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New Mexico Dog Bite Injuries: An Overview

Dog bites are often unexpected and can cause serious harm, negatively impacting your quality of life. Despite many dog bites being preventable, they happen frequently in New Mexico.

What Causes Dogs to Bite?

Dogs bite for a variety of reasons, but a feeling of fear or threat triggers most incidents. They are often scared or threatened by new people or animals. The dog may think it is protecting itself, its owner, or its belongings. Some dogs bite because they are in pain or ill. Improper socialization and rough play can also lead to unexpected bites.

Types of Dog Bite Injuries

The severity of a dog bite injury can depend on factors like the dog’s size and strength, the bite’s location, and whether the victim received prompt and proper medical treatment. Seeking immediate medical attention is crucial for properly assessing and treating dog bites.

Typical dog bite injuries include, but are not limited to:

Puncture wounds

Holes in the skin caused by the dog’s teeth piercing the flesh. Puncture wounds can be relatively shallow or quite deep, depending on the size and force of the bite.


These are tears or cuts caused by the dog’s teeth. Lacerations can range from minor to severe, with the potential for significant bleeding and infection.

Crush injuries

When a dog bites down with significant force, it can crush the underlying tissues, muscles, tendons, and even bones. This type of injury can lead to severe damage and complications.

Avulsion injuries

In an avulsion, a piece of skin, muscle, or other tissue is wholly or partially torn from the body. This is a serious injury that requires prompt medical treatment.


Dog bites carry a high risk of bacterial infection due to the bacteria in a dog’s mouth. Infections can range from mild skin infections to life-threatening systemic infections.

Nerve damage

Bites near nerve endings can result in temporary or permanent nerve damage, leading to numbness, tingling, or loss of function in the affected area.

Psychological trauma

Dog bite victims, especially those who experience a child dog bite injury, may develop lasting emotional and psychological impacts such as fear, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dog Attack Statistics

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States every year. Approximately 800,000 require medical attention.

The National Library of Medicine indicates that as many as 50 people in the U.S. die from dog bites each year.

The most common dog bite victims are children, according to the National Library of Medicine. Over 70% of bites in children under 4 were sustained on the head or neck region. More boys are injured each year than girls.

The average cost of a hospital stay related to dog bites is $18,200, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Additionally, dog bites are four times more common in rural areas than urban areas.

Long-Term Effects of Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bites can have many long-term effects that impact the quality of your life. Both physical and mental effects can affect you negatively for the rest of your life.

Deep puncture wounds and severe bites to visible areas, such as the head, face, and hands, can result in scarring and disfigurement. Nerve damage and chronic pain can last for years in the affected areas, leading to functional impairment at work, school, and in everyday activities.

The psychological effects of dog bites are often the worst part. PTSD, anxiety, and depression are difficult to manage. They usually require intense counseling, therapy, and psychotropic medications. In some extreme cases, dog bite victims suffer from cynophobia, or a fear of all dogs.

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What to Do After a Dog Bite Injury?

If you are wondering what to do after a dog bite in New Mexico, here are some steps you can take:

Get Immediate Medical Care – If you are not bleeding severely, you should clean the wound with soap and water and place pressure on it to stop mild bleeding.

Emergency Medical Treatment – You should go to an urgent care, emergency room, or doctor to get medical treatment that can stop severe bleeding and obtain antibiotics to prevent infections.

Report to Animal Control – You should report the dog bite incident to your local animal control agency. If you’re unsure who to call, contact your local police department on their non-emergency line.

Preserve Evidence – Take photos of your injuries, the dog who bit you, the owner, the location, and anything else relevant to the bite. Keep medical records, dog bite medical bills, and any items damaged during the attack.

Identify the Dog Owner – Dealing with the dog owner after the attack can be complex. They may deny any wrongdoing and try to blame you. Try to obtain their name, address, and other contact information. If you cannot, try to get a picture of them and their dog so the police can identify them.

Witness Statements – Obtain witness statements about what happened during the dog bite incident. These will be used to support your claim later.

Consult a LawyerContact a New Mexico dog bite attorney as soon as possible. Witness memories fade, and evidence can disappear quickly. It’s important to begin gathering information to support your case quickly.

NM Dog Bite Laws & Options After a Dog Bite Injury

You might have many questions about which New Mexico laws apply to your legal situation. A New Mexico dog bite attorney can help you understand.

Dog Bite Liability & Fault

Many intricate personal injury laws apply to dog bite injuries. Which of those apply to your case, and how can you use them to get the money you need to recover?

