According to the Health and Safety Executive all accidents at work that leave you with any sort of eye injury must be reported to RIDDOR. If you were involved in a serious workplace accident that caused you to loose your sight and the incident was caused through the error of a work colleague or because your employer was negligent in their duty to keep you safe from injury, you could be entitled to file a loss of sight claim and receive compensation for the injuries you sustained.
Accidents at Work That Could Result in Loss of Sight
You may lose your sight in various workplace accidents, and as previously mentioned, the consequences are devastating. The most reported incidents in the workplace that result in loss of sight includes the following:
- Chemicals splashing into your eyes
- Grit or dirt being deeply lodged in your eye
- A sharp object hitting your eye and becoming embedded in it
- A head injury which includes having slipped, tripped and fallen
- A violent blow to your head from a falling object
If you work with hazardous chemicals, your employer has a legal duty to ensure that you are correctly trained and that you are provided with adequate personal protective equipment. If your employer fails to do this and you suffer any sort of injury to your eyes that results in a loss of vision, you have the right to seek compensation because your employer could be held liable. Your employer’s duty towards you in the workplace is as follows:
- That you are given adequate training in the safe handling of all hazardous materials which includes chemicals
- That you are provided with safety goggles
- That you are given adequate training to use machinery, tools and equipment in the workplace
- That you are given adequate training in how to protect yourself against being injured in the workplace
If you are involved in any sort of accident that results in a head injury, your sight could also be negatively impacted. Any type of injury to the head must be taken very seriously and immediate medical attention must be sought. It may not initially be apparent that your sight has been affected, but a little later down the line, you may find that your vision is blurred in which case, you must seek medical attention as a matter of urgency.
What are the Consequences of Loss of Sight and Vision?
Having been involved in an accident at work that results in a loss of sight is catastrophic as it means you would have to adapt to everything around you. You would be forced to give up everything you enjoyed doing prior to having suffered a workplace accident. It would mean that you are totally dependant on others for the remainder of your life. Not being able to work would have devastating financial consequences but on top of this, there are other things to take into consideration and this includes the following:
- A loss of social interactions
- Embarrassment when in public places
- A loss of being able to take part in all the things you used to do prior to your accident at work
- Having to organise alterations to your home
- Not being able to drive
- Not being able to read and to learn braille which would involve buying specialist equipment too
- A feeling of loss of social status
- How your overall mental health well-being is negatively impacted by the loss of your vision
The long-term effects of losing your sight can be devastating and as such, this would be factored into the amount of loss of sight compensation you may be awarded in a successful claim against your employer. The negotiations for compensation are best left to a lawyer who has lots of experience in dealing with insurance providers, bearing in mind that a very high percentage of personal injury claims never get to court but are settled by an insurance company.
What You Should Do Following Loss of Sight in an Accident at Work
If you were involved in a workplace accident that resulted in a loss of vision, your life would be turned upside down. The effects of such a devastating injury has long-term consequences, but in the immediate, you would be put under tremendous psychological pressure too. As such, you may not even be considering filing for compensation but if the accident happened through the negligence of a third party, you have every right to do so. As such, contacting a solicitor who has vast experience in handling accident at work claims would provide essential support and legal advice on how best to proceed and would do so fully understanding just what you are going through.
A lawyer would be able to arrange the following on your behalf:
- To be seen by an eye specialist/consultant who would provide a detailed report on your injury and the long-term effect the injury would have on your future life. This report would be essential when it comes to filing a loss of vision claim against a negligent employer
- A specialist’s report would also be used as a basis to calculate the amount of loss of sight compensation you may be awarded
If you are unable to collect all the evidence required to prove your claim, you should arrange for someone to do this on your behalf. The evidence required to prove that you sustained your injuries in the workplace would include the following:
- Witness statements and their contact details
- Records of the incident that left you injured which includes the RIDDOR report because all accidents at work that result in eye injuries are “reportable”
- Medical reports of your injuries
- Photos or CCTV footage (if available) of where the workplace accident occurred
- Photos of your injuries (if possible)
The more proof you can provide that your eye injuries were sustained through no fault of your own while carrying out your job, the stronger your case would be and the harder it would be for your employer to dispute your loss of sight claim against them.
What Can I Include in My Loss of Sight Claim Against an Employer?
As with all work-related personal injury claims, the way loss of sight compensation would be calculated is as follows:
- General damages which covers your “actual” injuries and how your future life has been negatively impacted. This would incorporate the fact that you would not be able to work again due to a loss of vision and the fact that your injury is life-changing in every way
- Special damages are calculated on the “actual” expenses you had to cope with as a result of having been injured in an accident at work that left you with a loss of sight. As such, it is essential that you keep all your receipts which includes medical costs, travel expenses and any other outgoings you incurred. Special damages also factor in all your loss of earnings and future earnings because you would be unable to work again
Should I Sue My Employer for Loss of Sight Suffered in an Accident at Work?
