Every year, dog bite injuries harm nearly 4.5 million Americans. These attacks often result in severe injury that requires urgent medical care. And as traumatic and painful as these injuries can be, they aren’t the only concern with dog bites. Every dog bite carries a serious risk of infection, which can spread through the body and cause considerable secondary health problems.

In Idaho, dog attack victims can file legal action to recover damages from the animal’s owner for their injuries, subsequent infection and other complications.

Common Dog Bite Injuries

A large percentage of canine bites cause injuries to the hands and arms, due to the victim either reaching out to the dog or shielding themselves from the attack. With children — who account for over half of all canine bite victims — head, facial and neck injuries are common, as their smaller stature puts them in close proximity to the animal’s mouth.

Dog bites usually result in lacerations and puncture wounds, but they also can cause broken bones. Severe bites may involve significant damage to the structures beneath the skin, including muscles and nerves. Attacks can, in some cases, cause permanent scarring, disfigurement or even disability.

Infections Resulting from Bites

Though many people believe that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s, that’s a myth. A dog’s mouth is host to many potentially dangerous types of bacteria. When a dog bites, infectious pathogens such as Staphylococcus and Streptococcus can be transmitted. Infection can also occur when environmental bacteria gets inside a wound during or after an attack.

Tetanus, a debilitating nerve disease caused by a bacteria found in soil, is another common occurrence. Rabies can also be transmitted through a bite, especially if the animal has not been inoculated against the disease. The risk of developing an infection from bite wounds is greatest for punctures and wounds to upper extremities.

Seeking Damages for Your Injuries

In Idaho, dog bite lawsuits must be filed within two years of the injury. Comparative negligence is also a factor. This means that a percentage of fault for the incident may be assigned to the victim, and if it is 50 percent or higher, the victim may not be able to recover damages.

To prove a dog owner liable for an attack, it is necessary to show that the owner knew the animal was aggressive, dangerous or likely to bite. The owner may be held responsible if he or she neglected to use reasonable care in controlling the animal, especially if it has attacked or bitten anyone in the past.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or infection resulting from a dog bite, an experienced attorney can help recover damages for medical expenses as well as pain and suffering. Contact the professionals at Montgomery Dowdle Law Offices in Boise, Idaho, for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your dog bite injuries.