Lieberman, Ryan & Forrest, L.L.C.
Somerset County
Hunterdon County

PTSD and the scars you don't see after an animal attack

Suffering a serious injury after an animal attack can be traumatizing enough for a small child. Not only do they have to deal with the pain of a bite or tear, they must go through the trauma of getting medical attention in an emergency room, which can be frightening for a child. On top of that, there is the slow and oftentimes painful recovery that follows, which only adds to the emotional impact of the attack.

Though most people believe that a personal injury lawsuit only covers the physical traumas we can see after an animal attack, compensation sought after a serious animal attack can also cover the scars we don't see. Take for example post-traumatic stress disorder. This unseen condition can arise out of a serious accident or attack, such as a dog bite. But just because we don't see it, doesn't mean it isn't affecting the victim in a very serious way.

As research shows, dog bites can have a profound impact on children. They can even develop PTSD as a result of the traumatic event. Just as is the case with adults, children may relive the attack over and over again in the form of nightmares, which can cause extreme anxiety and nervousness afterwards. Anxiety can become an issue again when faced with similar circumstances to the attack, such as being in the same area as the attack or simply being around dogs.

If PTSD symptoms become too overwhelming, a child may become unable to function properly in society and may become closed off from their environment or other people.

Because PTSD can last for months or even years after an incident, continued treatment for the condition may be necessary. As you can imagine, therapy may not come cheap, which is why parents should consider their child's long-term needs along with their short-term needs in the event that a civil action is filed after an animal attack.

Sources: Reuters, "Dog bites can leave kids with emotional scars too," July 12, 2010

WebMD, "What Triggers PTSD?" Accessed Feb. 12, 2016

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