Our eyesight is precious; an integral part of who we are. It is our means of reading, how we observe people and objects and the whole world around us; colours and spatial awareness – and even how we visually read people’s and animals’ emotions.
It is inconceivable for sighted people to even contemplate how they would react if they were to experience full or partial blindness, whether because of a head injury caused by a road traffic accident, failures in medical treatment or employer negligence. So if you lose your sight, whether gradually or suddenly, it can be very upsetting.
Our eyes do naturally change as we grow older – it is normal to become long sighted and there is an increasing risk of glaucoma and cataracts. Fortunately, help is available in the UK to deal with changes in eyesight and treatment for more serious age- and illness-related eyesight problems. But loss of sight as a result of injury or medical negligence is a different ballgame – no one should be put at risk of eye damage and loss of sight as a result of someone else’s negligence.
If you’re experiencing temporary or permanent loss of vision and it was someone else’s fault, it’s wise to consider making a loss of sight claim. If you’ve not already seen your doctor, it is vital to your claim that you do as soon as possible.
The reality is, loss of sight is devastating and can take a long time to adapt to what is undoubtedly a new and challenging way of living. Whether you have lost your sight completely or partially, life may never be the same again. Thankfully, complete loss of sight after brain injury is rare.
If you are suffering loss of vision following an injury, you should be able to claim compensation to help you on the long road to recovery if someone else was to blame. You can contact a legally-trained advisor now, for a free consultation on 0800 234 6438 or go to our online claim form here and request a call back for free legal advice.
With the support of specialist solicitors experienced in personal injury claims, you can take the first steps to making a successful claim for loss of sight compensation.
If you have suffered blindness or loss of vision through no fault of your own, this is often known as ‘accidental blindness’. While many of us may experience a very gradual deterioration of our eye sight as we reach the wrong side of 50 (or much later, if you’re fortunate), unexpectedly suffering blindness following an accident or poor workplace conditions can be extremely painful and traumatic. If, for example, you’ve suffered multiple injuries in a no fault accident, including a sight injury, you can bring a head injury / loss of sight personal injury claim against the person at fault.
There are different causes of accidental loss of sight. The most common causes are head and eye injuries, workplace injuries and medical negligence; but accidental blindness can also result from falling loads in supermarkets, penetration injuries, a road traffic accident and scalds in restaurants – and even where the injury occurred by tripping accidents in public places.
Even relatively minor accidents can lead to permanent loss of vision and blindness and individuals should be able to bring compensation claims against those responsible.
Vision loss can be mild, amounting to a minor impairment that may right itself; or it can be life shattering. Blindness can lead to the loss of your job and career, profoundly impact on your family and social life and shatter your self-confidence. It is only fair that if your sight loss is the direct result of someone else’s negligence, you should be able to recover blindness compensation to reflect the harm and distress you have suffered and continue to experience.
You can claim compensation for a minor eye injury which has resulted in mild and temporary vision loss, whether it affected one or both eyes. A serious injury that has led to severe, permanent loss such as long term blindness in either or both eyes will deserve significant compensation.
The most important step you can make is to call our phone number on 0800 234 6438 if you have suffered eye injuries and loss of sight caused by a someone else’s negligence. Trained legal advisers are available to guide you through the process of claiming a loss of sight compensation payout. You can also contact us using our online claim form and ask for a call back.
Personal injury lawyers help those who have lost all or some of their vision in securing maximum compensation by bringing no win no fee claims under a conditional fee agreement. Solicitors and their law firm are authorised and robustly regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to make accident claims for injured people.
Your specialist personal injury solicitor will explain the no win no fee injury claim process; and take details about the incident and the impact on you and your sight in order; then advise you as to how the law will assist you.
In 2018 to 2019, 814 eye injuries that were reportable to RIDDOR occurred in the workplace
90% of all eye injuries treated by an NHS trust were preventable and 60% of injured workers were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident
There is a range of symptoms individuals can experience after suffering an accident that affects the vision, apart from loss of sight itself. You can lose clarity of vision so that objects appear blurry; you may experience black patches, lines and spots in your vision; you may experience double vision or involuntary shaking within the eye.
Some sufferers may experience the inability to recognise objects (even normally familiar faces) or their colour; while others experience colour blindness and photophobia (sensitivity to light).
Any of these injury-induced symptoms can have a detrimental effect on your ability to navigate and enjoy the world, whether that’s your work, your family or your social life. Even mild cases, such as dry eyes and redness, following an injury deserves compensation from those responsible.
