Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) After a Dog Bite

dog bite ptsdAccording to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.

Most people that experience a traumatic event have upsetting memories for a few days or weeks after an event, but those feelings go away. But when it lasts longer than a few months, a victim may have PTSD. 

It’s important to remember than PTSD is not a sign of weakness. An endless amount of factors contribute to someone’s chances of developing PTSD, including exposure, age, gender, etc. What happens after the traumatic event also determines who will get PTSD. 

Symptoms of PTSD

Experts have pinpointed four common symptoms for PTSD: 

  • Reliving the event: May include nightmares or an insistence on going through the event again (flashback). 
  • Avoiding situations similar to the event: People with PTSD may not want to be triggered by events similar to the traumatic experience. 
  • Having more negative thoughts and feelings: Those with PTSD may feel changed by the event and experience guilt and shame. A poor self image is also a symptom.
  • Feeling jittery: May include feelings of alertness or on the lookout for danger. Can lead to unhealthy coping habits (smoking, drugs, drinking, etc.).

How PTSD Affects Dog Bite Victims

Dog bite victims commonly experience some level of PTSD, and it’s not rare for people to seek treatment to overcome it after an attack. Dog attacks can have a serious impact on a victim and their family and have a life-long impact. PTSD should be treated just like any other type of dog bite injury.

In dog bite cases involving children, it may be the parent or caretaker that experiences PTSD. They may questions themselves and feel they should have prevented the attack, or should have done something differently. It’s normal to second guess yourself, but those with PTSD have serious trouble moving on.

PTSD after a dog bite is common, and the symptoms usually following similar patterns. 

  • A person being extremely emotional: Whether they’re around a dog or not. 
  • Experiencing nightmares: Having trouble sleeping.
  • The fear of being in a closed environment: Feeling trapped by a dog.
  • Feeling triggered by sounds: Anything that reminds a victim of the attack. 

For more information about the warning signs of PTSD after a dog bite, consult with an experienced dog bite injury lawyer in your area.

Other Mental Issues That Develop After a Dog Bite

PTSD isn't the only psychological issue that can arise as a result of a dog bite attack. Victims that have a hard time overcoming an incident may also experience the following: 

  • Depression: If a dog bite attack victim has suffered a serious or particularly devastating injury, depression may be a side effect. Large or noticeable scars left by a dog bite may cause a victim to feel self conscious and depressed, or their injuries may limit them physically. An inability to live life as they did prior to the incident can cause depression.
  • Fear: Even those who loved dogs before an incident may develop a crippling fear of dogs afterwards. This can be especially problematic if the victim was a child at the time of the attack. Significant counseling may be required to overcome these fears.
  • Anxiety: Even routine errands or tasks around the neighborhood may trigger anxiety. Encountering a dog after an incident is a reason for a great deal of anxiety.

Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries in Washington

While an attorney is not always necessary for a dog bite claim, it may be in your best interest. Those that hire a personal injury attorney after an incident receive on average 3.5 times more than people without an attorney. 

Many special circumstances regarding the severity of the injury could dramatically change the difference in the amount of compensation. An experienced Washington state dog bite and animal attack lawyer will help to ensure that all aspects of the injury are being considered, including future medical care or cosmetic surgery.

For a free case evaluation with an attorney at Davis Law Group, P.S., call (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the form on this page to get started.

Chris Davis
Award-winning personal injury attorney and founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, Washington.