- Eye injuries can be caused by many kinds of accidents, whether at home, work, playing sports, or in a vehicular crash.
- If an eye injury occurred in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you might be able to receive compensation.
- Past and future medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and life changes should all be considered in your personal injury claim.
- An experienced attorney can help you prove your eye injury case and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Eye Injuries Can and Do Happen Because of Negligence
The ability to see clearly is something we may take for granted. Sadly, we often don’t appreciate our eyes until something compromises our vision.
If an eye injury occurs as a result of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, then you may be eligible for an insurance settlement. In cases that occur in the workplace, the employer may be liable for your injury if negligence can be proven.
In a Georgia accident, the negligent party, whether another driver, homeowner, or employer, is expected to pay for the damage he or she caused. However, this negligence can be challenging to prove.
Here’s what you should know if you’ve suffered an eye injury due to an accident.
Types of Eye Injuries
Eye injuries can range from minor issues that cause temporary pain and discomfort to severe trauma that can lead to permanent vision loss.
Here are several common eye injuries that can occur from accidents:
- Permanent vision loss or blindness: When the capacity to function effectively in one or both eyes is lost, even short-term, it can be a compensable claim.
- Eye loss: In some accidents, the eyeball is so severely damaged that it cannot be repaired and must be removed.
- Bleeding in the eye: A hemorrhage or bleeding on the surface of the eye can happen when there is trauma to the eye area. Blood may appear in the clear skin, or conjunctiva, of the eye that covers the sclera, or the white of the eye. Blood can also gather between the clear outer layer of the eye, the cornea, and the iris, the colored center part of the eye. This bleeding is called a hyphema.
- Burns and irritation: Certain chemicals, fumes, and other irritants may burn or damage the eye, leading to partial, temporary, or permanent vision loss.
- Corneal abrasion: The cornea is the clear transparent area on the front of the eye. Foreign objects, fingernails, contact lenses, and other items can scratch the cornea. A corneal abrasion can cause pain, sensitivity to light, and eye-watering.
- Optic nerve avulsion: Optic nerve avulsion is one of the most severe complications of blunt ocular trauma. Although fairly rare, this injury may occur in blunt trauma cases that display sudden marked visual loss accompanied by bleeding into the clear, center part of the eyeball, known as a vitreous hemorrhage.
- Arc eye: When the eyes are not sufficiently protected from bright ultraviolet light, the cornea can become painfully inflamed. This is an injury commonly found among unprotected workers who are exposed to welding arcs or laser beams. It can also happen on ski slopes or after a day on the beach without proper eye protection.
- Injury from a foreign object: When a foreign object gets lodged in the eye, it can cause vision problems and eye pain. Common foreign objects that can harm the eye and cause damage include dirt, debris, sawdust, or shattered glass.
- Orbital fractures: Orbital fractures usually happen when an object strikes a blow directly to the eye area and breaks one or more of the bones that encase the eyeball. Trauma that impacts the skull or facial bones around the eye is the most likely cause of an orbital fracture. In an orbital blowout fracture, bones inside the eye socket shatter. The trauma can cause the muscles that support the eyes to stretch, tear, or become trapped.
- Retinal detachment: A detached retina is caused by age-related changes or eye trauma. A retinal detachment occurs when the retina (thin tissue on the back of the eye) pulls or is torn away from the wall of the eye.
Types of Accidents That Can Cause Eye Injuries
Eye injuries can happen due to numerous kinds of accidents, whether at home, work, playing sports, or in a vehicular crash. The following accidents are common causes of eye injuries:
- Dog bites
- Car accidents
- Chemical burns from products used at home or work
- Exposure to lasers or fiber optic cables
- Construction injuries
- Sports injuries
- Debris from farm harvesting activities, sawmill work, or any other situation where dust or other particles are swirling around unprotected eyes
- Traumatic brain injuries – depending on what area of the brain is impacted and the severity of the injury, traumatic brain injuries often include changes in or loss of vision
Eye Injuries in the Workplace
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 2,000 workers sustain eye injuries each day in America. In many cases, the use of proper eyewear or protection could prevent eye injuries from occurring. However, if an employer does not require employees to wear protection or fails to mandate safety precautions, then they may be held liable for injuries in certain cases.
In the workplace, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regularly inspects and issues mandates on a multitude of safety procedures. Unfortunately, not all employers comply with the OSHA requirements.
When there is a potential for eye injury, that employer has an obligation to educate and mitigate the possibility of injury. OSHA dictates that such employers post warning signs and provide eye protection, such as goggles, face shields, and helmets. They must also monitor employees to ensure the OSHA-mandated safety equipment is being used. If an employer fails in this obligation, they may be considered negligent if an eye injury occurs.
Treatments and Procedures Optometrists and Medical Professionals Perform to Restore Injured Eyes
While minor eye injuries may be treated with first aid, you should contact your doctor if you display more serious symptoms, such as:
- Changes in vision, including double vision or trouble focusing
- Swelling in the eye so that one eye seems to protrude more than the other
- Severe pain in the area
- Tears or cuts to the skin around the eye
- Aching behind the eye and brow
Your doctor will examine your eye to determine the eye injury severity. Before your examination, your doctor may give you numbing drops to alleviate pain. In some cases, they may dilate your pupils or dye the eye, so scratches or foreign objects are more visible. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic ointment and install an eye patch to rest the eye so it can heal.
Foreign objects may be removed with special medical instruments or by flushing them out. If an object has pierced your eyeball and remains inside, you may require an X-ray or ultrasound to see exactly where the object is located.
You may also need an ultrasound if there is bleeding within the eye or your doctor suspects a detached retina. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
What Compensation Can You Receive for an Eye Injury?
If it can be proven that your eye injury was the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to gain compensation for your injury.
Compensable costs include:
- Costs for medical treatment, including all procedures and follow-up appointments as well as prosthetic devices, like glasses, to restore your vision to what it was prior to the accident.
- Lost income if you are unable to work even temporarily following the injury. This includes time lost from work for follow-up appointments.
- If your injury requires future treatment, these costs can be included in your settlement.
- Pain and suffering resulting from your injury.
- If your injury is severe enough to change your life, those changes have value and should be included in your compensation. For instance, if you lost your vision or your eye’s function has been compromised to the point you will no longer be able to do your job, you may be entitled to collect for loss of future income as a result.
Insurance Companies Will Be Aggressive on Reducing Your Compensation – We Can Help
Insurance companies typically don’t eagerly pay you for what you’ve lost. Remember that insurance companies and their lawyers want to keep their money, not give it to you. In most cases, they will try hard not to pay more than they absolutely must.
Eye injuries are notoriously difficult to collect from insurance companies. For this reason, retaining an attorney can help increase your chances of getting a fair and full settlement.
If not handled properly, even a life-changing injury to the eye can result in a small payout, if not handled properly. Fortunately, the legal team at The Millar Law Firm has decades of experience in handling eye injury cases. As a result, we understand what it takes for an eye injury settlement to succeed.
If you sustained an injury to your eye, we urge you to contact us. We provide a free first consultation where we can learn the details of your case and help you create a successful strategy for winning.
When negotiating an eye injury settlement, a legal team that can collect all the information necessary can help bring you a full and fair compensation package from insurance company lawyers.
Call us today to set up your free consultation: 770-400-0000. You’ll be glad you did.