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Psychological Damage After a Dog Bite: What Victims Should Know

Long after the physical signs of a personal injury from a dog bite are gone, emotional and psychological complications can remain. Read on for an understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how personal injury attorneys can help victims.

Understanding PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a physiological condition that may develop after an individual has witnessed or experienced a traumatic or terrifying event where there was serious personal injury or the presence of a threat of harm. Long after the traumatic event has occurred, PTSD stays as a last consequence of the ordeal and can cause intense fear, helplessness, or feelings of horror.

PTSD can be brought on by events such as physical or sexual assault, the unexpected death of a family member or loved one, a serious car accident, a dog bite, or natural disasters. For most people who experience any of these events, it is expected that there will be initial feelings related to the event such as shock, anger, anxiety, fear, or even guilt. While these reactions are common, for most people they will fade and go away over time. However, for a person suffering from PTSD these feelings continue and even increase to a point so strong that they prevent the victim from going about their life as intended.

PTSD and Dog Bites

When a person suffers personal injury from a dog bite attack caused by the owner’s negligence, the unexpected and/or severe nature of the event can be very traumatic and trigger symptoms of PTSD. The person may not be able function anywhere that dogs are present. This can have serious implications on the person’s quality of life and inhibit them from socializing, being able to get to work, or otherwise maintain the same standard of living they were used to before the accident occurred.

Recovering Compensation for Non-Physical Personal Injuries

A dog bite victim may be able to recover compensation for mental pain and suffering when the root cause of that pain and suffering is related to a physical personal injury the plaintiff suffered due to the defendant’s negligence. 

It can be much more difficult for victims to recover compensation for purely emotional distress in the absence of any physical pain or injury after an accident. However, if a plaintiff and their legal team can prove that the infliction of emotional distress was intentional and extreme in nature, then there may be a case for pursuing compensation for damages resulting from the emotional distress.

Nevada’s Dog Bite Laws

Nevada state law follows the doctrine known as “one-bite rule” with regards to dog bite attacks in the state.  This law states that the dog owner is liable for any personal injury caused by their dog only if they had reason to believe the dog was dangerous. In many cases, a dog is viewed as dangerous in the eyes of the law if it has previously bitten or been involved in an attack with another person. In other words, once a dog has bitten someone, the owner is liable for any future damages caused by subsequent attacks.

Like many other states, Nevada defines some terms that specify how the one-bite rule should be applied. For instance, it can only be applied in cases where the dog bite victim was not trespassing and was not provoking the dog. In addition, the dog owner must not have intended for the dog to attack the individual.

Professional Legal Counsel in Las Vegas


For years, the attorneys at H&P Law have been helping dog owners and dog bite victims in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada as they navigate the complex legal processes surrounding litigation. Contact H&P Law today for expert insight you can trust.

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