If you or a loved one has suffered an avoidable eye problem or loss of sight after a laser eye treatment or cataract removal procedure, it may be possible to make eye surgery error compensation claims – even if the injury you sustained can be corrected by revision surgery.
It is sometime also possible to claim compensation for negligent eye surgery when the injury you suffered was unavoidable and a known complication of eye surgery, but you had not been informed of the risks and were therefore unable to give your informed consent.
Due to the complicated nature of eye surgery error compensation claims, no two claims are identical. It is recommended that you speak with a solicitor, who will assess your specific circumstances and advise you whether it is worthwhile for you to pursue compensation for negligent eye surgery.
Common Eye Surgery Errors and Their Causes
There are many different types of eye surgery errors and reasons why they occur. It is extremely rare for an ophthalmologist to operate on the wrong eye or on the wrong patient, and the most common reasons for injuries due to negligent eye surgery are due to errors made before the surgery takes place.
These errors include overlooking a pre-existing condition in a patient that would make them unsuitable for laser eye surgery, or selecting the wrong intraocular lens to replace a patient´s natural lens in cataract surgery. Pre-operative administrative errors can also result in eye surgery injuries.
The number of injuries sustained during surgery are relatively small, and often correctable by revision surgery. More damaging can be the misadministration of antibiotics – for example when an antibiotic that has been diluted for sub-conjunctive use is administered intracamerally.
Post-Operative Errors and Contributory Negligence
Many eye surgery-related injuries result from a lack of post-operative care. After a laser eye treatment or cataract removal procedure, you are supposed to receive comprehensive instructions on how to prevent infection and reduce the pain and sensitivity that follows any eye surgery.
You are also supposed to have a check-up after a week, and a further examination after approximately six weeks when any complications should be identified. If you are not given instructions or a check-up appointment – or a subsequent examination fails to identify a complication – you will be able to make eye surgery error compensation claims if the error results in an injury.
It is important to note that if a complication develops due to your own failure to follow eye care instructions or attend a follow-up appointment, it will likely be impractical to claim compensation for negligent eye surgery. This is because the cause of the injury – or the extent of the injury – will be attributable to your own lack of care. In legal terms this is referred to as contributory negligence.
Making Eye Surgery Error Compensation Claims in Ireland
The Injuries Board has no remit to assess eye surgery error compensation claims, so you will need a solicitor to act on your behalf. Your solicitor will first investigate the cause of your injury, and arrange for an examination of your injury by an independent medical expert to determine whether the injury could have been avoided with greater care.
Once negligence has been established, your solicitor will send a letter of claim to the negligent party, supporting the letter with the evidence of negligence and inviting the negligent party to make an offer of settlement. If liability for your injury is acknowledged, your solicitor will enter into negotiations to settle your claim for an appropriate amount of compensation for negligent eye surgery.
When eye surgery error compensation claims are contested, the usual procedure is to issue court proceedings. This does not necessarily mean you will be forced to endure the stress of a hearing, as many claims are settled after court proceedings have been issued. Your solicitor will keep you up-to-date with your options as the claim progresses.
How Much Compensation for Negligent Eye Surgery?
In the same way as no two eye surgery error compensation claims in Ireland are identical, neither are settlements of compensation for negligent eye surgery. Your solicitor will assess the value of your compensation claim based on whether the injury can be corrected by revision surgery or, if not, how good the vision is in your eye that has not suffered an injury.
In addition to “general” compensation for negligent eye surgery, your solicitor will take into account any provable psychological injury you have sustained – such as a loss of confidence – the deterioration in your quality of life, any expenses you have incurred and any loss of income. In certain employment categories, the loss of income – both present and future – can be substantial.
Because it is not always known what the long-term consequences of an eye injury due to negligent surgery will be, the resolution of your claim may take a little while. If your loss of income causes you financially difficulty while you are waiting for your claim to be resolved, your solicitor can apply for interim payments of compensation once liability for your injury has been acknowledged.
Find Out More about Eye Surgery Error Compensation Claims in Ireland
If you or a family member has suffered an injury due to negligent eye surgery, it is important to find out whether you are entitled to make eye surgery error compensation claims at the earliest practical opportunity. A solicitor will be able to give you advice relevant to your individual circumstances, make a preliminary assessment of your claim, and guide you through the process for claiming compensation for negligent eye surgery in Ireland.