Dogs of any breed may bite, especially if the circumstances cause them to feel in some way threatened, territorial, or in pain. Although dogs of any size, breed, or temperament could cause serious injuries when they do bite, the data shows that certain breeds are overrepresented in human fatalities arising out of dog bites. Homeowners insurance companies may even exclude from liability coverage certain breeds and types of dogs. The Doberman Pinscher is one dog breed for which bite fatality data, bite force, insurance company bans, and other factors point to a complicated reputation when it comes to biting humans.
The dog bite attorneys at Console & Associates, P.C. have helped NJ victims of Doberman pinscher dog bites recover the compensation they deserve for decades. The free consultation and our attorneys handle cases on a no-win, no-fee basis. To have your case evaluated at no cost today, just call (866) 778-5500 today.
The American Kennel Club characterizes Doberman pinschers as both protective watchdogs and affectionate family dogs. These medium-to-large dogs can stand up to 28 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh as much as 100 pounds. The breed originated in Germany in the late 1800s, bred for protection by tax collector Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, according to the American Kennel Club. Because Dobermann bred the dog specifically to protect him, the breed was developed to emphasize strength, intelligence, and, in the words of the American Kennel Club, an “unflappable temperament for… perilous work.”
The Doberman pinscher breed has a long working history as both a military and police dog. The Doberman was established as the“official War Dog” of the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II and performed search-and-rescue work following the 9/11 World Trade Center collapse. Today, however, Doberman pinschers are more commonly found as family pets than as police and military working dogs. The American Kennel Club ranked Doberman pinschers as the 16th most popular breed of dogs in the United States as of 2021.
Like Pit bulls and Rottweilers, Doberman pinschers are considered one of the “primary offenders,” or dog breeds most commonly excluded from coverage by insurance policies, Forbes reported. In fact, when Forbes analyzed the dog liability coverage policies in place at 42 homeowners insurance companies in 2022, 100% of the insurance companies Forbes evaluated listed Doberman pinschers on their “banned breeds” lists.
Doberman pinschers have been characterized as “breeds identified as higher risk” for inflicting serious dog bite injuries multiple times during the last half-century, including from 1974 through 1975 (by animal control services in the state of Maryland) and from 1990 through 1993 (in Australia, based on hospital records), the American Veterinary Medical Association reported.
Dogs of all breeds can bite humans—and cause severe or even life-threatening injuries—when they feel threatened, territorial, afraid, angry, or in pain. Dog bites to humans, whether involving Dobermans or other breeds of dogs, can often occur when a dog misinterprets human behaviors and reacts with unwarranted aggression.
It isn’t only how frequently a breed of dog bites that matters when it comes to causing significant injuries, but also the force of the dog’s bite. After all, only about one in five dog bite incidents necessitates medical care, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Harder dog bites pose a greater likelihood of causing an injury serious enough to require medical intervention, affect the victim’s life in significant ways, or even prove fatal.
The strength or force of a dog’s bite is measured in PSI, or pounds per square inch. The greater the measurement of pounds per square inch, the harder the dog breed’s bite. With a bite force of 245 PSI, the Doberman ranks 16th on the Pet Comments list of dog breeds with the strongest bites and second on Hundeo’s dog bite force list.
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Medical bills, lost wages, diminished future earning capacity, and physical and emotional pain and suffering are some of the damages that most commonly accompany a Doberman pinscher dog bite. Claims for serious dog bite injuries often bring about settlements worth tens of thousands of dollars, and claims involving the most severe dog bites and attacks have ended in settlements in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars or even upwards of a million dollars.
The financial costs of a dog bite can quickly add up. You will likely incur bills for emergency room visits, hospitalizations, diagnostic testing, outpatient physician and specialist appointments, surgeries and other procedures, medications, and physical and occupational therapy. Cases involving particularly serious dog bite injuries can result in brain or spinal cord damage, limb amputations, and severe scarring that affects your mobility as well as appearance. Being the victim of a serious dog bite can affect victims psychologically, too, and you may need psychotherapy and other interventions to help you work through this traumatic experience.
Often, dog bite victims miss work due to their physical limitations and the medical care they require. This loss of income adds to the financial hardships they face. If a dog bite leaves you with lifelong injuries, you may require continuing medical care and face diminished future earning potential based on your ongoing limitations.
Fortunately, New Jersey has in place a strict liability law that holds dog owners legally accountable for the harm their dog causes, even if the dog in question has no history of biting. Dog bite victims can seek compensation from the dog’s owner, most commonly through homeowners insurance, renters insurance, canine liability insurance, or umbrella insurance policies.
In 2021, New Jersey had the ninth-highest number of dog bite claims filed among all states in the U.S., with 611 claims reported. The average cost of dog bite claims in NJ that year was $49,981, according to the Insurance Information Institute. All told, dog bite victims in New Jersey received a combined total of $30.5 million in compensation in 2021.
If you have been bitten by a Doberman in NJ, there are three steps you need to take as soon as possible: