Overview of Eye Injuries
Your eye can get injured in any number of ways. You may have an accident resulting in eye damage. Or a surgery error or medical treatment you undergo goes wrong. Even a product you use or medication you take could cause an eye injury.
Roughly 2.4 million people sustain eye injuries each year in the United States. Household products cause roughly 125,000 eye injuries annually. (1)
“A foreign body in the eye is the most common type of injury, accounting for 35% of the total. Open wounds and contusions each account for about 25%, and the remaining injuries are burns.” (2)
Eye Damage from an Accident
Personal injury accidents can lead to severe eye trauma. You can sustain an eye injury from a: (3)
- Blow to the eye with a hard object or fist — Injuries can involve your eyelids, bones and muscles surrounding your eye, and your eye’s inner tissues. You can be hurt from baseballs, rocks, or a person’s fist, for example. If your injury is severe, you could sustain broken bones, bleeding inside your eye itself, and damaged bone and muscle.
- Cut or scratch caused by a foreign object — Seemingly small objects like a stick, grain of sand, or sliver of glass can accidentally scratch your eye. This can damage your cornea, the clear protective covering over your eye. Scratches can lead to many types of injury including blurred vision, sensitivity to light, pain, and redness.
- Chemical burn — Soap, shampoo, or even makeup, can get in your eyes and irritate them. Oven or drain cleaners and fertilizers can burn the tissues of your eyes. Chemical vapors and acids like bleach are also dangerous. Depending on the chemical, how long it remains in your eye, and how deeply it penetrated, you can experience minor damage or irreversible injury.
- Medication — Some medications, such as Elmiron, can damage your eyes permanently. You can develop specific types of maculopathy Symptoms may include blurred vision, vision impairment, vision loss, or even blindness.
Eye Injuries Due to Medical Malpractice
Medical professionals must follow reasonable standards of care. If they don’t, these types of situations can lead to medical malpractice:
- Misdiagnosis of an eye disease, leading to unnecessary treatment or treatment delay — A misdiagnosis can mean the difference between enjoying a high quality of life, living with chronic pain or disability, or even death. Some estimates suggest “more than 100,000 Americans die or are permanently disabled each year due to medical diagnoses that initially miss conditions or are wrong or delayed.” Clinical misjudgment by medical professionals is a leading cause of misdiagnosis. (4)
- Infection caused by equipment — Infection due to contaminated surgical instruments can lead to sepsis and death. “Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection. It is a life-threatening medical emergency.” You can develop sepsis if you get an infection and it “triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. … Without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.” (5)
- Surgical errors — Surgical mistakes can lead to serious complications. Doctors can operate on the wrong body part, perform the wrong surgery, perform the right surgery on the wrong side of the body, and make mistakes during surgery itself. Responsible medical professionals are expected to follow specific procedures and protocols for preventing these kinds of mistakes. (6)
If you suffered from an eye injury due to an accident, contact us today to understand your legal rights.
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Types of Eye Injuries
Some eye injuries are relatively minor. Other injuries may require a visit to the emergency room (ER) and specialized treatment: (7)
- Bleeding — Bleeding on the surface of your eye can result from trauma. “A subconjunctival hemorrhage happens when blood appears in the clear skin part of the eye (the conjunctiva) that covers the white part (the sclera). Blood can also pool between the cornea and the iris (the clear transparent [part] of the eye and the colored part).” (8)
- Burns — These can be either chemical or physical.
- Corneal abrasion — The transparent protective covering of your eye gets scratched or otherwise damaged.
- Fractures — The bones surrounding your eye can fracture. “In an orbital blowout fracture, bones inside the eye socket shatter.” (9)
- Detached retina — If the thin tissue at the back of your eye pulls away from the eye wall, you can lose vision permanently.
Medications such as Elmiron, pentosan polysulfate sodium, can harm your eyes. Symptoms of pigmentary maculopathy include:
- Difficulty reading and prolonged dark adaptation.
- Blurred vision.
- Perceptual distortion.
- Vision loss.
- Light sensitivity.
- Impaired depth perception.
Legal Options in an Eye Injury Lawsuit
If the negligent behavior of someone else caused your eye injury, you can file a lawsuit seeking compensation. This is true whether the cause is due to personal injury or medical malpractice.
In New York, like in all states, you have a limited amount of time to file your lawsuit. This “statute of limitations” is typically only a few years. However, it is in your best interests to reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as your injury occurs.
When the statute of limitations closes, you cannot file a lawsuit against the people or corporations responsible for the injuries you suffered. It is best to proceed sooner, rather than later.
Personal Injury Eye Lawsuit
As you go about your daily life, the other people around you are expected to exercise reasonable care. This includes business owners, neighbors, teachers, principals, coaches, and landlords. If their actions or inactions lead to your severe injury, it could be considered negligence. (10)
If you were injured by someone else, intentionally or negligently, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit. Your attorney has to prove the business or person who injured you was negligent.
If you've experienced an eye injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
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Medical Malpractice Eye Lawsuit
Thousands of people each year die from errors medical professionals make. It could be misdiagnosing your medical condition, not treating you appropriately, waiting too long to treat your condition, prescribing the wrong medication, or making surgical mistakes. Any medical professional’s misconduct and poor judgement can lead to severe injury.
If you suffered significant eye injury due to a medical professional who owed you a duty and breached it, you can file for medical malpractice.
How W&L Can Help
If you or a loved one has sustained a severe eye injury in New York, you need a New York attorney who has extensive experience handling personal injury, wrongful death, and medical malpractice cases. Weitz & Luxenberg has been representing clients harmed by the actions of others for over three decades.
We have a proven success record. Here are a few examples of our wins:
- $10 million settlement — While on a school field trip, a teenage boy was severely injured when a zip line malfunctioned. He lost his sight in one eye due to the zip line’s negligently designed brake system.
- $100,000s settlement — A woman suffered permanent damage to part of the protective covering of her brain when a suitcase fell from an overhead bin on an airplane. The airline was held responsible for the woman’s ongoing cognitive difficulties, short-term memory problems, headaches, neck pain, and severely reduced quality of life.
- $1.975 million settlement — A woman died from a ruptured appendix due to grievous medical errors and misdiagnoses. She reported to an ER due to nausea and vomiting. She may have lived if she had received appropriate, timely treatment.
- $13.5 million jury victory — A jury awarded our client a multimillion dollar verdict with punitive damages. The case involved Vioxx, a medication intended to treat arthritis and other pain conditions. Our client is just one of hundreds of thousands who suffered heart attacks and other debilitating complications after taking this drug.