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If you have suffered an eye injury or had your vision impaired as a result of a workplace injury or due to someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to make an eye injury compensation claim.

In 2014-15, almost 52,000 eye injuries required hospitalisation in Australia. Of these injuries, the most common was an open wound of the eyelid and surrounding region, with fractures and black eyes also common reasons for hospitalisation. Of these injuries, over one third of all eye injuries were caused by falls. 

Other leading causes of eye injuries were assaults, being hit with an object/hitting an object, or being in a traffic accident. Workplace eye injuries are also common - particularly in the manufacturing industry - with eye (and hand) injuries making up one in five non-fatal claims for work cover.

The consequences of an eye injury can lead to significant personal and financial consequences, so if your eye injury has been caused by someone else’s negligence (for example, in a road accident or while in a public place), or has been suffered at work, you may be eligible for compensation. 

Find out what your legal options are when it comes to claiming compensation for your eye injury, and ensure that you receive the maximum compensation appropriate for your eye injury claim.

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Common eye injuries

Eye injury check up

While any type of eye injury is distressing and uncomfortable, certain types of eye injuries are more common than others. Some of the most common eye injuries include:

  • Scratched eye (corneal abrasion) - happens when an object comes into contact with the surface of the eye, causing an abrasion which can be painful and can sting or burn
  • Retinal detachment - this emergency situation occurs when the thin retina at the back of the eye moves from its usual position. Warning signs include sudden appearance of floaters in the eye and reduced vision, but immediate emergency treatment can help to save your vision.
  • Eye hemorrhage (bleeding) - while this may look uncomfortable, an eye hemorrhage (subconjunctival hemorrhage) is usually harmless and shows up as a red spot which is due to a broken blood vessel. Causes include rough rubbing on the eye, an injury like having something stuck in your eye, or powerful coughing.
  • Black eye - known in medical terms as a periorbital haematoma, a black eye shows up as bruising and swelling around the eye. Usually caused by trauma to the head or face, a black eye can take some days or weeks to resolve and head.
  • Eye socket fractures - a broken bone around the eye socket which is caused by impact to the face. Eye socket fractures can be serious if left untreated and can cause damage to the eyes.
  • Burns and irritations - eyes are sensitive and delicate, and if the surface of the eye comes into contact with chemicals or irritants the eye can become irritated or suffer chemical burns.
  • Damage from a foreign object - it is possible for foreign objects like metal, wood, insects, and a range of other types of irritants to become lodged in the eye causing damage or injury.
  • Loss of an eye - the loss of an eye can happen due to eye trauma, blockage of blood flow, or an acquired brain injury can result in the loss of vision. 

Consequences of an eye injury

Eye injury test

Many of these types of injuries are relatively minor eye injuries, and will likely resolve with minimal medical treatment, while other types of eye injuries can result in the total loss of sight and ongoing pain and suffering. When you have been injured in the eye region it is naturally quite scary as you wonder what will happen long term.

Some of the consequences of an eye injury include:

  • Temporary or permanent loss of vision
  • Blurred or impaired vision due to the injury or trauma to the eye
  • Impaired balance as you learn to adjust to seeing out of one eye
  • Pain and swelling at the site of the injury

Eye injury at work compensation

While it is possible to suffer an eye injury in a range of ways and in many different situations, workplace injuries are sadly all too common when it comes to eyes. 

Workplace eye injuries can be caused in a range of ways, whether it is through the failure of personal protective equipment, or by a worker not wearing the appropriate eye protection equipment. 

In cases where people have been injured while wearing the appropriate eye protection equipment, the injury may have been caused as a result of improper or inadequate training.

Jobs most at risk of eye injuries

While anyone can be struck down with an eye injury, some professions are more prone to eye-related injuries than others. A report from Safe Work Australia found that the most common industry for eye injuries was manufacturing, followed by construction, and mining. 

Unsurprisingly, these industries are ones where workers are using tools and are in proximity to machines and machinery which can cause potentially serious harm to workers.

Some of the professions where eye injuries are common include: 

  • Welders
  • Carpenters
  • Boilermakers
  • Maintenance staff
  • Mechanics
  • Plumbers
  • Bricklayers

Compensation for loss of eye at work

If you have suffered the loss of an eye or the loss of your vision in one or both eyes while you are at work or undertaking employment then you will be covered by WorkCover (or your employer’s workers compensation insurance) no matter who was at fault. This means that even if you were not using eye protection you will still be covered for your injuries and the medical expenses and loss of income suffered as a result of your injury.