As previously mentioned, the loss of sight is devastating. The injuries you sustain are life-changing and it affects every aspect of your life which includes your ability to work. Alterations would be needed around your home so that it is easier for you to get around and the after-care needed could also put you under tremendous financial pressure. If it can be proved that your employer was negligent in their duty to keep you safe in the workplace, you have every right to seek the level of compensation you rightly deserve for the eye injuries you sustained through no fault of your own.
Your employer is not only legally required to keep you safe when you are in their employment, but by law, they must also have liability insurance which must offer a minimum of £5 million cover. The policy must also be underwritten by a recognised provider. It is also noteworthy that your employer should display the policy so it can be clearly seen in the workplace. Failure to have the necessary liability insurance in place would result in your employer being fined by the enforcing authority which could be £2,500 a day.
As such, when you file a loss of sight claim against your employer, it is their insurance providers who handle every aspect of the case which includes the compensation you are awarded.
What are My Workers Rights Following an Accident at Work?
All employees must be kept safe from harm and injury in the workplace. If your employer fails in their duty and you are involved in an accident that results in loss of sight, you have the right to do the following:
- To seek compensation for the injury you sustained in a workplace accident
If your employer objects to you filing an accident at work claim against them, you should contact a lawyer who specialises in employment law, because you may have good reason to take out further legal action against your employer.
Are There Any Benefits to Working With a Solicitor on a Loss of Sight Claim Against an Employer?
Work-related personal injury claims are complex legal procedures more especially when you sustain life-changing injuries. As such, when filing a loss of sight claim, it is far better to seek legal advice from a lawyer who boasts vast experience in handling this type of serious accident at work claim. The advantages offered by having a lawyer represent you includes the following:
- Specialist treatment can be arranged for you by a solicitor which includes all the aftercare and therapy that may be required to make your life easier
- A solicitor knows how to handle what is often a complicated legal process and what evidence is required to prove an accident at work claim against an employer
- An accident at work solicitor knows how to communicate with insurance providers
- A solicitor has vast experience when it comes to negotiation the amount of compensation you may be entitled to which includes the cost of alterations to your home to make your life easier
- Working with a No Win No Fee lawyer means you do not have to pay an upfront fee or any ongoing fees as your accident at work claim progresses
- A lawyer would ensure that you receive “interim payments” before you are awarded a final settlement
- The amount you would pay on a successful loss of sight claim, would be deducted by the solicitor from the compensation you are awarded
These are just some of the advantages and benefits of having the experience of an accident at work lawyer work with you when filing a loss of sight claim against an employer.
Is There a Time Limit to Filing a Loss of Sight Claim Against My Employer?
The 3 year time limit associated with accident at work claims must be adhered to for a case to be accepted by the courts. Because it can take a long time to gather all the evidence needed in a loss of sight claim, it is best to seek legal advice as soon as possible to avoid running out of time. The 3 year personal injury time limit applies to claims as follows:
- 3 years from the date you were involved in a workplace accident that resulted in your loss of sight
- 3 years from the date you were diagnosed as being blinded as a direct result of an injury you sustained in an accident at work
- 3 years from the date you turned 18 years of age if the workplace accident that resulted in your loss of sight happened before you were 18 years old
As previously mentioned, it is far wiser to begin a loss of sight claim against an employer sooner rather than later because even if you have enough evidence of employer negligence, if you fail to seek compensation within the statutory time limit, your claim would not be valid. It is also worth noting that the longer you leave it, the less chance there is of having a solicitor work with you on a No Win No Fee basis. The reason being that if there are just a few months left on the statutory time limit, it may not be enough to gather all the evidence needed which includes vital medical reports.
Can My Employer Fire Me For Filing a Loss of Sight Claim Against Them?
The law protects you from being fired if you are injured in a workplace accident and you choose to seek compensation from an employer. Should your employer decide to sack you or they threaten you with redundancy, they would be breaking UK law and as such, they would be opening themselves up to having further action taken out against them. If you feel threatened in any way by your employer because you file an accident at work claim against them, you should seek legal advice before doing anything else.
Would a Solicitor Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on My Claim?
No Win No Fee agreements were introduced by the UK Government so that people who suffered injuries or developed medical conditions through no fault of their own but rather because of the negligence of a third party, could seek compensation for the injuries and out of pocket expenses they incurred. Many solicitors now offer to work with you on a No Win No Fee basis which in short, means that you only have to pay for the legal advice and representation they provide on a successful accident at work claim.
Having signed a Conditional Fee Agreement with the solicitor, all the pressure of having to pay for legal advice and representation when you need it most, is taken off the table. Any financial pressure you may have to face because you are unable to work and bring in a salary, is also taken off the table because a lawyer who handles your claim would ensure that you receive “interim payments” before you are awarded a final settlement in a successful loss of sight claim.
Should you lose your loss of sight claim against your employer, the “success fee” that you agreed to pay the solicitor would be waived. In short, you would have nothing to pay the solicitor if your claim is not successful and you do not receive the loss of sight compensation you sought for the injury you sustained.