A dog bite or animal attack can not only cause a series of physical injuries but also cause mental trauma and damage. Many people may not consider how devastating the emotional effects of a dog bite can be, especially with children. In this blog post, we’ll review the possibilities for filing a lawsuit for PTSD after a dog bite.

What Is PTSD?

According to the American Psychological Association, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that often follows a traumatic event, serious injury, or threat of death or harm (real or perceived). PTSD is commonly associated with soldiers and military personnel returning home from combat; however, any event in which a person feels physically threatened can cause PTSD symptoms.

In a study published by the National Institutes for Health, researchers found that more than half of child dog bite victims experienced PTSD 2-9 months after the attack. In other words, you’re not alone. Many people, especially children,  who experience the shock, fear and other emotions associated with an animal attack suffer from PTSD.

  • Everyone experiences PTSD differently but some common symptoms include
  • Nightmares or incessant thoughts in which you are re-experiencing the attack
  • Clinging to parents or other caregivers
  • Avoidance of anything related to an animal
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Emotionally numb

Doctors, psychologists or psychiatrists can evaluate symptoms and make an official diagnosis of PTSD. 

Dog Bite Laws: New Jersey vs New York

Your right to sue a dog owner or at-fault party for a dog bite largely depends on the state in which the injuries occurred. 

New Jersey has two legal theories by which dog bite claims can move forward. Under New Jersey’s statute, a dog owner is liable for the harm his or her dog causes, even if this was the dog’s “first bite.” A dog bite victim need only prove that he or she was bitten by a dog and establish to whom the dog belongs. In some cases, a dog bite victim can also sue on the grounds of negligence.

New York, however, has much stricter rules and makes it harder for a dog bite victim to file a lawsuit. In order to file a lawsuit for a dog bite in New York, the dog must be declared “dangerous” and even then, the owner is only liable for medical and veterinary bills. In other words, filing a lawsuit for PTSD after a dog bite in New York would be challenging. 

Compensation for PTSD after a Dog Bite 

Compensation for PTSD in an injury claim falls under non-economic damages, which refer to intangible losses suffered by the injured victim. Non-economic damages don’t have a specific dollar figure attached to them, like medical bills or lost income. They are a form of compensation that accounts for an injured person’s pain, emotional distress, suffering and other similar issues related to an accident. Common kinds of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional distress, impairment or disfigurement.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to assess your case and put a monetary figure to your non-economic damages claim for PTSD. It’s critical to have the expertise of an attorney on your side to handle the demands and negotiations for complex injuries like PTSD.

How to Prove PTSD in a Dog Bite Claim

You and your attorney will need evidence of PTSD and its impact on your life in order to seek and win compensation. It is important to seek medical help if you believe you have psychological trauma. Not only can medical professionals help to alleviate your symptoms, an official PTSD diagnosis can also dramatically improve your chances of obtaining financial compensation for this condition. 

In some cases a diagnosis of PTSD or depression may show what you are going through or the nature of your injuries alone may warrant an award for non-economic damages. Your lawyer may also advise you to keep a journal documenting your pain and experience recovering from your injuries.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

A dog attack can be a traumatic event that can leave lasting physical and mental injuries. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we take the time to listen and understand our clients’ concerns, needs and well-being. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we believe in compassionate client care and honest, straight-forward approach. We are an experienced, passionate law firm that will seek your best outcome so you can focus on your family and recovery. 

When you hire a New Jersey dog bite attorney from our team at Brandon J. Broderick, you pay nothing upfront. We work on contingent fees that are only collected if we win your case. Contact us today and let us turn your setback into a comeback.


Posted by: Brandon J. Bro…
Date: Thu, 05/19/2022 - 17:44

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