Eye surgery error claims in Ireland are relatively rare due to an ongoing Continuing Professional Development initiative run by the Irish College of Ophthalmologists. However, whenever irreversible errors in eye surgery occur, the consequences can be life-changing.
Losing – or partially losing – the sight of one eye can affect your ability to work, drive, and pursue pastimes you previously enjoyed. A lack of full vision can also result in the development of confidence issues and other psychological injuries.
If these adverse events occur due to the negligence of a person who owed you a duty of care, you will likely be able to claim compensation for an injury due to eye surgery. To ensure you are eligible to make eye surgery error claims, it is in your best interests to speak with a solicitor.
Eye Surgery Error Claims and Informed Consent
One of the first things you will asked by a solicitor is whether or not you gave your informed consent prior to undergoing eye surgery. If the risks of a procedure were fully explained to you, and you were asked if you understood the risks before signing a consent form, claiming compensation for an eye surgery injury that was unavoidable at the time and in the circumstances may be difficult.
If you sustained an avoidable injury – or the risks of a procedure were not fully explained to you – eye surgery error claims in Ireland are usually more straightforward. Complications only arise if you had a pre-existing condition about which you failed to inform your ophthalmologist, or if you sustained a post-operative injury after cataract surgery due to your own lack of care.
Laser Eye Surgery Claims and Cataract Surgery Claims
Eye surgery error claims can relate to errors made prior to surgery, during surgery or after surgery. For example, the failure by an ophthalmologist to identify a pre-existing condition prior to laser eye surgery can have adverse consequences either during surgery or after surgery. Even though you may have developed a post-operative injury, the error responsible for causing it may have occurred pre-surgery.
As more cataract removal procedures are performed each year, the number of cataract surgery claims is naturally higher. The two leading causes of cataract surgery claims are the implantation of the wrong intraocular lens and the incorrect administration of antibiotics – both avoidable errors that will entitle you to compensation for an eye surgery injury irrespective of whether informed consent was provided.
Symptoms of Eye Surgery Injuries to be Aware Of
After undergoing any type of eye surgery it is natural that you will experience mild pain, sensitivity to light and blurred vision. However, if your blurred vision persists, and you start to suffer headaches and night blindness, this could be a sign of damage to the lens of the eye, the cornea or retina. In these circumstances you should always seek immediate professional medical advice.
If you experience a continuing deterioration of your eyesight, this could be a sign that a pre-existing condition was overlooked prior to your surgery. You should return to your ophthalmologist and explain your sight has not improved. Many of these issues can be resolved with corrective surgery, but you will still be able to claim compensation for an eye surgery injury for your unnecessary pain and discomfort.
Claiming Compensation for an Eye Surgery Injury
Eye surgery error claims in Ireland come under the category of medical negligence and therefore you will be unable to apply to the Injuries Board for an assessment of your claim. Instead a solicitor will investigate the cause of your injury, determine whether it is due to negligence, and advise you whether you are entitled to compensation for an eye surgery injury.
If you are entitled to compensation, your solicitor will write to the negligent party, informing them of your claim and supporting the claim with the evidence of negligence he or she has compiled. If liability is acknowledged, your solicitor will negotiate a settlement of compensation for an eye surgery injury. If liability is denied, it may be necessary to resolve the claim through the court system.
Compensation Settlements for Eye Surgery Error Claims
Compensation settlements for eye surgery error claims vary considerably depending on your age, how good your vision is in the eye that has not been injured, and whether the injury can be reversed through corrective surgery. Based on guidance from the Book of Quantum, compensation settlements for eye surgery error claims can range from €25,200 to €138,000 for a permanent loss of vision in one eye.
In addition to the general damages for your pain and suffering, you will also be able to claim compensation for any verifiable psychological injury you have suffered, the impact the injury has had on your quality of life, and any loss of income or other expenses you have incurred. Compensation settlements for eye surgery error claims can be reduced if you have contributed to the cause or extent of your injury by your own lack of care.
Get Legal Advice about Compensation for an Eye Surgery Injury
No two eye surgery error claims are the same, so it is important that you receive prompt legal advice about your entitlement to claim compensation for an eye surgery injury. Most medical negligence solicitors in Ireland offer a free consultation service, through which you can receive practical and impartial advice about making eye surgery error claims in Ireland.
There is a time limit of two years for making eye surgery error claims in Ireland starting from the date on which you were first diagnosed with an injury attributable to negligence. Two years may seem like a long time, but the investigative process can eat into it considerably. Therefore, if you or a family member has suffered an adverse event before, during or after eye surgery, and you believe that it may be due to the negligence of somebody who owed you a duty of care, get legal advice about compensation for an eye surgery injury at the earliest possible opportunity.