New Mexico has no traditional One Bite Law that gives owners a free pass on their dog’s first bite. The Court requires you to prove that the dog owner knew of at least one incident in which their dog bit someone. You may also prove that the owner should have known the dog might hurt someone, such as if the dog acted dangerous in the past.

When a dog owner’s negligence is the cause of an attack and injury, then the owner doesn’t need to have known of the dog’s vicious demeanor. For example, if a dog owner knows their dog jumps on people when they meet them and allows it to knock over a small child, then the owner can be held strictly liable for the injury.

The Rights of the Injured Party in New Mexico Dog Bite Cases

You can usually file a premises liability claim against the dog owner if a dog bite injures you. If the incident occurred on the dog owner’s property or their homeowner’s insurance covers dog bites, you can claim their insurance company. However, it’s essential to know that if you were trespassing or provoking the dog, you may be held partially or fully liable for your damages.

If a dog fatally injures your loved one, you should immediately contact a wrongful death lawyer for dog bites. You may be able to file a claim on behalf of your loved one and their family.

It’s important to seek legal counsel from a trusted dog bite law firm in Albuquerque to navigate the complexities of dog bite injury claims.

Damages & Compensation for a Dog Bite Injury

After you prove liability, you may file a dog bite lawsuit in NM to help you get the maximum amount of damages possible. An animal attack lawyer in Albuquerque can ensure you consider all aspects of your losses to get a fair settlement.

What are Dog Bite Injuries Worth?

There are multiple types of damages you might get in a dog bite case. The exact amount you can recover depends on the severity of your injuries and the insurance coverage or other resources available to make a claim.

  • Economic Damages include direct monetary losses like medical bills, lost wages, and any other expenses incurred because of your injuries, such as help with meal preparation, housekeeping, or childcare.
  • Non-Economic Damages – This includes less tangible losses, such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. While non-economic damages are not directly related to monetary loss, they often make up a large part of your recovery.
  • Punitive Damages – Although rarely awarded, the court might impose punitive damages to punish the dog owner if they knew or should have known their dog was dangerous. For example, if you get a dog bite from an aggressive breed that has bitten in the past, you might get punitive damages.

Living with a Dog Bite Injury

Living with a dog bite injury can be a challenging experience, requiring patience and dedication to healing. The recovery process can take weeks, months, or even longer, depending on the severity of the bite. You should expect initial treatment, pain management, and ongoing care. Both physical and emotional rehabilitation is often required.

Support & Resources after a Dog Bite

It’s essential to have a strong support system after a severe injury like a dog bite. You should reach out to family and friends during this time. You can also work with a dog injury lawyer in NM to find other resources. The New Medical Department of Health has information about dog bite recovery.

Get Full Compensation to Cover Damages

Ensuring you get sufficient compensation to cover all aspects of your recovery and adaptation to life after a dog bite is vital. You should not accept the first insurance offer after a dog bite. It will not be enough to cover all your damages.

Instead, contact an Albuquerque dog bite lawyer to determine what you need to move forward.

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Dog Bite Injuries FAQs

Do I need a lawyer for a minor dog bite?

You need to see a doctor for even the most minor dog bites. Dog mouths are full of bacteria and can easily cause infections. Since you will have medical bills, you should consult with a dog bite lawyer who can help you determine how much your dog bite case is worth.

What if the dog owner has no insurance?

You can file a dog bite lawsuit against the dog owner regardless of whether they have insurance. You can take them to court, hold them personally responsible for their dog’s behavior, and get the compensation they deserve.

What if an aggressive breed bit me?

While some breeds tend to bite more often than others, the statistics might surprise you. Small breeds, such as chihuahuas, are often more vicious than other breeds considered “aggressive.” However, if you were bitten by a dog that is known to be vicious or that has bitten before, you can sue the owner to get compensation for your damages.

For Legal Help After a Dog Bite, Get The Law Giant

If you or a loved one suffered a severe injury in a dog attack, you need strong legal support. Dog bites are costly, painful, and recoveries can take a long time. Don’t risk losing out on what you need by accepting a low-ball offer.

At The Law Giant Injury Lawyers, our Albuquerque personal injury attorneys have helped many people with life-changing injuries get the compensation they need and deserve. We provide compassionate, personalized, aggressive representation and hold big insurance companies accountable.

To protect your rights after a dog attack, call the Law Giant Injury Lawyers at 505-900-0000 or contact us online for a 100% free case evaluation. There are no upfront costs, and we’re only paid when you recover compensation.