Can I Get Emotional Damages From a Dog Bite?

By Greg Kohn

The damages you can pursue after a dog attack will depend on the facts of your situation. If you suffered emotional harm because of the dog bite, you might be able to go after money damages for that harm. Getting bitten by someone else’s dog can be traumatizing, so many people experience emotional distress and other psychological consequences from a dog attack.

It can be challenging to calculate the monetary value of emotional damages, but a New Jersey personal injury attorney can talk to you about your injury claim and advocate for you.

What Kinds of Emotional Damages Can Be Available After a Dog Attack?

Because getting attacked by a dog is a terrifying event, you might suffer mentally for months or even years after the incident. Some of the more common types of emotional harm include:

  • Nightmares, night terrors, and insomnia: Sleep disorders can happen on a frequent basis after someone else’s dog attacks a person. Having nightmares is distressing and emotionally painful. Also, ongoing nightmares can disrupt sleep and the victim’s school or work schedule because of the resulting sleep deprivation. 
  • Panic attacks: Dog bite victims can find their days disturbed without notice when something triggers a panic attack. Merely watching television or scrolling through social media could expose the dog bite victim to images of dogs or other things that can lead to a panic attack.
  • Depression: Depression is a common psychological consequence after a dog bite accident.
  • Anxiety: The subject of a dog attack could feel chronic anxiety about getting attacked again.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Many different kinds of traumatic experiences, including dog bites, can cause a person to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a severe condition that can harm relationships and make daily life unbearable.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: Being afraid to go outdoors and engage in activities like walking in the park or going for a hike, can rob a dog attack victim of enjoyment of life. The person can no longer do things that used to bring the individual joy.
  • Fear of dogs: Many people are afraid of dogs after getting attacked by one. Having a pet can bring happiness and companionship to a person and improve one’s mental health. Losing out on the experience of having a pet is a significant loss.

These examples are but a few of the emotional damages a person might have after getting bitten by someone else’s dog. You might have other emotional consequences in addition to some of these things.

What Types of Non-Emotional Damages Can I Get After a Dog Bite?

People can typically pursue their economic damages, like their medical bills and lost wages that resulted from the injury. Also, you can likely seek to recover compensation for your pain and suffering, disfigurement, and other non-economic damages. A New Jersey personal injury attorney can talk with you about the kinds of money damages that could be available in your situation. You will want to talk with a lawyer before settling your claim to make sure that you do not miss out on the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today for a free consultation.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.