Note that if you have suffered the loss of an eye or the loss of your vision at work and the accident was as a result of your employer’s negligence (for example, if your employer did not provide safety glasses/goggles or if your employer did not provide appropriate training) then you may also be able to make a claim for a lump sum in compensation for your injuries.

Workplace injuries to the eye can happen as a result of a range of different causes. If your employer has failed to provide a safe place of work and safe environment in terms of adequate supervision or training then you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

Common causes of workplace negligence resulting in an injury to eyes include:

  • Lack of safety training
  • Inadequate eye protection
  • Machinery not being kept under proper repair
  • Inadequate supervision
  • Failure to provide safety equipment

Compensation for loss of sight in one eye

Loss of eyesight claim

Vision is a huge part of our interaction with the world. If you are a sighted person who has found themselves having to adjust to navigating your life with reduced vision in one or both eyes, or a loss of vision in one eye, then you will know how difficult things can be - at least as you adapt to a new way of living. If your loss of vision was caused in a workplace accident, or as a result of someone else’s negligence, then speak to our compensation lawyers about how you can make a claim for the loss you have suffered, both to your quality of life and for your associated and reasonable medical expenses.

Impacts of losing sight in one eye

The impacts of losing sight in one eye will vary from person to person, and will also depend on the kind of life that you lead, the job you have, and what you do as leisure or personal activities.

Losing vision in one eye can impact on your life in a number of ways, including:

  • Impact on balance
  • Difficulties judging distance of objects
  • Loss of coordination
  • Difficulty in performing tasks
  • Change in behaviours
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Mental health strain such as depression or anxiety
  • Increased strain on the other eye
  • Economic losses

Can I still drive a car if blind in one eye?

Provided that you meet the conditions for medical fitness to drive, then there is no impediment to you driving while blind in one eye. You will have to undertake certain requirements and will have to notify your relevant Transport Authority of any changes.

Laser eye surgery compensation

Laser eye surgery compensation

One of the ways in which eyes can become damaged is through elective surgery such as laser eye surgery. While this sort of side effect is very rare, complications in eye surgery can happen. It is worth noting that this is an incredibly rare side effect and blindness is unlikely to happen during or after your surgery. 

If, however, you have been impacted by laser eye surgery and have suffered an infection or the loss of your vision, please speak to our personal injury lawyers about how we can help you take the appropriate course of action. 

You may be able to make a medical negligence claim for any loss of vision or short or long term pain and suffering.

What amount of compensation can I expect for an eye injury?

When you are injured in your eye the amount of compensation payable will depend on the type of injury suffered and what kind of consequences there are. 

  • If you have lost your sight completely in both eyes, this is the most serious type of accident you can have, and the amount of compensation payable will be high. 
  • If your eye injury is moderate, such as minor (but permanent) impairment in one eye - such as minor and intermittent double vision - then you will be eligible for less compensation, but still sufficient compensation for your loss.

You will be compensated for your loss in ability to work and lost income, both future and current, and will also be compensated for any loss in short or long term quality of life as a result of your accident. This may be compensation for pain and suffering, or it might be compensation for support and care which is now provided by a partner or family member.

Our compensation lawyers can speak to you about how to make eye injury compensation claims, whether you have suffered a minor eye injury or are claiming compensation for a serious injury.

Time limits for eye injury compensation

When you are injured in Queensland you have a certain period of time in which to commence your claim for compensation. The general time limit for a personal injury claim is three (3) years, which means that any claim for compensation must be started within three (3) years from the date of you first sustaining an eye injury. If making a workers compensation claim, you must commence your claim within six (6) months of your accident or injury.

You can read more about certain time limits on our page specific to personal injury claims here. Or, if you would like to know about how to claim, speak to our no win no fee personal injury compensation lawyers today and find out where you stand. 

Posted by Chris McManus Principal

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Disclaimer: Please note, this content is designed as general information only and does not constitute legal advice. While we make every effort to fact check and keep items up to date, legislation may change from time to time. For advice on your specific situation then please contact us.
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