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.
Key Points - Table of Contents
- Average Settlements for Eye Injuries
- Settlement Calculator
- How Common is an Eye Injury at Work?
- Common Industries Where Workplace Eye Injuries Occur
- Common Causes of Eye Injuries in Personal Injury Claims
- Problems Resulting from Eye Injuries
- What Types of Accidents Can Result in Blindness?
- Can I File a Claim for an Eye Injury?
- What Steps Should I Take to Get Compensation?
- How Much Compensation Can I Claim for an Eye Injury?
- Work Injury Lawyer for Eye Injury Claims
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 decide to go this route, it is a good idea to schedule a free consultation with a workplace injury attorney.
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.
If you suffered an eye injury on the job as a result of someone else's negligence, an eye injury calculator is likely to evaluate the following losses or damages that you sustained:
Current medical costs: These refer to the total cost of medical and other related expenses you have incurred because of your eye injury. These could include anything from emergency room costs, hospitalization surgery and other treatments.
Future medical bills: These may involve medical costs relating procedures or treatment you may need in the future for your eye injury such as medical equipment or home health care, which may be required due to loss of vision.
Lost income: Many eye injury victims are unable to work temporarily or permanently after their accident. Pay stubs or time sheets can be used to calculate loss of income.
Loss of earning capacity: This refers to diminished earnings as a result of a serious eye injury. This means the victim is unable to perform the same work that he or she was doing prior to the accident.
Pain and suffering: While it may be challenging to put a price tag on pain and suffering, it is possible to do so with the help of an experienced lawyer. Your attorney will factor in permanent disfigurement or disability into these calculations.
How Common is an Eye Injury at Work?
Eye injuries are extremely common in the workplace. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 18,510 eye-related injury or illness cases that resulted in at least one day away from work in 2020. This was an incidence rate of 1.7 cases per 10,000 full-time workers.
Statistics show that contact with objects or equipment led to the majority (11,980 cases) of eye injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work in 2020. Of these cases, 59.6% resulted from the worker rubbing or being abraded by a foreign matter in the eye. Also, 35.6% resulted from the eye being struck by an object or piece of equipment.
Construction workers had 2,120 eye-related injury or illness cases in 2020, while material-moving workers had 1,860. Among construction workers, 31.1% of eye injury and illness cases involved construction laborers. Electricians made up 22.6 % of these cases according to the BLS numbers.
Generally, workplace eye injuries range from superficial eye injuries to severe trauma that can cause permanent damage, vision loss and blindness. Moreover, they cost an estimated $300 million a year in lost productivity, medical treatment and workers compensation. If you have suffered an eye injury on the job, it would be in your best interest to contact an experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer who can help you better understand your legal rights and 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.
Common Causes of Eye Injuries in Personal Injury Claims
When workers perform specific jobs, they may become injured. Eye injuries can particularly be not only painful, but also disabling. Workers must be provided with protective gear such as goggles when they do jobs that put them at risk for eye damage. Some of the most common causes of eye injuries in personal injury claims are as follows:
- Flying or falling objects or debris. These types of accidents often occur on construction sites where falling and/or flying objects are fairly common.
- Explosions or fires that cause burns or sparks that hit or affect workers' eyes.
- Head injuries or brain damage. When the part of the brain that is connected to the eyes is damages in a work-related accident, serious damage including vision loss could occur.
- Chemical or light exposure that could cause harmful radiation.
- When the eye is poked or subject to blunt force trauma.
- Car accidents are a common cause of eye injuries. Such injuries could occur in a crash either from impact during a collision or as the result of shattered glass.
- Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents could also result in eye injuries.
Regardless of what caused your eye injury, if you suspect negligence or wrongdoing was involved, it is important that you contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to evaluate your legal options.
Problems Resulting from Eye Injuries
Relatively mild eye injuries often heal with some time, rest and treatment. However, if you have suffered a serious work injury on the job, you may need immediate treatment or surgery to minimize the damage and get on the road to recovery. However, sadly, so many eye injuries cause permanent damage, which could range from some vision loss to total blindness.
It is also important to understand that some types of eye injuries may require several surgeries over time. Even surgical intervention may only fix the problem partially and help improve vision without fully restore it. Depending on the nature and severity of their injury, victims may have to adapt to a new lifestyle because of their vision loss. If you have completely lost your sight as the result of a workplace accident, you will likely require ongoing care and significant rehabilitation to understand how you can adapt to being blind.
Victims of eye injuries often end up losing their ability to work and earn a living for their families. Even if you suffered partial vision loss, you may need corrective lenses. Even in such cases, you may have ongoing problems with peripheral vision or reading. An experienced work injury lawyer will assess the totality of your losses and help you seek fair compensation.
What Types of Accidents Can Result in Blindness?
A number of accidents and traumatic incidents could lead to serious eye injuries. Such injuries could result in partial or total loss of vision. When the optical nerve, cornea or other sensitive parts of the eye are damaged or an area of the brain that is connected to vision is damaged in an accident, it could result in blindness.
Car Accidents: One of the most common causes of eye injuries that lead to trauma is blunt force trauma, which often occurs in car accidents or other vehicle-related accidents. Car accidents could also cause trauma, where an object penetrates the eye and damages it.
Physical Trauma : Physical trauma could lead to injuries such as corneal abrasion, injuries to the iris, lacerations or tears and foreign objects in the eye. These types of accidents may occur in the workplace or in the course of someone carrying their job duties as a result of car accidents, fires, explosions or getting struck by objects, tools or equipment.
Burns or Exposure to Chemicals: When you are exposed to chemicals on the job, you may suffer severe eye injuries, which could lead to loss of vision. Chemical burns on the job could also cause these types of eye injuries.
Regardless of what type of accident causes your eye injury on the job, it is crucial that you contact an experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer who will protect your rights every step of the way and help you secure maximum compensation for your losses.
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.
How Much Compensation Can I Claim for an Eye Injury?
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that the average cost of eye injury workers' compensation that is claimed nationally is about $26,568 in medical expenses and lost income. In many cases, depending on the nature and severity of the injury, a work injury settlement would cover costs involving medical care, physical therapy and other ongoing medical treatment and loss of income.
Here are some of the factors that might affect how much compensation you can claim for a work-related eye injury:
Injury severity: The more serious your eye injury is, the more compensation you may be able to receive. For example, if you suffered permanent and total vision loss, you may be able to receive much more compensation than if you had suffered a relatively minor injury that healed in a few weeks.
Liability: In workplace eye injury cases, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit or third-party claim against a party other than your employer. In such cases, you must prove that the other party was negligent in order to receive compensation.
Insurance coverage: The amount of insurance coverage that is available could affect how much you can claim for an eye injury. For example, if the defendant has a $100,000 liability policy, you may be able to claim up to that policy limit. An experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer can help you understand how to claim additional compensation.
Your damages: If you suffered serious eye injuries and severe damages as a result, you may be able to claim more compensation. In addition to economic damages, you may also be able to receive non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of consortium.
Work Injury Lawyer for Eye Injury Claims
The experienced Los Angeles eye injury lawyer at Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys, APC 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.