$200,000 Dog Attack – Eye Injury to Minor Plaintiff


Dog Attack

Injuries: Ruptured globe (eyeball) of one-and-half-year-old boy

Amount of Judgment: $200,000

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Ronald E. Gluck Boston, Massachusetts

Details of the Case

A Plymouth County jury awarded Mr. Gluck’s client approximately $200,000 for an injury to his eye which caused hypersensitivity to light.  The incident, which happened when the boy was one-and-half-years-old, occurred when a friend’s dog clawed or bit the boy in the eye, causing a hole which resulted in photophobia (light sensitivity). Typically, cases of this nature are resolved without having to go to trial. However, in this case, the insurance company for the owner of the dog continually minimized the severity of the injury to the victim of this dog attack and made small offers of settlement.   The opportunity for a jury of Plymouth County to award a fair amount for the plaintiff’s damages is exactly the reason that the right to a jury trial is critical to people suffering serious injuries.  The dog owner himself did not challenge the severity of the injury and likely wished that his insurance company would have been fair to the boy who was injured without the case having to go to trial.

Initially, the boy was taken to the hospital where a procedure was done to close the hole. However, due to his young age, the hole could not be completely closed.  The hypersensitivity to light became apparent immediately.  Although the boy adapted to his condition and is able to engage in sports, he does so while squinting. In the years between the injury and the date of the trial the boy attempted to play baseball and other sports during which his light sensitivity was problematic. He wore sunglasses, and after his surgery wore a patch to protect his eye.

Defendants argued that a tinted contact lens would solve the problem, but the jury accepted the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert ophthalmologist that the boy would, nonetheless, always experience some sensitivity to light as he got older.  One item that the jury considered in rendering its verdict was the potential that the boy’s career options would be limited to jobs that did not involve working in the outdoors due to his light sensitivity.  In cases involving children, predicting the affect that injuries will have on their career options and activities can be challenging.  However, jurors are often able to use their common sense in arriving at a fair and reasonable assessment of these damages to arrive at a verdict.

At the time of trial, the boy was ten-years-old and looked perfectly healthy.  However, he testified that although he has learned to deal with his condition he experiences sensitivity to light and feels as if he is always squinting with the injured eye when he is outside. The jury’s award of approximately $200,000.00 was $150,000.00 more than the insurance company’s top offer prior to trial.

For more information on choosing a dog bite or dog attack lawyer, please refer to our page on Personal Injury Caused by a Dog Bite or Dog Attack.