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Compensation for Eye Injuries

The impact of an eye injury

A person’s eyesight is such an important part of who they are that any problem affecting it can be extremely upsetting. Many people find that their vision naturally gets worse over time and simply accept this as part of getting older, while others might suffer from conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts or glaucoma. Conditions like these can often be treated if they’re diagnosed in time, and prescription glasses or contact lenses can help you to get on with your day-to-day life.

But if you’ve suffered from an eye injury which has had a serious effect on your eyesight, we know that this is likely to have stopped you being able to live your normal life, enjoy social situations and might even have affected your career.

If your eye damage was caused by someone else’s negligence, then this can feel especially unfair. In these cases, you may be able to make a no win no fee compensation claim to help cover the costs and impact that the accident has had on your life.

DID YOU KNOW: Claims for compensation can be launched against an individual, employer or another third party.

Making a compensation claim for an eye injury

Making a compensation claim for an eye injury can be a long and complex process, which is why it’s important to only ever try to make a claim with the help of a professional personal injury lawyer.

If you’ve been in an accident that happened because somebody else was negligent or careless, then you have every right to be paid compensation. Not only will this mean that you’ll get official recognition of the pain and suffering you’ve had to go through, it will also help to make sure that your finances aren’t affected by the injury – now, and in the future.

For example, in the case of a severe or total loss of sight, your compensation could help to cover the cost of your care needs in the future, or things such as loss of earnings (including future earnings) and also any adaptations you might need to make to your home as a result on the injury.

DID YOU KNOW: If you injure your eye in a public place, any claim of negligence is made against the owner, or occupier, of that space.

Types of eye injuries

When it comes to making a claim, the causes of eye injuries usually fall into two main categories:

1) Accidental – incidents which occur in the work place, while playing sport, or as a result of a road traffic accident or any other accident.

2) Medical – an eye injury which was caused by medical negligence. This could be a botched surgery, a failure to spot a condition, prescription of the wrong medicine or anything else which shows that your medical care fell below the expected standard.

Eye injuries caused by accidents

The person or organisation who you’re making the claim against will vary depending on your particular case.

If you’ve been injured at work, then your case will be made against your employer – for example they may have failed to provide protective eyewear. Workers are protected by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 which sets out the rules an employer is expected to follow to make sure their staff are as safe as possible.

If your eyes are injured in a road traffic accident, then your claim will be made against the responsible driver.

DID YOU KNOW: A road accident claim can be made even if the driver who caused the injury can’t be traced.

No matter what caused your accident, the more information you can present to your personal injury lawyer, the greater your chance of success. For example, this could include photographs of the scene of the accident, police reports, medical records, entries in any workplace accident book, accounts from witnesses, any CCTV footage, and financial records to keep track of expenses caused by your injury.

Eye injuries caused by medical negligence

Medical negligence claims are often quite complicated, which means they can sometimes take longer than other cases.

Whether your eyes were injured following treatment at a major eye hospital, a private clinic or a high street optician – if you’ve suffered medical negligence, then you’ve been badly let down by people you entrusted with one of the most delicate and valuable parts of your body, and have every right to make a compensation claim.

DID YOU KNOW: There is normally a three year time limit to make a claim for compensation, but in cases of medical negligence, the three years start from the date when the negligence became apparent.

We know it can sometimes be difficult for you to know whether you can make a case for medical negligence. The best way to find out is to speak to a legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438, but the general rule is that you might be able to claim if the following applies:

You may also be able to make a claim if you weren’t been fully informed of the risks of your eye treatment. This type of negligence is sometimes seen in cases of laser eye surgery or botched cosmetic treatments.

What is the process of making an eye injury claim?

The first step is to talk to a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. They’ll be able to quickly let you know whether they think you have a claim and can pass you on to a specialist personal injury solicitor to start your case.

Your solicitor will answer any questions and can talk you through the process in a bit more detail. They’ll also be able to help you gather the evidence you need to give you the best possible chance of winning your case. Throughout your case they’ll be able to do most of the work for you, so you’ll have the time to focus on your recovery – safe in the knowledge that you’re in good hands.

Most personal injury claims are made using a pre-action protocol – a special procedure devised by the Ministry of Justice which sets standards and procedures that parties to a personal injury claim should observe before formal court proceedings are issued. The type of protocol used would depend on how your injury was sustained.

What if the accident that caused my eye injury was partly my fault?

Even if the injury you suffered was partly your fault you may still be able to make a claim for compensation, as long as someone else’s negligence was partly to blame too. This is known as ‘contributory negligence’ – and if it’s found that you’re partially responsible for your injury, then you might still receive compensation, though it will be reduced according to how much the judge thinks the accident was your fault.

What happens if the person who caused my eye injury denies it was their fault?

Your specialist personal injury solicitor will work hard to get you the full amount of compensation you deserve as quickly as possible, but if the other side deny liability, or if your claim is particularly complex or serious, then your case may need to go to court. Your solicitor will make sure your case is as strong as possible before this happens and will be with you through the entire process, offering advice and speaking on your behalf. The judge will hear from both sides and will decide who was to blame based on the evidence they hear.

My eye injury was caused by medical negligence – should I make a complaint?

If your injury was caused by an NHS medical professional, then it can be a good idea to go through the NHS’s complaints procedure before you make a compensation claim. The complaints procedure isn’t a way of claiming compensation, its aim is to identify problems and stop them happening in the future. Under the NHS constitution you have the right when you make a complaint to have it thoroughly investigated and be informed of the conclusion of any investigation – so it can be a useful way of discovering what happened and can give you stronger evidence when it comes to making your claim.

How much compensation will I receive?

The amount of compensation you’ll receive will depend on how serious your eye injury is, your expected recovery time and how it has affected your life – in particularly severe cases it could run to hundreds of thousands of pounds. For example, your solicitor will take into consideration:

  • Your pain and suffering
  • Any loss of earnings – for example, due to time away from work – including future earnings if you can’t return to work
  • Additional medical treatment or rehabilitation
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Any adaptations you’ve had to make to your home

When putting together your case, your solicitor will work hard to understand the full impact your injury has had on you and your loved ones. They’ll then gather evidence to make sure you receive the right amount of compensation to reflect this.

About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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