When a dog attack occurs, many people are concerned with the laceration and scarring that is obvious from the bite. However, there are deeper concerns than just the superficial wound. Many times there is serious damage to the nerves, especially in the hands and fingers. This nerve damage can leave permanent injuries, including loss of sensation or movement and in extreme situations, even the loss of a limb or digit.
How Nerve Damage Occurs to When Dogs Bite
Dogs have a tremendous amount of jaw strength that was originally in their ancestors designed to tear flesh and even break bones. Unfortunately, when a dog attack happens, these tools that were made to bring down prey in the wild are now being used on a human. A large dog can have 200 pounds of pressure per square inch in their jaw, plenty of strength to crush, tear and even break a human hand. When a dog bites, the skin, flesh and bone may be crushed or lacerated, along with the nerves just under the skin. Nerve damage can happen in one of two ways in a dog attack. They can be crushed during a dog bite, whether the skin is broken or not. They can also be severed, which is the worst case scenario. Depending on the extent of the damage, in some cases they can be repaired with therapy or even surgery.
Treating Nerve Damage Sustained in Dog Attacks
Nerves serve as message carriers to and from the brain. They let us know when we touch something, detecting pressure, temperature and pain. They also tell the muscles what we want them to do. When nerve damage occurs, it can weaken or eliminate these messages, causing numbness, loss of sensation and even loss of movement. There are three levels of nerve damage:
- Neurapraxia. This is the most minor type of nerve damage. In this case, the nerves are still intact but have been crushed or injured. In most cases the damage will heal over the following days, sometimes taking several weeks.
- Axonotmesis. The 2nd most severe type of nerve damage is similar to neurapraxia, in that the nerves are still intact. However in axonotmesis, the nerves are more severely crushed and in some cases stretched. This can result in loss of sensation and even movement. The prognosis is still fairly good, although it may take months and even years of therapy to regain full use again.
- Neurotmesis. When the nerve is badly damaged by crushing, stretching or laceration, the damage is often permanent unless repaired. Neurotmesis has a poor prognosis of full recovery. Treatment includes immobilizing the area, surgery to repair the nerves and possible later reconstructive surgery if the nerve repair is unsuccessful.
For victims of dog bites, the most common concern in nerve damage is loss of sensation or movement in the fingers and hands. This can greatly impact the persons ability to work as well as effect their daily routines and quality of life. Even with surgery, in severe nerve damage it is unlikely that the person will restore full sensation to the affected area. The recovery process is long and can be extremely expensive.
Attorneys Fighting For Compensation For People Who Have Nerve Damage Sustained In Dog Bite Attacks
Victims of dog bites may have many injuries to recover from, including lacerations, fractures, infections and nerve damage, along with the emotional trauma and physical scars. The medical expenses can be extreme, causing financial hardship on the victim and their family. Nerve damage may take years to recover from, often only partially, and requires extensive medical treatment. If you or someone in your family has been the victim of a dog attack, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. Chicago Dog Bite Attorneys can fight for you to receive a financial recovery of lost wages, medical costs and even awards for pain and suffering. We want to meet with you free of charge to discuss your situation. Our services are free unless we obtain a financial award for you in your case. Resources related to nerve damage repair and treatment: