When someone is bitten by a dog in Maryland, it raises questions about health, safety, and legal steps.

One common question is whether doctors must contact animal control about a dog bite attack or submit a dog bite attack report to local health officials.

Dog bites in Maryland

The short answer is “Yes.” Getting bit by a dog is a serious issue in the Old Line State given the number of local rabies treatment areas (where bites often occur).

In fact, the dog bite victim or a doctor should promptly report a dog bite to animal control. Whether the animal bites or scratches the dog bite victim, it’s the law.

What Law Covers Dog Bite Claims in Maryland?

The dog owner is generally responsible for the medical bills related to dog bite injuries. This rule falls under Maryland’s strict liability dog bite law and is typically paid with the owner’s homeowner’s insurance.

Therefore, understanding the protocol after a dog attack is essential for both victims and people who own dog companions as pets.

It’s important victims of dog attacks notify the animal control office of one of the area animal control agencies after an incident.

Notifying the proper authorities at the proper agency also includes filing a police report with the local police.

Reporting a bite incident may lead to filing a claim for personal injury damages as well as a claim for criminal liability.

If your own dog bit someone, a local health officer will usually check your dog’s license, as dogs are considered private property in Maryland. The licensing requirement also makes owners of dogs financially and legally liable.

Types of Bites from Canine Attacks

Bites, which are categorized under six levels, may lead to significant medical treatment issues like rabies vaccinations or antibiotic treatments for infections, especially in rabies areas where bites are common.

These classifications help claimants when reporting insurance information or negotiating a claim for a family member with an insurance company.

Level one and two bites are not considered serious while level three to six bites represent deeper wounds that require emergency room care.

Level six bites may lead to a fatality in rabies area locations.

Legal Requirements for Reporting Dog Bite Incidents

Maryland law about dog bites

Doctors and other medical professionals have specific legal obligations when it comes to reporting an animal attack and bite. Here’s an overview:

  • Mandatory Reporting

Maryland law requires healthcare providers or medical professionals to report dog bites to local health departments. The reporting process helps in monitoring and controlling the spread of diseases like tetanus or rabies, especially in rabies areas.

  • Purpose of Reporting

Reporting helps track potentially dangerous dogs and prevents further biting incidents.

  • What’s Reported

Information typically includes the victim’s contact details, the dog’s description, and the circumstances surrounding the bite.

  • Confidentiality

While reporting is mandatory, patient confidentiality is still maintained according to medical privacy laws. Details, like how many stitches a patient received, are usually not relevant.

Understanding these regulations is important for medical professionals and dog bite victims alike.

This also allows dog bite lawyers to provide an evaluation of those who are legally obligated for a victim’s medical care, including rabies shots.

The at-fault other party may also be financially responsible for lost wages or pain and suffering.

Why Should Medical Doctors Report Dog Bites?

Doctors are required to report dog bites for several important reasons. The primary reason to report dog bites, as noted, is public health. Dog bites can lead to the fatal viral disease, rabies.

By reporting dog bite, especially in rabies area prone locations, doctors help prevent the spread of disease.

Therefore, reporting allows health departments to identify patterns or outbreaks of diseases transmitted through animal bites.

It also helps in educating the public about preventing dog bites and the importance of proper pet vaccinations in the health services and animal services sectors.

Lastly, the monitoring of dangerous dogs, or an animal’s aggressive behavior, is essential for compiling health services reports – reports that provide valuable data.

For example, local authorities may use a dog owner’s information to identify and manage dogs in reported dog bite incidents that may pose a risk of serious injury to the community.

What Happens After a Dog Bite Incident is Reported?

When a doctor reports a dog bite incident, several steps follow:

Investigating Dog Biting Incidents:

  • The obligation to report dog bite incidents allows local health departments to assess the risk of rabies or infections.
  • Reporting dog bite incidents is not taken lightly, as local health authorities might check the dog’s vaccination history and observe the animal for signs of rabies to see if further medical treatment and care are needed.
  • Authorities from animal control or the police department may interview the victim, the victim’s parent, the dog owner, and witnesses to understand the circumstances of the bite.

Dog owner consequences for dog bite incidents

Consequences for the Dog and Its Owner in Dog Bite Incidents

  • The dog may be placed in quarantine to monitor for rabies.
  • The owner might face fines or charges if negligence is found, such as not leashing the dog in a public area.
  • In severe cases, the dog could be deemed a danger and might be humanely euthanized.
  • Owners may be required to pay for the victim’s medical expenses and any other damages.

The report of an animal bite protects both the community at-large and ensures responsible pet ownership, whether you live in Maryland or follow mandatory dog bite reporting rules under California law.

Legal Responsibilities of Owners

Owners have certain responsibilities under the law:

  • Maintaining Control

Pet parents must keep their dogs under control at all times to prevent attacks.

  • Legal Liability

If a dog bites someone, the owner may be held liable for the victim’s medical expenses and pain and suffering.

  • Preventive Measures

In some cases, owners might be required to take preventive measures, such as fencing, leashing, or attending training sessions with their pets.

If a serious dog bite incident is reported, dog owners might face:

  • Investigation

Local authorities may investigate to determine if the dog poses a further risk or if the victim may need to seek medical treatment to prevent tetanus or rabies.

  • Legal Action

Victims may pursue legal action to seek compensation for their injuries and losses.

Reporting dog bites is a critical step in ensuring the safety of victims while highlighting the importance of responsible pet ownership.

The Only Exception to the Dog Bite Report Requirement

The Only Exception to the Dog Bite Report Requirement

In most cases, doctors must report dog bites to local health departments. However, if a victim has a minor scrape and the dog’s vaccination status is current, an exception may be made to the mandatory reporting requirement.

Should All Dog Bites Be Seen by a Doctor?

Because of the risk of infection, you should see a doctor if the bite breaks the skin.

Reporting a Biting Incident

Reporting a dog bite is important to do – for both healthcare providers and victims.

For Healthcare Providers:

  • Document the Injury: Note the extent of the injuries and any treatments provided.
  • Report to the Health Department Locally: Maryland law requires healthcare providers to report animal bites to the local health department promptly.
  • Provide Victim Information: Include details about the victim and the incident for the public health department’s records.

For Victims:

  • Seek Medical Attention: Even if the injury seems minor, it’s essential to get it checked.
  • Report to Animal Control: Contact your local animal control agency to report the wound to a local health officer. Provide details about the canine and the incident.
  • Document Everything: Keep records of your injuries, medical reports, and any communication with doctors or animal control.
  • Contact the Health Department: If the healthcare provider hasn’t already made a report, inform the local health department of the injury.

Reporting a dog bite in Maryland ensures that the proper actions are taken, especially if you were attacked by a dangerous dog or your pet was bitten.

A report needs to be made if future legal actions are taken against a dog’s owner.

Contact the Law Offices of Alex Poberesky, P.A. Now

Don’t try to figure out how to receive compensation for a dog attack by yourself. Contact the Law Offices of Alex Poberesky for a free consultation (410-484-0400) regarding your dog bite case now. Our Pikesville dog bite attorneys in Maryland are here to help you.