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Dog attacks can have long-term effects on small children

| Aug 29, 2018 | Firm News

Experiencing a dog bite can be traumatic for anyone, especially a child. Young kids are more vulnerable to potential dog attacks: They are smaller, which means that dogs can damage more delicate parts of their body, including their faces and throats. Children of a certain age are too young to understand how to read a dog’s body language or noises properly.

Kids who simply hope to play with what they perceive as a friendly dog could end up permanently disfigured or psychologically damaged in a matter of seconds. As a parent of an injured child, you should take the time to educate yourself about how the animal attack could affect your child and what your rights are under Connecticut law.

Long-term physical and psychological consequences

A dog attack can leave a child with wounds that take a long time to heal. That is true of both their physical and psychological well-being. Depending on where the dog bites, stitches or even reconstructive surgery may be necessary. When the damage is severe enough, the child may experience pain in that area for a long time, even after treatment.

In many cases that require surgery, it will not be a one-time procedure. Because children are still growing, the tissue repaired by the surgery may soon stretch and grow. Depending on the age of the victim and the severity of the bite, routine surgeries may be necessary until the child is fully grown. If a dog bite breaks a bone, that can cause pain and trauma, particularly if the bone plate is damaged.

Physical consequences aren’t the only concern. Your child may develop cynophobia, a fear of dogs. If the attack took place in an open public space, your child could become agoraphobic and prefer to avoid public places in the future. Ongoing counseling and therapy may be the only way for your child to overcome the fear and potential post-traumatic stress that accompanies a violent assault.

Connecticut law lets victims hold pet owners accountable

Many states give dogs one free bite, which means that they have to attack someone else before the owner can be held responsible for damages the dog causes. Connecticut, however, is a strict liability state: Even if the dog has never so much as growled before, if it injures someone, the owner is responsible.

The only exception to this rule is in cases where the victim of the bite was in the act of committing a crime or trespassing on a property. The law in Connecticut also assumes that children under the age of 7 are not capable of trespassing.

Many times, you can get the compensation you need through an insurance claim. If that won’t suffice, you may need to consider taking civil action against the owner of the dog that injured your child.



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