Massachusetts dog bites can have an impact for years

Dog bites can cause lasting physical and psychological scars.

A dog bite can literally be a life-changing event. Until you've been the victim of a vicious attack from a dog, you don't realize understand the complex physical and mental cost you will pay for years to come.

Obviously, you will bear physical scars from an attack. Commonly, dog bite injuries - given a dog's natural instincts to shake its prey into submission and to tear flesh with its teeth - are jagged in nature, requiring myriad stitches or staples and resulting in the need for corrective plastic surgery. Depending on the complexity of your injuries, you may need several surgeries to not only heal the original wounds, but also to revise scarring for cosmetic or pain management reasons in the future.

In addition, dogs carry bacteria in their mouths, so their bites can result in serious infection if not properly and adequately treated. This can mean multiple rounds of antibiotics or, if the animal hasn't been properly vaccinated, painful preemptive treatment for such diseases as rabies.

What many people don't realize, however, is that there are often mental symptoms associated with dog bites and other animal attacks. Some, particularly children, can develop a paralyzing fear of dogs following a vicious bite incident. This can require years of therapy or counseling to overcome. Depending on the severity of the injuries incurred, depression and anxiety are also possible during the recovery process. This is particularly common if the attack affected the victim's appearance; being forced to relive the incident whenever the person looks in the mirror takes a huge mental toll.

Don't make a costly mistake

If you have suffered a dog bite injury - particularly if the animal belongs to a friend or family member - you may be tempted to skip treatment or to just pay for the costs yourself without so much as even filing a claim against the owner's insurance. Your heart may be in the right place if you do this, but it is definitely not advised. You should always seek treatment immediately if you've been attacked by an animal, given the consequences associated with bite injuries, and you should also file a claim with the owner's insurance company.

Dog owners have homeowners' insurance that covers their pets for just such an occasion, and your own health insurance may not pay if it turns out that another person was legally at fault for your injuries. You could be setting yourself up for thousands of dollars of medical bills in the future all because you wanted to "keep the peace" now.

Keep in mind that just because you file a claim with the owner's insurance doesn't mean you'll be treated fairly by the insurance company. After all, these companies aren't in the business of looking out for your best interests; they exist to make money for their shareholders. The insurer might try to low-ball you into accepting a settlement that won't take into account your future medical expenses (the need for corrective surgery or therapy, for example) and simply isn't adequate to meet cover your bills associated with the attack.

If you've been injured by a dog in Massachusetts, you have legal rights. To learn more about these rights, and to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney who has navigated these complex cases, contact Ellis Law Offices today by sending an email or calling them toll-free at 888-894-5309.