It’s an unfortunate fact of life that accidents happen anywhere, whether at home, in the workplace or when you’re out shopping or enjoying your social life. Many eye injuries also happen during DIY work at home. The most common causes of sight loss following a no fault accident which can lead to personal injury claims include:
Some people may be surprised to know that a head injury can impact your eyesight. This is because a traumatic brain injury can profoundly affect the nerve transmitting signals from the brain to the eyes. When this nerve – the optic nerve – is damaged by the injury, swelling can result in nerve cells dying, leading to potentially permanent vision loss. As yet there is no cure for this type of damage.
However, if damage is caused to the occipital lobe – an area of the brain responsible for most of our visual processing – the quality and interpretation of information received can be impaired. This leads to visual problems. They could be mild or they could be very severe.
If your head injury resulted from an incident caused by someone’s negligence or carelessness, you deserve to make a personal injury compensation claim. Get in touch with specialist personal injury solicitors who are experienced in accident claims and who can explain the claims process and help you take the first steps towards claiming compensation.
Employees should be able to expect that they can go out to work, do their job safely and return home free from injury. Unfortunately, avoidable accidents can result in workers sustaining eye injuries resulting in loss of vision and sometimes permanent blindness. This should be concerning – employers have clear legal duties to undertake regular risk assessments and to take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of injury and eye damage to their workers. The evidence is that this is not happening, leading to individuals needlessly losing their vision while at work – and subsequent personal injury claims against employers.
Worryingly, research reveals that only 40% of workers who suffer an eye injury were wearing eye protection at the time of accident, according to the Manchester University NHS trust. Furthermore, some of these were wearing the wrong type of eye protection for the work they were performing.
The law recognises how serious eye injuries in the workplace can be. In fact, any injury likely to lead to reduction in sight or permanent loss of sight is a reportable injury for the purposes of RIDDOR (the formal scheme for reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences at work).
Blindness and other eye injuries that result from chemical injuries and ultraviolet rays are a particular risk in the workplace.
Chemical injuries at work can be particularly painful and distressing, often causing immediate and permanent eye sight problems. Alkali burns are particularly damaging as alkalis can penetrate the eye more quickly than acids, causing corneal damage, ulcers and other serious problems.
Chemical burns to the eye happen when a liquid or powder comes into direct contact with the eye, which is why appropriate eye protection for the job in hand must be available. If you’ve been the victim of a chemical eye injury at work, make sure your employer knows about it so that it can be formally recorded and reported under RIDDOR if necessary.
UV rays are a recognised workplace hazard that must not be ignored. These are a form of ‘optical radiation’ (a term that also includes infrared radiation) and can cause reduced vision. Employers have specific duties to protect workers from the risk of harm from UV rays and artificial forms of optical radiation (The Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations 2010).
Most light sources are safe, however workers can be exposed to excessively bright UV lights and welding flashes. Exposure can damage the cornea and the retina, or damage to the eye’s surface, potentially causing significant eye injuries. The misuse of powerful lasers can also cause serious damage to the eye. Outdoor workers, particularly those who are fair-skinned, red-headed or freckly, can suffer eye damage working in long, hot spells without adequate eye protection from the sun’s rays.
Other workplace scenarios posing a similar risk to workers’ eye sight include UV insect traps, photographers’ flashlamps and high-pressure mercury floodlighting. However, in all these environments employers are required to protect workers’ eyes and skin from exposure to optical radiation; and to ensure they have adequate controls in place to manage the risks of personal injury such as loss of sight.
If you have suffered blindness or other visual problems as a result of working around UV rays or other sources of optical radiation, you deserve to be able to make a loss of sight claim.
Hazardous light sources posing a risk to workers’ eyes include welding and furnaces; sterilisation systems in pharmaceutical and research; printing; vehicle repairs; medical and cosmetic treatment; and lasers in industry
Health and Safety Executive
Between 10-20% of eye accidents in the workplace result in partial or full blindness
Unfortunately, visual problems and loss of sight are sometimes the result of medical negligence. Medical negligence (or clinical negligence) occurs when a doctor or other health professional makes an avoidable mistake during a procedure leading directly to death / personal injuries. It’s right that the injured person can seek compensation in these circumstances.
Find out more about making medical misdiagnosis claims.
Afterall, no one expects to go to hospital or to a clinic, entrust their health with specialist health professionals – and end up suffering personal injury. The consequences of negligence in a clinical setting for the patient and their family can be devastating, particularly if it involves loss of sight. An optician, for instance, may have missed an early sign of a tumour at the back of the eye, meaning delays in further investigations and treatment. The result could be full or partial loss of sight, or death if the cancer spread.
In one case, an optician was rightly concerned with a patient’s sight and referred her to hospital for ophthalmology assessments. However, there were successive and unacceptable delays at the hospital, which meant crucial scans were delayed. The patient’s sight deteriorated and as a result of the hospital’s negligence, she was left blind in her left eye and reduced vision in her other eye. She won a six-figure compensation payout.
Find out more about making an NHS negligence claim.
Strokes can also lead to loss of sight. While many strokes are avoidable, misdiagnosed strokes, or insufficient care and treatment of a stroke victim can lead to the individual suffering blindness. Failure to diagnose age related macular degeneration, which is the most common cause of serious loss of vision for over 50s, can also directly lead to partial or complete loss of vision. Such failings are avoidable and it is only fair that the individual should be able to take formal steps to seeking compensation in the wake of medical negligence.
Mounting a medical negligence claim for loss of sight can be challenging. However, if you’ve suffered vision loss following negligence, with the best legal representation you should succeed in securing the compensation settlement that you deserve.
Eye and brain injuries, including those causing loss of vision, can also happen in sporting incidents. While many participants in contact sports, such as boxing, take part fully knowing of the risk of injury, there are situations where some accidents are avoidable if adequate risk assessments and precautions are implemented. In these personal injury cases, the individual is owed compensation from those responsible.
Traumatic eye injuries and loss of sight can be caused by balls, racquets, hockey sticks and body parts hitting the victim in the eye or head. This is why, in riskier sports, protective eyewear should be worn to minimise the risk – particularly if the individual already wears glasses or contact lenses. Equipment and sporting facilities should also be kept in a good state of repair to minimise the risk of injury; and events and competitions held in the open air should be risk assessed in the case of inclement weather.
If a sports club or school, for instance, allows a sporting event to go ahead and a competitor or school pupil is injured because of a breach of duty of care, they could be held legally responsible for the injuries.
The fact is, not every sports eye injury is unavoidable. If you have suffered loss of vision, or even complete blindness, following a sporting accident, you must seek specialist legal advice to find out if someone ought to be held legally responsible for what has happened.
Swimming and pool activities are responsible for the most sports-related eye injuries in the US
Your personal injury solicitor will take your loss of sight claim on a no win no fee basis, which offers you all the benefits of being able to make an injury claim – but without the financial risk to you. No win no fee (also known as a conditional fee agreement) is an agreement between you and your solicitor which means you won’t have to pay legal fees if you don’t win your loss of sight case. This means you won’t be left with a bill you can’t afford.
Another benefit of no win no fee is that you don’t need to pay any costs upfront – once your personal injury solicitors take on your loss of sight case, you’ll only need to pay them if you win your loss of sight claim. If your compensation claim is successful, you can spend your compensation however you choose. You’ll also need to pay your solicitor’s success fee as a percentage of your compensation – but this will never be more than 25% of the money you receive. This will be discussed with your solicitor before starting your no win no fee claim so you’ll know exactly what you will have to pay.
Your lawyer’s priority is to make sure you get the money you need for your recovery and rehabilitation, so you don’t need to worry about all your loss of sight compensation being taken up by legal fees and solicitors’ costs.
Yes, in most personal injury claims expert medical evidence will be needed to demonstrate the nature and extent of your injury, how it has affected you and what your prognosis is likely to be. So for your eye injury claim, you’ll need to undergo a medical assessment with a specialist doctor, most likely an ophthalmologist. They will examine you and write a report which will be used to support your compensation claim.
You don’t need to worry about arranging this as your no win no fee solicitor will do this for you. And you’ll only need to pay for it if your compensation claim is successful.
It is not unusual for an injured person to experience mental health issues as a direct result of their injuries. If you’re experiencing loss of sight, you may be struggling to come to terms with such a devastating physical injury – particularly if it happened in a traumatic and shocking way.
The most important thing you can do is to discuss the mental and emotional impact of your accident and loss of vision with your personal injury solicitor. They are well-placed to advise if your particular claim can include a claim for psychological harm. If so, you’ll need to have a separate assessment with a psychologist or psychiatrist, but like your medical report – this will be arranged under your no win no fee agreement.
