Eye injuries can have a huge impact on your standard of life – our eyes are by far our most important sensory organs.

We perceive as much as 80% of our impressions from our vision, and should our smell or our taste stop functioning, our eyes are what best protect us from danger.

There are more than 50,000 people in Ireland that suffer with vision impairment, and while many of those cases are age-related, there is a significant number of Irish people who suffer unnecessary damage to their eyesight for a variety of reasons. 

If you feel as though you are the victim of a preventable eyesight injury that was not your fault, you may have grounds for a compensation claim. 

Hughes & Associates Solicitors operate out of Dublin and offer experience in cases of eyesight injuries. Get in touch for an assessment of your case by emailing info@hughessolicitors.ie or phoning +353 1 891 0020.

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What Qualifies as an Eye Injury?

Eye injuries can arise from accidents, instances of medical and workplace negligence – they can constitute full or partial blindness and can occur in a variety of settings. 

Some common eye injuries that can provide the basis for a legal case include:

  • Chemical burns – potentially the result of mismanaged, harmful substances in a work environment. It can often happen that an employee deals with dangerous chemicals and proceeds to rub or make contact with their eyes, resulting in immediate danger that, if not treated quickly, may lead to blindness.
  • Scratched cornea resulting from flying metal, glass or debris – as much as 70% of major eye injuries are the result of flying or falling objects. A scratched cornea can be a very painful injury that usually requires treatment.
  • Flash burns from bright light exposure – flash burns can happen if an employee is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light without proper protection for their vision. Welding is one line of employment in which this can happen.
  • Superficial eye injuries – this is a broad term encompassing all minor damage to the eyes, for example, a small bruise, swelling or redness.
  • Glaucoma – there have been cases in which a patient, whose family has a known history of glaucoma, is prescribed medication that induces the condition. There are steroids that can do major damage to your vision, and practitioners should be cautious in prescribing any drug that may give rise to full or partial blindness.
  • Eye infections arising from late or misdiagnoses – an infection can cause pain and potential long-term damage. If a doctor fails to treat an eye injury within an appropriate time period, they could be held responsible for any infection.
  • Complications in cosmetic eye surgery – cosmetic surgery carries the risk of aesthetic damage as well as physical injury. If carried out improperly, any eye surgery may lead to injury.

Workplaces that carry a risk of eye injuries must be properly equipped to best protect employees from any loss of eyesight. 

In areas of medical negligence, practitioners carry a duty of care to their patients. If that responsibility is broken and directly impacts a patient’s accident or injury, there may be grounds for a legal case.

Who is Liable for an Eye Injury?

Loss of eyesight can come as the result of negligence in a host of settings, including:

  • Work environments – employers carry a responsibility to protect the vision of their employees. If the right equipment or training is not provided, or if faulty machinery is to blame for an eye injury, there may be grounds for compensation.
  • Healthcare facilities – a whole range of eye injuries can come from medical negligence on behalf of a practitioner. A GP may fail to properly diagnose an eye condition, a surgeon may cause an accident during an operation and the wrong prescription may put a patient on a course of medication that harms their vision.
  • Schools and educational facilities – accidents that arise in schools and colleges can see proprietors held responsible for any resulting injury. A loss of eyesight could occur from a slip, trip or fall that should have been prevented, for instance.
  • Construction sites – as mentioned earlier, falling debris is a common cause of eye injuries. Construction sites carry a large risk of falling glass and metal, and it is hugely important that workers be protected with the right training and equipment to avoid such an accident.
  • Supermarkets and retail outlets – there is an onus on business owners to make their premises safe for employees as well as members of the public. If an eye injury occurs because the environment is not secure enough, they may be at fault.
  • Accidents on the roads – eye injuries can occur in road traffic accidents, whether they impact drivers, passengers, pedestrians or cyclists. If you suffer a road accident that is not your fault, the offending party may be liable for your injuries.

Am I Entitled to Compensation for My Eye Injury?

In any case of negligence, your legal representative must prove that:

  1. The opposing party held a responsibility or duty of care in their actions. 
  2. That duty of care was breached. 
  3. The breach resulted in, or had a direct impact on, your subsequent injury. 

In cases of medical negligence, the first step is proving a pre-existing relationship existed between the patient and the practitioner – this can usually be done via medical records. 

Once that relationship has been established, a solicitor can order a medical review from a third party to decide whether the medical professional acted unreasonable.

Linking negligence with injury requires you to demonstrate a direct impact on your condition arising from your treatment. 

If your deteriorating vision is linked primarily to your age, for instance, it is more difficult to prove that a third party or outside factor was to blame.

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Eye Injury Compensation Calculator

It is difficult to provide an accurate estimate of exactly how much compensation you should expect from a successful eye injury claim, but below is a broad indicator of examples from personal injury cases in Ireland. 

Bear in mind that the amount of compensation you receive for this type of claim is influenced by factors such as your age, occupation, severity of the injury and impact of the injury on your standard of life.

  • Transient/Minor eye injuries – as much as 9,800.
  • Partial blindness in one eye – between €22,500 and €45,400.
  • Full blindness in one eye – as much as €138,000.

How Long Do I Have to Claim for an Eye Injury?

In Ireland, the time limit on filing a personal injury claim with the Personal Injuries Assessment Board is two years from the date of the accident. 

It is also advised that you make contact with the party you hold responsible for your injury within one month of the incident so that they can investigate your claim – not doing this may hurt your chances of winning any court case that takes place down the line.   

Making an Eye Injury Claim in Ireland

If you feel as though you are the victim of an eye injury or a loss of eyesight that was not your fault, it may be a good idea to get in touch with a solicitor for advice on the right steps to take in your situation. 

At Hughes & Associates, our team are experienced in dealing with cases involving eye injuries and other forms of personal injury. We are available to assess your case and advise you on the merits of any potential claim for compensation.

Based in Dublin and serving claimants living in Ireland, we are available for all enquiries via email at info@hughessolicitors.ie or by phone on +353 1 891 0020.

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