Is a court appearance necessary to recover compensation for laser eye surgery gone wrong after I developed night vision problems which will need revision surgery to correct?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Although claims for compensation for laser eye surgery gone wrong are considered to be medical negligence claims, and consequently any the Injuries Board Ireland will reject any applications for assessment submitted to them, you may be able to recover compensation for negligent laser eye surgery without your claim having to be litigated in court.

The first thing to do is to speak with a medical negligence solicitor. The solicitor will organise an eye examination by an expert ophthalmologist and a review of your notes prior to and during the leaser eye surgery. The solicitor will also study the medical consent form you will have signed prior to undergoing the procedure and ask you if you were informed of the potential risks associated with the surgery. If it transpires that you were not able to give “informed consent” prior to the surgery due to a lack of information, it may be possible to proceed with a compensation claim for laser eye surgery gone wrong even if your injury is not attributable to your surgeon´s lack of skill.

Once it has been established that that you were not fully informed of the potential risks of undergoing laser eye surgery or that an avoidable injury occurred due to the lack of skill of your surgeon a Letter of Claim will be sent to the surgeon, advising him or her that you are making a claim for compensation for laser eye surgery errors. The Letter of Claim will be supported by the evidence of negligence compiled by the expert ophthalmologist and/or by your solicitor´s interpretation of the information you were given prior to signing the medical consent form.

If liability for your night vision problems is acknowledged, your solicitor will enter into negotiations with the medical practitioner´s insurance company (or HSE if your procedure was performed in your local hospital) to obtain the maximum possible settlement of compensation for laser eye surgery gone wrong on your behalf. Only if liability is denied or there is a dispute over how much compensation for negligent laser eye surgery you are entitled to, might your claim for a laser eye surgery injury have to be heard in court.

As a general guideline, insurance companies will avoid court action whenever possible – especially when a solicitor has compiled a particularly strong case on your behalf. Even if your solicitor has to issue court proceedings to prompt action from the insurance company, it is often the case that the medical practitioner´s insurers will settle a claim for a laser eye surgery injury rather than take a chance on how a judge may view your case and how much compensation for laser eye surgery gone wrong the judge might award.

As night vision problems can have a significant influence on your quality of life, it would be in your best interests to speak with an experienced solicitor at the first possible opportunity in order that your claim can be initiated quickly and a settlement of compensation for negligent laser eye surgery organised to pay for the revision surgery you need.