Whether your loss of sight resulted from an accident at work or in a public place, or if your loss of sight claim results from medical negligence, the amount you receive for your actual loss of sight (known as ‘general damages’) will depend on various factors. This includes the nature and extent of the injury itself and the effects of the injury (or workplace conditions) on your sight.
The particular challenge with eye injuries is that the full extent of sight loss can take a long time to become apparent. The expert medical evidence from the ophthalmologist will provide an important assessment of your loss of sight injury and the prognosis for your vision and any potential recovery. This will be vital to enable your lawyers to negotiate a fair compensation settlement that you deserve.
It is therefore very difficult to give guidelines figures for your injury so early on. The official Judicial College Guidelines for compensation, which lawyers follow, suggest:
Feel free to try our online compensation calculator for a rough, initial estimate of how much compensation you could win for your loss of sight – but bear in mind it should only be treated as a guide. Your specialist solicitor will explain the no win no fee claims process and discuss your compensation with you in more detail.
In addition to your general damages for loss of sight and the impact on your life, your solicitor will also be able to claim compensation for your actual financial losses. These are called ‘special damages’ and are intended to ensure you’re not left out of pocket. Special damages covers items such as:
It is important to keep all receipts, invoices and payslips to pass onto your solicitor in due course.
UK health and safety legislation requires employers to pay for eye tests for their employees if they have to use a screen for work for more than one hour a day.
For some people, it is natural to think that they must be to blame for their injuries – that their vision problems are the result of their own carelessness. However, in many cases that’s an incorrect assumption – so if you believe that the incident was your fault, you must still talk things over with your specialist lawyer so that you get expert legal advice as to whether you can make a no win no fee claim.
For example, if you were injured at work from chemicals getting into your eyes, you may assume you were at fault because you found yourself rubbing your eyes after handling chemicals. However, your employer is under a strict legal obligation to remove the risks to you as a worker, such as providing adequate eye protection.
Your personal injury lawyer will need to find out if there were any deficiencies in your training, in your supervision in how to handle the substances, and what eye protection you were given. It is quite likely you could be advised that the incident, and your eye injury and loss of sight was not, in fact, your fault and you can claim compensation.
It is possible that when you do make a loss of sight claim against your employer, they may come back and argue you were partly to blame for your injuries (or may even deny responsibility completely). However, it is then the employer’s responsibility to prove you were to blame for your loss of sight.
That said, there are cases where a worker can be treated partially to blame for reduced vision, for example, you may have been careless in wiping your eyes before washing your hands, against advice. In such a scenario, if you are found partly to blame (this is known as ‘contributory negligence’) your employer would probably not have to pay you the full amount of compensation. The full amount would be reduced by a proportionate amount to reflect your responsibility for the incident.
So if you’re worried you could be held partly to blame for your injuries, it is important to raise this with your no win no fee solicitor as early as you can. It should not stop you making a loss of sight claim but it might reduce the amount of compensation you receive.
In spring 2021, a prison inmate who lost an eye and sustained a brain injury in a prison attack by another inmate was awarded £85,000 in compensation. Lee Newell was punched and repeatedly kicked in the head. The court found that the Ministry of Justice failed in its duty of care to keep Newell reasonably safe.
If you or a family member have suffered blindness or loss of vision, however mild you think it is, as a result of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, you should be able to make a compensation claim. If you believe you or a loved one are owed compensation following an accident, contact us for help in making a no win no fee injury claim.
Specialist solicitors will give you free guidance as to how you can make your no win no fee compensation claim. But you must make sure you’ve sought medical attention – not only for your injury but to ensure the incident is documented in your medical records from the outset. You should also:
All this information will be crucial in helping your solicitor build the strongest possible case on your behalf, enabling you to recover maximum compensation.
The guiding rule is that you have three years from the date of the incident that caused your loss of vision to start legal proceedings for compensation. However, it is often the case with eye injuries that loss of vision does not start to manifest for some time after the event.
If blindness or loss of vision becomes apparent some time after the accident, or after a period of time working in an environment that likely caused it, the three-year period begins when you could reasonably be aware that your working conditions were the cause.
Sometimes, it is not clear so if you are in any doubt as to whether you can still claim, it is always important to consult with specialist lawyers to check if you still have time to bring a claim. To find out whether you could make a claim, you can get free legal advice from an adviser on 0800 234 6438, or arrange a call back using the claim form below.
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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