Last Updated: 10/5/2023

Dog attacks are traumatic experiences that can have lasting physical and emotional repercussions. In cases of dog bite disfigurement, the resulting emotional and psychological effects can affect the victim’s life and impair normal daily function.

The Effects of Dog Bite Disfigurement

When someone is disfigured from a dog bite – particularly if it affects the most visible areas of the body, such as the face, hands, and arms – the victim might feel embarrassment and avoid social situations. Disfigurement can cause victims to become self-conscious. They might receive stares and frequently may field questions about their disfigurement. As such, victims might feel alienated and may experience varying degrees of social impairment.

In 2003, researchers at the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England published a report in the journal Body Image explaining that people with disfigurements often have negative self-perceptions and difficulties with social interactions. This may “frequently involve spirals of negative emotions (e.g., social anxiety), maladaptive thought processes (e.g., fear of negative social evaluation), unfavorable self-perceptions (e.g., lowered self-esteem and unfavorable body image), and negative behavior patterns (e.g., excessive social avoidance).”

Treatments for Emotional Injuries Related to Dog Bite Disfigurement

Disfiguring injuries from a dog bite can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological and emotional disorders that require on-going treatments. Treatments may include the following.

  • cognitive techniques.
  • psychotherapy.
  • psychosocial interventions.
  • physiotherapy.
  • speech therapy.
  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).
  • counseling.
  • lifestyle changes.
  • and, medications.

“Survivors of physically disfiguring trauma, regardless of the cause, have experienced a series of assaults on the mind as well as on the body that present extraordinary challenges to human resilience,” explains Patricia Blakeney, Ph.D., and Daniel Creson, M.D., Ph.D., in a 2002 report in The Journal of ERW and Mine Action. They later explain, “They must find new identities to fit new body images. Whether for young children or for adults, this process is complex and arduous.”

Compensation for Emotional Damages Related to Dog Bite Disfigurement

Disfiguring injuries can impact a victim’s life in many ways. The social phobias that may develop can prevent a person from functioning normally and from returning to work. Victims’ personalities will be altered, their relationships can be affected and their sense of well-being can be shattered.

Financially speaking, dog bite injuries can cause great hardship. Victims with severe disfiguring injuries from a dog bite have substantial medical bills, not to mention costly psychological treatments. Furthermore, if they are temporarily or permanently disabled, the loss of income and benefits could put the family in great financial distress.

Iowa Statutes § 351.28 stipulate that dog owners are liable for any damages their dog causes. This includes physical, financial and emotional damages. If you or a loved one suffered damages in a dog bite attack, speak to an attorney about filing a claim. The dog owner should have to foot the bill for all your injury-related damages after a dog attack.

Speak to an Attorney in Iowa at Walker, Billingsley & Bair

To speak with a dog bite lawyer, contact Walker, Billingsley & Bair to schedule an appointment. Contact us at 888-436-9979 so we can review your case and help you take action to pursue damages, including those 

Corey Walker
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With over 25 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.