German Shepherd Bites - Shuman Legal

German Shepherd Bites

Last updated Thursday, November 9th, 2023

German Shepherd Bites

Injured by a Dog? Find Out How to Get Compensated For Your Pain and Suffering

Dog attacks can happen unpredictably and leave you traumatized long after your injury. They usually happen in a flash. Our reflexes are no match for the aggressive instinct of a dog. And if it’s a large dog like a German shepherd, these bites can be fatal. These injuries are painful to bear and are often accompanied by the risk of scarring and infections.

Many victims report being unable to share the same room with a dog after suffering a bite. They steer clear of footpaths when there’s a dog walking past them. So it can have strong physical and psychological effects on their well-being.

Owning a dog is more than a hobby. It’s an important responsibility for them to protect the well-being of their pet and those who interact with it. You can legally demand compensation for your damages if their neglect led to the dog bite incident.

In this article, we’ll decode some important dog bite statistics, German Shepherd dog attacks, dog aggression and reasons for biting, child dog bite law in Illinois and dealing with liable parties.

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Dog Bite Statistics

There are over 4.7 million dog bite incidents occurring every year. One in five victims requires emergency medical treatment. Although most of these injuries aren’t fatal for adults, children aren’t that lucky. Children from the age of five to nine are the biggest victims of fatal dog bites. Dog bites are one of the leading causes of ER room visits for children in this age group.

Nearly 50 percent of dog bite injuries occur on the arms and hands. The puncture wound may depend on the dog breed and the fierceness of the bite.

The number of incidents has been steadily increasing because pets have become an important member of family structures today. That brings an important responsibility on families to socialize and train them properly.

Most people blame stray animals for these incidents, but they only cause around 15 percent of bite injuries. The rest of the cases are all related to owner negligence.

Here are some of the breeds that cause the greatest number of bite injuries:

  • Pitbulls
  • Rottweilers
  • German Shepherd dogs
  • Huskies
  • Malamute
  • Doberman Pincher

German Shepherd Dog Attacks

German Shepherds are one of the most fiercely loyal dogs beloved by families. They are large dogs who were originally bred as sheep herding dogs. Their sharp senses, intelligence, and raw power make them fit for guarding homes from trespassers or assisting the police.

They have strong protective instincts that need to be nurtured properly to ensure their fierceness doesn’t go out of control. So it would help if you gave them a disciplined socialization and protection training program while raising them.

An untrained German Shepherd is not just a danger for strangers, but for your loved ones too.

There are three common types of German Shepherd bites:

Guiding nips – Dogs will do their best to double up as babysitters to keep children out of harm’s way. They try to gently use their jaw to hold the child back or push him to the side. Children may feel alarmed when they do this and hastily withdraw their hands from the dog’s mouth. They end up getting injured due to this panicked response.

Grab-and-drag nips– This is a more aggressive protective instinct when the dog senses sudden and extreme danger. They may firmly clamp their jaws on your hands or legs to alert you and push you away from danger.

Aggressive bites – German Shepherds will initially bark or growl to force any threatening presence to retreat. However, they will use their full power to bite you to defend their territory. These bites may turn out to be fatal if the dog’s intent is to kill or maim.

Dog Aggression and Reasons for Biting

Reading aggression in a human is far more complicated than reading it in a dog. Animals aren’t great at hiding their instincts like us.

It’s a must for animal owners to know their dog’s behavior to take pre-emptive action when they sense fear and aggression. But it’s also good for you to watch out for these signs to stay away from them when dogs are fearful, distressed, possessive, aggressive, frustrated, sick, or playful.

German Sheppard sitting in a forest of IllinoisHere are some signs of aggression to watch out for before an attack happens:

  • Standing their ground in a highly rigid posture
  • Holding onto direct eye contact extensively
  • Flattening the ears against the head
  • Continuously growling
  • Barking in a warning tone
  • Snarling
  • Baring their teeth
  • Lunging or snapping at you without making contact
  • Giving a warning bite that doesn’t break your skin
  • Biting with enough force to leave a mark on your skin

Here are some common types of aggression exhibited by dogs:

  • Dominance aggression
  • Defensive aggression
  • Territorial aggression
  • Predatory aggression
  • Pain-elicited aggression
  • Punishment-elicited aggression
  • Redirected aggression

Child Dog Bite Law in Illinois

Any injury caused by a dog’s teeth piercing or tearing someone’s skin is classified as a dog bite injury. Even if they scratch or knock you over without biting, the dog owner can still be held liable for your injuries.

Illinois has established a strict liability law for all dog bite incidents. The owner will be directly responsible for the damages caused by their dog. Even if they had no knowledge of the dog’s tendencies, they would still be held liable.

However, this excludes certain instances such as:

  • The injured party was trespassing on the dog owner’s property
  • They were teasing the dog
  • They were tormenting and abusing the dog

Children under the age of seven are afforded special protection if they’ve suffered a dog bite injury.

Responsible Parties for Dog Bites

If the victim was in a place where they were legally permitted to be and didn’t do anything to provoke the dog, the owner is held liable for any injuries. Their homeowners’ insurance will cover the losses suffered by the victim. Landlords may potentially be held liable too if they are aware of a dangerous dog on their property.

Children love growing up with animals, but it’s the parents raising them both. So it’s their responsibility to train their dog and supervise their children properly. What happens if a dog attacks you while under the care of someone other than the owner? The owner may still be held liable for your damages. However, you can also file a claim against the dog sitter’s insurance if their neglectful actions led to the dog attack.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if my child is bitten by a dog in Illinois?

Here are some important steps to take if your child is bitten by a dog:

  • Ensure your child is in a safe space away from the dog
  • Assess the injury and try to clean the wound
  • Take pictures of the place where the attack took place
  • Exchange important details with the dog owner
  • Get your child medical attention and begin their treatment right away
  • Consult a reputed Illinois dog bite injury lawyer

Does the breed of the dog matter in liability cases?

No. However, if the dog who injured you has hurt others and has been classified as a dangerous dog in Illinois, the owner may have to face greater legal action.

How can dog owners prevent dog bites?

Here are some essential steps all dog owners must take to prevent dog bites:

  • Schedule regular visits to the vet for your dog
  • Observe your dog’s triggers when it responds to different situations
  • Hire a professional dog trainer
  • Ensure you or your family members are supervising your dog around others
  • Socialize your dog with other friends and animals so that they get comfortable

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