Eye Injury Claim Guide
If you have been involved in an incident that has caused injury to your eye, you may be entitled to make an eye injury claim. These injuries can arise in many circumstances and, in some cases, may lead to blindness. These injuries can have a profound impact on a claimant’s life, and they may be entitled to compensation as a result.
Typical Eye Injuries
The term eye injury encompasses not only injuries to the eyeball itself but also damage to the area surrounding the eye, including the eye socket, tissue, and ligaments.
Typical eye injuries can include:
- Breaks or fractures of the bones surrounding the eye
- Superficial injuries – The area surrounding the eye is very sensitive and bruises easily, making these injuries appear more severe than they are, but they are classed as minor injuries
- Lacerations or cuts
- Chemical or radiation burns
What causes an Eye Injury?
1.1 At your place of work
Your employer is obliged to provide a safe workplace environment. Eye injuries commonly arise in a working environment due to
- Dangerous machinery
- Machinery with a defect
- Tools with a defect
- An unsafe workplace environment
- A lack of eye safety equipment and protective gear
- A lack of safety training
- Poor lighting
- Hazardous chemicals making contact with the eyes
1.2 In a road traffic accident
Eye injuries often occur as a result of road traffic accidents. The type and severity of the injury will differ depending on a multitude of factors. Road traffic accidents are commonly caused by:
- Drink driving
- Driving while fatigued,
- Failure to wear a seatbelt
- Failure to stop at crossings
- These accidents can occur through all common forms of transport, including bikes and motorbikes
1.3 At a public location
Your eye injury may occur in a public place such as a hotel, supermarket or restaurant. Common causes are:
- Falling objects
- Flying objects, e.g., on a golf course
- Slippery floors
- Damaged or uneven paths
- Obstructions on the ground leading to falls
- Dangerous conditions on a business’ property
1.4 In a medical setting
Claims for eye injuries caused by medical negligence are handled differently. A solicitor will need to initiate such claims, and the Injuries Board is not involved in the assessment. Contexts in which such claims can arise include:
- Eye-related surgery, including laser eye and LASIK procedures
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Negligence in ophthalmology
- Handling of foreign bodies in the eye
- Surgery for cataracts
- Corneal abrasions
Examples of conduct on behalf of a medical practitioner that may amount to medical negligence include:
- Failure to act or take notice of a medical issue
- Errors while performing surgery
- Falling below the requisite standard of care
- Misinterpreting test results
- Performing surgery without fully informed consent
- Failure to communicate the risks associated with a particular procedure
- Incorrect administration of drugs
- Performing surgery on the wrong area of the eye
How do I make an eye injury claim in Ireland?
1. Contact our eye injury solicitor:
Our eye injury claim solicitors are experienced in advising clients on how to make these claims. Many people use a solicitor to aid with this application process as a lot of paperwork, and filing are required, and our expert team is on hand to make the process as smooth as possible.
2. The PIAB Application:
The next step is to make an application to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB). If your personal injury claim concerns anything other than medical negligence, some assaults, and some cases of entirely psychological injury, then your claim can be brought through PIAB. Examples of claims that PIAB covers include:
3. Submitting information and documents to PIAB:
Your solicitor will obtain evidence, medical reports, and other expert reports required. And submits these documents to the Board for Assessment.
4. Consent to assess the claim:
Once the application is made, PIAB issue a formal notification of claim to the defendant(s). The defendant(s) must indicate within 90 days whether or not they consent or not to the assessment of the claim. If the defendant consents, then PIAB will proceed to assess the claim. If they decline to have the case assessed, the PIAB will issue an Authorisation to allow the claimant to issue court proceedings.
5. Claim assessment time:
If PIAB is assessing the claim, this will usually take about 9 months. They will then issue their Assessment of your claim, this amount reflects general and special damages awarded in respect of your claim. If the Assessment is accepted by both parties, the PIAB will issue an Order to Pay. The Order to Pay has the same status as an Order of the Court and must be discharged by the defendant(s) within 10 days. A settlement cheque will then be issued to the claimant.
If the Assessment is rejected by either party, an Authorisation will be granted by PIAB to bring court proceedings.
How much compensation can I receive for an eye injury in Ireland?
How much compensation you receive for an eye injury claim is dictated by two legally binding documents known as:
The “Book of Quantum” and
The recently published Personal Injuries Guidelines by the Judicial Council of Ireland.
The Book of Quantum dictates how much compensation you are owed if your Authorisation was received from PIAB prior to the 21st of April 2021. In all other cases, compensation in respect of general damages is assessed with the aid of the Judicial council’s Personal Injuries Guidelines.
The Book of Quantum sets out general guidelines as to the amounts that may be awarded or assessed in Personal Injury Claims. The guidelines are divided into sections depending on what category of injury was suffered, e.g., head injuries, neck injuries, back injuries and spinal fractures, upper limb injuries, lower limb injuries, and body and internal organs. The Book of Quantum sets out 4 steps to assess what compensation is appropriate for the suffered injury. These steps are as follows:
- Identify the category of injury
- Assess the severity of the injury (through medical reports and records)
- Research the value range
- Consider the effect of multiple injuries
The Personal Injuries Guidelines were adopted by The Judicial Council on the 6th of March 2021. Similar to the Book of Quantum, this legal document sets out guidelines for assessing compensation in respect of general damages. The general principles for this assessment centre on three criteria:
- Awards of damages must be fair and reasonable to both the claimant and the defendant(s)
- Awards must be proportionate to the injuries sustained
- Awards must be compared on a scale of injuries that are both of a lesser and greater magnitude
One of the most substantial differences brought about by this update is that the average level of damages awarded has been reduced. The new guidelines have, however, provided more detail and more explanation for claimants, which is overall a welcomed change to the process of making a personal injury claim.
How can I bring an eye injury claim in Ireland?
If you think you may be entitled to make a claim for eye injury, you should contact a solicitor as soon as possible. A solicitor can advise you as to your prospects of success, assist you in gathering all the required evidence to ground your claim, and will run the proceedings on your behalf.
Coleman Legal LLP
84 Talbot Street, Dublin 1