Serious eye injuries and loss of vision at work are risks that are present in a number of workplaces. Workers in construction and industrial sites are especially at a greater risk of suffering eye injuries because they handle tools, equipment and hazardous chemicals. Eye damage suffered on the job can often be difficult to fix and could be impossible to treat when workers don't get the medical care and intervention they need right away.
A number of work-related eye injuries lead to permanent loss of vision, partial blindness or even total blindness. If you have suffered an eye injury on the job, it is important to understand what the process is to file a claim and seek the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Average Settlements for Eye Injuries
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the average total cost of eye injury workers' compensation claims nationally is about $26,500, which typically covers medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. The amount of settlement you receive for an eye injury could range from several thousand dollars for mild or moderate injuries (swelling, irritation, corneal tears, eye burns, etc.) to a much larger settlement for serious consequences such as permanent vision loss, blindness and life threatening conditions.
The more severe your eye injury, the larger your settlement is likely to be. For example, if you lost your ability to earn a livelihood because of loss of vision, you may be eligible to receive greater compensation for permanent disability. If you file a personal injury lawsuit (third-party claim) against a party other than your employer who might have caused your workplace accident, you may be eligible to receive additional compensation for lost future income and pain and suffering.
If you suffered an eye injury on the job in California, you may have a work injury claim for items such as:
- Medical expenses relating to the eye injury
- Partial compensation for lost wages and benefits
- Benefits for permanent vision loss or impairment
- Vocational rehabilitation, when applicable
- Reimbursement for travel related to getting medical care
Under California law, all employers are required to purchase workers' compensation insurance. Therefore, your employer's insurer will be responsible for your medical bills including cost of surgery, hospitalization and other treatments that are necessary for your recovery. In addition, a portion of your lost wages should also be covered under workers' comp benefits.
Can I File a Claim for an Eye Injury?
If you have suffered an eye injury while on the job, you it might be in your best interest to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Here are examples of eye injuries for which you may be able to seek benefits:
- Eye swelling
- Bleeding in the eye
- Corneal abrasion or scratched cornea
- Foreign objects in the eye
- Inflammation of the iris
- Hypema or bleeding in the front chamber of the eye
- Detached retina
- Penetration injuries
- Thermal or chemical burn injurie
- Orbital bone fracture
If you suffer an injury on the job that causes pain or vision loss, it is important that you stop working right away and get prompt medical attention. You should do this even if your vision loss is temporary. Not taking care of these injuries immediately could leave you with long-term vision issues that could become permanent.
Any time you have pain in the eye or vision loss, you should stop work immediately and get treatment. Failing to address eye injuries right away can lead to long-term problems with your sight that may be irreversible.
What Steps Should I Take to Get Compensation?
Here are some steps that are important to help protect your rights:
- Make sure you report your work-related eye injury to your employer. Your incident report should document the date, time, place and type of injury you suffered.
- Get medical attention promptly and follow your doctor's orders for treatment and care.
- File a claim with your employer
- File an "application for adjudication of claim with the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB).
In addition to workers' compensation benefits, you may also be able to file a separate personal injury lawsuit or third-party claim against a party other than your employer. Examples of such third parties include a contractor, sub-contractor, construction firm, property owner or manufacturer of a defective product. For example, if a defective nail gun caused a nail to discharge suddenly and cause your eye injury, in addition to workers' comp, you can also file a third-party lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective nail gun. An experienced Los Angeles eye injury settlement lawyer can help you assess all your options.
Common Industries Where Workplace Eye Injuries Occur
Eye injuries are more common in industries such as construction, manufacturing, welding and mining. While there is more risk of eye injuries in these industries, they could happen anywhere at anytime - even in office settings. If you work in a high-risk industry such as construction, it is crucial that you are provided with eye protection such as goggles.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide workers eye or face protection when exposed to hazards such as flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors or potentially injurious light radiation.
Work Injury Lawyer for Eye Injury Claims
The experienced Los Angeles eye injury lawyer at Greenberg and Ruby help injured clients secure maximum compensation for their damages and losses. We will explore all potential avenues of compensation on your behalf. We don't charge any fees unless we have helped you secure a settlement or jury award. Call us at (323) 782-0535 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.