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How a Dog Bite Report Can Help Your Claim

By Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie on March 30, 2021

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Just like a car accident, one of the most important things you can do after a dog bite is to report it to the proper authorities. A dog bite report can lend weight to a personal injury claim and help you recover compensation for your medical bills. In addition, Orange County Animal Care needs to log all dog bites in their jurisdiction to track potential rabies infections and identify dangerous dogs in order to prevent future bites.

Orange County Dog Bite Laws

After a dog bite or attack, anyone involved is required to report the incident, as outlined by Orange County Codified Ordinance 4-1-62:

“Any person having knowledge of the location of an animal suspected of having rabies, or of any person having been bitten or scratched by any warm-blooded mammal, or of any signs of disease or unusual behavior in any animal under quarantine, shall immediately report such facts to the Director.”

If you were bitten by a dog in Orange County, you should contact Animal Care at (714) 796-6421 or fill out a dog bite report and fax or email it to the department.

What Does a Dog Bite Report Do?

An official dog bite report with Animal Care can benefit your situation in several ways.

First, the report acts as evidence that a bite occurred and can be used during negotiations with the owner’s insurance company to get compensation for your trauma. It acts in the same way that a police report does after a car accident. Without one, you lack the proper authority to support your claim. However, even if you did not immediately report the attack, you can still do so afterward.

Reporting a dog attack is also important for your health. After Animal Care is notified of an attack, the department will automatically quarantine the dog for at least 10 days. This allows them to evaluate the dog for infectious diseases, including rabies. If the dog shows no signs of rabies, that means it would not have been able to transfer the virus to you. But if the dog was not quarantined and evaluated, you may have had to receive a rabies vaccine (postexposure prophylaxis) to rule out the possibility of an infection.

Lastly, dog bite reports are logged by the county to determine if the dog is potentially dangerous or a vicious animal, which essentially means the animal has a history of harming people. Whether this is due to abuse, poor training, or other negligent ownership, the county may take the dog away from the owner or impose strict regulations to prevent future attacks. By reporting the incident, you set a record for this dog, and owner, that will then be examined by county officials to determine if more action needs to be taken. In addition, if a dog has a history of biting people, then it could support your claim.

As an example, we acted as the attorney in a Los Angeles dog bite case where our client was bitten by a dog, and through the database, it was determined that this dog had bitten others previously. As it turned out, the dog owner lied to our client that his dog had not bitten before. We were able, through the database, to establish that this dog was quite vicious.

In another instance, we had been contacted to represent a resident that was the victim of two attacks by the same dog. Reporting the first attack ensured action on the second attack by the governmental agency.

Filing a Dog Bite Claim

California follows strict liability laws when it comes to dog bites. This means that if a dog bites a person, the owner is automatically liable for the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, this means going up against the owner’s homeowner’s insurance company, which may try to fight your claim. In order to get the money you need to heal after an attack, you should contact an Orange County personal injury attorney at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie.

Our legal team can investigate the dog that attacked you, collect witness statements, speak to Animal Care about the incident, and advocate for your best interests in a personal injury claim. We have more than 45 years of experience and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and jury verdicts for our clients. To speak to our team in a free consultation, call us at (949) 752-7474.

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Posted in: Dog Bites

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