If you were involved in an accident at work that left you with an eye injury, whether the damage was minor or a lot more severe, it could mean that you are obliged to take time off work in order to recover which could put you under a lot of financial pressure. Any sort of injury to an eye is not only extremely painful and worrying more especially if your vision is negatively impacted.
You may be entitled to seek compensation from an employer should you be able to prove that the workplace accident that left you with an eye injury could have been avoided had you be given the correct personal protective equipment to carry out a job or if your employer had in place reasonable measures to keep you safe while in their employment. To find out if you can seek compensation for an eye injury at work, please read on.
What the Most Common Accident at Work Eye Injuries?
You can damage an eye in an accident at work in many ways with some of the most commonly reported incidents being detailed below:
- A scratched cornea – it is all too easy to damage your eye by rubbing it should a foreign object have entered your eye. It is also easy to suffer a scratched cornea by accidentally poking your eye with tools/equipment you may be using. If you suspect you have scratched your cornea in whatever incident and you start to experience sensitivity to light and the affected eye becomes red and sore, you should seek medical attention without delay so that a correct diagnosis can be made and to avoid infection which could lead to your sight being negatively impacted
- A foreign body penetrates an eye – should something have penetrated your eye, again it is essential that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. A metal or sharp object entering your eye could result in permanent damage being done to your eye and your vision
- Chemicals in an eye – if your job entails handling chemicals and other toxic substances and some splash into your eye or eyes, you must seek medical attention as a matter of urgency to avoid irreversible damage being done
- Swelling of an eye or eyes – if you accidentally damage your eye with a tool you were using in the course of your work or equipment you use which results in swelling and bruising around the affected eye, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible to establish that no internal damage has occurred to your retina
- Inflammation of an iris – should your eye injury result in inflammation of your iris, this can lead to long-term damage to your vision
- Fracture to an eye – should you have suffered a serious fracture to your eye, you must seek medical attention as a matter of urgency because this type of eye injury can lead to the loss of sight in the affected eye
How Much Compensation Could I Receive For An Eye Injury at Work?
The level of compensation you may be awarded should your eye injury claim be upheld, would depend on the level of damage you sustained to your eye and how your future working life as well as your overall health and well-being have been negatively impacted by your injury. All accident at work claims are different and as such, the amount you may receive could be higher or lower that the eye injury compensation awarded to someone else who sustained similar damage to an eye. With this said, the Judicial College guidelines for eye injuries are detailed below:
- Minor injuries to the eye (transient eye injuries) where recovery would be made within weeks, you may be awarded between £1,760 and £3,150
- Minor injuries to the eye due to a direct strike, exposure to liquids or smoke which results in your vision being temporarily impacted, you may be awarded between £3,150 and £6,960
- Minor injuries to the eye which results in permanent damage to your vision which includes a sensitivity to lights and/or double vision, you may receive between £7,270 and £16,720
- Severe injuries to the eye which results in a degree of loss of vision in a single eye, you may be awarded between £18,880 and £31,320
- Eye injuries that result in the loss of vision in one eye, you may receive between £39,270 and £43,710
- Eye injuries that result in the total loss of sight in one eye where psychiatric issues are evident, you may be awarded between £43,710 and £52,360
- Eye injuries that result in the loss of vision in one eye and with impaired sight in the other eye, you may be awarded between £50,970 and £143,270
- Eye injuries that result in total loss of vision in both eyes, you may receive up to £214,210
As previously mentioned, each accident at work claim is assessed as being unique when it comes to calculating the amount of compensation that you may be awarded. As such, the figures provided amount are given as ballpark amounts of compensation you may be awarded in a successful eye injury claim against your employer.
How to Start an Eye Injury Claim Against an Employer
In order for your eye injury claim against an employer to be upheld, you would need to provide as much evidence of the accident at work that left you injured as possible. A solicitor who specialises in personal injury claims would offer essential advice on what proof would be required for your claim to be valid. This would typically include providing the following:
- Photos or CCTV (if available) of where the accident at work happened
- Photos of your eye injury, preferably prior to receiving any treatment
- Evidence that you were not provided with the correct personal protective equipment to carry out a job
- Witness statements together with their contact details
- Any evidence that “procedures” were ignored or were lacking in the workplace
- The report of the accident as officially logged either in the workplace Accident Report Book or by some other means which could be in an letter to the employer or a personal email to the employer detailing the accident and the injuries sustained
The more proof you have of a workplace accident, the stronger your case against a negligent employer would be.
What Can Be Included in an Eye Injury at Work Claim?
You would be awarded both “general damages” and “special damages” in a successful eye injury at work claim whether your employer accepts liability or disputes your claim which means that your case would go to court and be heard by a judge.
The general damages you would be awarded are based on the severity of your eye injury and how it impacts your future life both working and personal.
The special damages you would be awarded would be based on the “actual” out of pocket expenses you had to pay out because of your eye injury and this includes all your travel and medical expenses as well as any other costs you incurred. You would need to provide proof of your expenses in form of receipts which would be used to calculate the level of eye injury compensation you receive in special damages.
Should I Sue My Employer for an Eye Injury Sustained at Work?
The severity of the eye injury you sustained in a workplace accident could put you out of action and unable to work for a period of time. If your injury is so severe that you are unable to work again, it would mean you are unable to bring in a much needed weekly or monthly wage putting you under even more pressure. As such, seeking compensation from an employer would alleviate many future financial worries which you may otherwise have to cope with on top of the devastating and life-changing eye injury you sustained in an accident at work which occurred through no fault of your own.
