Can I Sue my Employer for an Eye Injury?
February 25, 2022
Understanding Your Rights After an Eye Injury at Work: Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, Explains
Most people would agree that vision is their most important sense. Unfortunately, vision injuries are common in the workplace. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each day, there are roughly 2,000 U.S. workers who sustain a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment, with one-third (1/3) of those injuries being treated in a hospital. Of these victims, more than 100 each day will lose one or more days from work due to their eye injury. Sadly, our workers’ compensation lawyers in Philadelphia, PA, know that many of these eye injuries can be permanent and may result in partial or total loss of vision in one or both eyes.
Although the workers’ compensation (WC) application form may seem straightforward, the process is not always. This is particularly true in eye injury cases. There are many issues that could affect the amount of compensation that an injured worker may recover in an eye injury case, including whether:
- The worker has a pre-existing eye injury
- One or both eyes are injured
- Corrective lens or surgery is required
- A third party may have caused the injuries, and
- A claimant has a workers’ compensation lawyer to help them through the process.
Types of Eye Injuries Due to Work Accidents
There are several different ways that an individual could suffer an eye injury. These injuries can be caused by direct trauma or caustic interaction. Some of the most common causes of eye injuries that may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits include the following:
- Splintered or broken pieces going into the eye (i.e., wood shavings or metal shavings)
- Chemical burns
- Being hit in the eye with an object
- Penetrating eye injuries (i.e., nail or staple)
- Falls and landing on the face or eye (i.e., orbital blowout fractures damaging the eye)
- Thermal burns, and
- Other serious causes of eye injuries.
How Can a Pre-existing Injury or Treatment Plan Affect My Recovery?
Workers’ compensation pays for work-related injuries and illnesses. If you have a pre-existing eye injury or loss of vision, this will affect the total amount of compensation you may be entitled to because it means that the work accident was not the complete cause of your vision issues.
If it is proven that your pre-existing condition reduced your vision by 5%, the WC carrier and medical examiner could subtract that from your total disability. This is particularly true if your eye injury will need surgery, which will also correct any pre-existing injuries.
Treatment plans also affect your recovery. This is because workers’ comp benefits pay for lost wages (up to 2/3s) and medical bills. If you have surgery and are out of work for a longer period of time, it is likely you will have more damages and medical bills than an individual who needs to rest and patch their eye or use corrective lenses.
Why Does It Matter if a Third Party Caused My Eye Injuries?
If a third party’s negligence causes your eye injuries, you may be entitled to recover compensation for pain and suffering against that individual in a personal injury lawsuit (but not your employer). Workers’ comp benefits do not cover pain and suffering. This means that a third-party lawsuit will often result in a greater recovery than just a WC claim.
Did You Suffer an Eye Injury at Work? We Can Help
If you or a loved one suffered any type of eye injury or work-related injury or illness, call Larry Pitt & Associates for help. For over 40 years we have represented victims and their families for work-related accidents and injuries, helping them navigate the workers’ compensation laws to avoid pitfalls. Learn more about how our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers in Philadelphia, PA, can help you by calling (888)-PITT-LAW or (877) 748-8529, or by sending us a message through our easy-to-use contact us box available here.