Eye injury compensation claims
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By and large we rarely give our eyes as much as a second thought, that is until something goes wrong and our vision is affected. But when you learn more about eyes, you realize just how amazing they are. Did you know for example that your eyes start to develop two weeks after you are conceived? Or that the human eye is composed of more than 2 million working parts and is recognised as being the second most complex organ after the brain?
If that wasn’t impressive enough there’s also the not inconsequential fact that only 1/6 of the human eyeball is exposed; and that while a fingerprint has 40 unique characteristics, an iris has 256. The very reason why retina scans are increasingly being used for security purposes.
All of which makes it all the more crucial that we protect our eyes from a multitude of potential dangers at all costs and all times. Unfortunately this isn’t always possible, and hence why eye injuries occur the world over.
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What kind of injuries can affect the eye?
There are a number of different types of eye injury any one of us can suffer from, and which can affect either or both eyes and, suffice to say, could potentially leave you severely debilitated.
What’s more, some can often lead to long-term sight problems which can at one end of the spectrum amount to blurred (or impaired) vision through to complete blindness in one or both eyes. The eye – as we’ve already observed above – is readily identified as being an extremely complex organ, and as such it can be damaged in a variety of different ways.
The following is a short list documenting the core components which comprise the human eye and which are susceptible to having damage inflicted upon them; thereafter we examine the more recurrent types of eye injury which befall people;
The cornea, iris and pupil – These are all part of the ‘front’ of your eye and function together to regulate the level of light that enters the eye and reaches the lens, located directly behind
The lens – This receives the light that passes through the front of the eye and focuses it onto the retina, which lies beneath. Muscles surrounding the lens help to shape it and alter how the light is focused
The retina – This is a photosensitive nerve at the back of the eye – meaning it reacts to the light that it receives by creating electrical signals that are passed through the optical nerve to the brain for processing
The optical nerve – This forms the furthest-most point of the eye and essentially runs from the back of the eye to the brain, carrying information from the retina
Should ANY of these important parts of the eye become injured, then the functionality of the eye can be compromised and the victim’s sight will be damaged, sometimes irreparably so.
What the most common eye injuries?
Following on from above, these primarily include the likes of:
Scratched Eye (Corneal Abrasion) – This tends to present in the aftermath of getting poked in the eye or, alternatively, when rubbing the eye once a foreign body – such as dust or sand – has lodged itself thereabouts and is causing irritation or discomfort.
The physical aspect of a scratched eye normally comprises of eye redness and severe sensitivity to light. Complications of this can manifest in the guise of increased susceptibility to the probability of infection from bacteria or a fungus, as it’s medically acknowledged that certain types of bacteria/fungi can enter the eye through a scratch and cause serious harm in as little as 24 hours.
The risk is ramped up if whatever object responsible for scratching the eye was dirty or contaminated, and blindness could be the ultimate price paid if clinical assistance isn’t sought quickly. Also worth noting that eye scratches can materialise after interacting with fingernails or tree branches
Penetrating or Foreign Objects in the Eye – If a foreign object does manage to penetrate your eye, then it’s more often than not advisable to visit a GP’s surgery/A&E department at a hospital as soon as possible thereafter. Never attempt to remove the object yourself, as you could easily cause more harm in your attempts to retrieve whatever the suspected alien body is. Likewise, rubbing eyes is not recommended either as this could damage the eye still further.
Furthermore, there’s the chance that your eye also may have corneal foreign bodies that are small, sharp pieces of a substance that have become embedded in the eye’s surface (cornea), yet have not penetrated into the interior of the eye at that initial juncture.
Caustic Foreign Substance in the Eye (Chemical Burn) – Getting unexpectedly splashed (or sprayed) in the eye by substances other than clean, harmless water can be precarious and potentially lead to an unwelcome eye injury of one sort or another. Some substances can burn or sting but are fairly harmless in the long run, while others can cause serious injury.
The basic makeup of the chemical involved can make a lot of difference, so it’s imperative that you establish just what fluid entered your eye and act accordingly thereafter based on this acknowledgement. As a general rule of thumb, (and perhaps in some way contrary to populist belief/understanding) acids can cause considerable redness and burning but can be washed out fairly easily, however the same can’t be said of substances (or chemicals) which contain alkali.