Employers in the United Kingdom must carry liability insurance which must meet the legally required cover which is set at £5 million. This insurance is set in place to cover any accidents in the workplace that leave employees and other people injured, whether their injuries are minor or a lot more severe. As such, it is your employer’s insurance provider who would settle your eye injury claim whether this is in an out of court settlement or through the courts should your employer dispute liability for the injuries you sustained.
It is also worth noting that settlements are reached for 95% of personal injury claims that are filed with liability insurance providers preferring to reach a compensation agreement without the need of going through the courts.
What are My Workers Rights Following an Eye Injury Accident at Work?
You have specific “rights” in the workplace which includes when you are involved in a workplace accident that leaves you with an eye injury. Your rights are as follows:
- That your job is safe even if you seek compensation from your employer
- That your right to be compensated for the injuries you sustained in the workplace is respected
If your employer objects to you filing an accident at work claim to seek eye injury compensation, and makes your working life difficult by threatening you with redundancy or the sack, you should contact a lawyer who specialises in employment law because the chances are that you would be entitled to file further legal action against your employer on top of an eye injury claim.
What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities in the Workplace?
Apart from the legal obligation of having the correct level of liability insurance cover, your employer must also abide by all the laws and legislation that are set in place to keep employees safe from injury and harm in the workplace. This entails setting up all “reasonable” measures to reduce the risk of an accident occurring. Your employer must abide by the following in order to do so:
- Provide all employees and other workers with adequate training and ongoing training so they can carry out their jobs safely
- Machinery, equipment and tools must be correctly maintained in good working order and serviced as per a manufacturer’s guidelines
- Carry out regular risk assessments in the working environment whether onsite or off site and to identify hazards and risks before setting place all reasonable measures to reduce the risk of harm and injury to employees, other workers and people visiting a workplace
- Provide adequate and appropriate personal protective equipment which must be correctly stored, maintained and replaced when necessary
- Provide detailed working practices and procedures to all employees and other workers
Should your employer fail in any of the above and you sustain an eye injury at work, they could be held responsible and as such they would be liable for the accident. In short, you would have the right to seek compensation for the eye injury you sustained through their negligence.
Are There Any Benefits to Working With a Solicitor on an Eye Injury at Work Claim?
A solicitor boasts vast experience when it comes to handling personal injury claims for employees taking all the worry of understanding what is often a complex legal process out of the equation. Other benefits and advantages that an accident at work lawyer would offer you, includes the following:
- An initial, free, no obligation consultation which allows a solicitor to assess whether your eye injury against an employer is valid and whether you stand a very good chance of winning your case
- You would be provided with essential advice on the sort of evidence required to strengthen your eye injury at work claim
- A firm of lawyers has access to legal libraries which they can refer to when handling your eye injury claim
- To work on your claim having signed a No Win No Fee agreement which means there would be no fee to pay for the solicitor to begin investigating your eye injury at work claim
- Correspond with your employer and their liability insurance provider ensuring that all pre-action protocols are respected
- Begin an investigation if your employer denies liability for the eye injury you sustained while in their employment with an end goal being to get them to admit responsibility
- Arrange for you to be examined by an independent eye specialist/consultant who would provide a detailed medical report on the injury you sustained. This report would be crucial when it comes to negotiating your eye injury compensation
- Arrange for you to receive specialist treatment with an end goal being to help you through your eye injury recovery process
- To negotiate a fair settlement for the injuries you sustained through no fault of your own while at work
- To arrange treatment, therapies and rehabilitation should your eye injury be such they are life-changing
- To negotiate interim payments should your eye injury compensation settlement take a long time to receive
Another great benefit of having an accident at work lawyer work on your eye injury claim, is that they would arrange for you to receive specialist treatment and aftercare in the private health sector.
Is There a Time Limit to Making an Eye Injury at Work Claim Against My Employer?
You would have to adhere to the strict 3 year statutory time limit that is associated with all personal injury claims. The time limit starts from the date of the workplace accident that left you injured. However, should the workplace incident that left you with an eye injury have happened prior to your 18th birthday, the time limit would only start from the date of you turn 18 years of age.
Can I Lose My Job Because I File an Eye Injury Claim Against My Employer?
You cannot be fired just because you seek compensation for an eye injury you sustained through no fault of your own while you were at work. If you are threatened with the sack because you intend on filing a personal injury claim, your employer would be acting illegally because they would be in breach of your “employee rights” which is to seek compensation for any injury you sustained in an accident at work without the fear of losing your job.
Would a Solicitor Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on My Eye Injury at Work Claim?
A lawyer would offer an initial consultation which allows them the chance to assess your eye injury claim. This consultation is free of charge and once it is established that your employer could be held liable for the injuries you sustained in a workplace accident, they would agree to work with you by signing a No Win No Fee agreement. This means you would not have to pay an upfront fee or any ongoing payments to the solicitor as your eye injury claim progresses.
Conditional Fee Agreements set out the Terms and Conditions of the contract between a firm of solicitors and you. The agreement also lays out the “success fee” you would only have to pay should you win your claim against your employer and the percentage that was agreed, is taken out of the eye injury compensation you are awarded. Should you lose your eye injury claim against your employer, there would be nothing to pay at all.
To find out more about the treatment of serious eye injuries, please follow the link below:
If you would like to know more about the law regarding personal protective equipment (PPE), please click on the link below: