental anguish for victims. Khalil Law Group has years of experience recovering damages for dog bite victims in Newport Beach, CA. Call our law firm at (714) 617-7870 for a free consultation on your dog bite case today.

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