This ingredient is far more dangerous to the health of the human eye, yet conversely not set off the same alarm bells based on the fact that alkali doesn’t cause as much immediate eye pain (or redness) as acids when first interacting. Some examples of alkali substances are oven cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and even chalk dust for that matter. Although the majority of chemical exposures (and burns) are usually caused by a splash of liquid getting in your eye, they can also be caused by rubbing your eyes and transferring a chemical from the hands to the eyes, or by getting sprayed in the eye by hair spray or other aerosols.
Subconjunctival Haemorrhages (Eye Bleeding) – At first glance this has a habit of appearing worse than it really is, and a subconjunctival haemorrhage is – in a nutshell –seepage of blood from one or more breaks in a blood vessel which lie between the white of the eye (sclera) and its clear covering (conjunctiva). Such events are relatively commonplace and can even arise from a minor eye injury, the resultant reddened façade being restricted to a small sector of the eye; or on the other hand, extending to reach over the entire eye.
Painless and without risking transient or more permanent vision loss, a subconjunctival haemorrhage doesn’t necessarily require medical treatment, and over the space of a few weeks thereafter the blood will disperse from the eye and a normal appearance will resume.
Traumatic Iritis – This is the clinical description afforded the inflammation of the coloured part of the eye which surrounds the pupil (iris) and occurs after an eye injury. Traumatic iritis can be caused by a poke in the eye, or instead after being dealt a blow to the eye from a blunt object (such as a ball or a hand for instance). Traumatic iritis does, however usually require treatment, and even then the risk of permanent decreased vision remains
Hyphaemia’s and Orbital Blowout Fractures – A Hyphaemia is best illustrated by a bleeding in the anterior chamber of the eye, which is the space located between the cornea and the iris. Orbital blowout fractures are cracks (or breaks) in the facial bones surrounding the eye, and are recognised by the medical profession as being of a potentially serious nature; and therefore require speedy treatment. Such eye injuries which are caused by significant blunt force trauma to the eye and face, are typically associated with being struck by a bat, baseball, hockey stick or puck, together with one of the outcomes of getting kicked in the face.
What are the most common causes of eye injury?
- The causes of eye injuries can typically be split into the below categories:
- Burns – directly from fire (or from close proximity to a flame)
- Head trauma
- Contact with hazardous chemicals
- Impact from small projectiles/grit/other particles
- Laser eye surgery complications
- Road traffic accidents and air bag defects
- Electric shock
In what cases could I make an eye injury compensation claim?
If the eye injury which impacted – both physically and psychologically – was proven to have been caused through the negligence of someone else (individual/company/employer/authority/organisation/etc) then the culpable party would have a case to answer to in all probability.
Causes, as we’ve already touched on, are both wide and varied and could include accidents at work having been exposed to hazardous chemicals or substances or being involved in a car accident for example. Meanwhile another situation which could lead to a claim being forthcoming is one which takes into account eye surgery having gone wrong (or been substandard), and this envelops any of the following surgical procedures:
- Laser eye surgery
- Cataract surgery
- Corneal surgery
- Eye muscle surgery (strabismus treatment)
- Glaucoma surgery
- Retina re-attachment surgery
- Vitreo-retinal surgery
What’s more, you might be in a position to lodge and pursue a claim for an eye injury if you’ve had an eye condition that was misdiagnosed, thus resulting in extra treatment and/or permanent damage. Glaucoma and detached retinas are just two of the commonly misdiagnosed conditions in this category.
The key element and deciding factor which determines the validity of a case regarding eye injury compensation seeking is one of where the blame is apportioned. Was it with the injured party’s employers, an individual or a service provider amongst other possibilities? Whatever the circumstances, where an eye injury could have been avoided, a team of specialist personal injury claims solicitors will fight an individual’s corner from a legal perspective, if qualifying criteria can be met from the outset.
An individual claimant’s compensation award will be ascertained by the severity of the injury, the level of pain and suffering it has caused, and the amount of financial losses they’ve systematically incurred as a result of the accident (which could be treatment and rehabilitation costs as well as lost earnings).
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