If you need vision care, the first professional you will probably see is an optician. An optician is a licensed technician that will give the necessary assessment and correction to your eyesight. They will use a variety of equipment to fit and adjust eyewear, such as spectacles or contact lenses.
Opticians can also conduct eye check-ups and exams and recommend any necessary treatments. Like all healthcare professionals, they have a duty to provide you with a reasonable standard of care, skill and knowledge.
Our eyes are by far the most important sensory organs. If an optician fails to rectify an eye problem or diagnose an underlying illness, you may sustain a further injury or worsening of a condition. An eye injury can severely affect your quality of life and your ability to carry out daily tasks.
If you or a loved one suffered an eye injury because of misdiagnosis or negligent treatment by an optician, it could be very distressing. It may also cause severe emotional trauma and significant financial losses.
If an optician breached their duty of care towards you, you might be eligible to make an optician negligence claim. An experienced solicitor can let you know if you have a valid case and whether you can make a claim on a no win no fee basis.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a claim and can answer any questions you may have.
Can I make an optician negligence claim?
The best way to find out if you can make an optician negligence claim is by contacting a legal adviser. There is no risk involved in asking for professional advice, as you will receive a free consultation to discuss your case, with no further obligations to pursue a claim.
Usually, it should be possible to make a claim if you became aware of an injury within the past three years, and a solicitor can demonstrate the following points:
- That you received care or treatment below the accepted standard in the field?
- That you suffered an eye injury as a result?
- That your injury caused you personal and financial losses?
Your solicitor will get your medical records and consult with medicolegal experts to prove that your optician acted negligently by establishing:
- A duty of care – If an optician agrees to treat you, they automatically owe a duty of care. This means they must act as a skilful and competent optician with the same level of training would in the same circumstances.
- A breach of duty – If your optician failed to do something within their duty or did something they should not have done, your solicitor can establish a breach of duty.
- Causation – To have a valid optician negligence claim, you must be able to prove that the optician’s actions caused you an eye injury. If you received substandard treatment but did not suffer any damage, your case will not stand.
- Damages – You need evidence of any physical injury, psychological trauma and financial losses you suffered because of optician negligence.
Some evidence that could help you build a strong claim includes:
- Medical records and documents related to the diagnosis, surgery or treatment you received
- An official complaint related to the injury you sustained
- Contact details of any witnesses
- Photographs of any damage to your eyes, if applicable
- Proof of lost earnings and any other financial expenses you incurred
What is optician negligence?
Opticians are healthcare professionals qualified to prescribe and dispense corrective eyewear like glasses or contact lenses. They also help clients choose the appropriate eyewear according to their particular circumstances, such as sports activities or facial traits. The more specific duties of an optician include:
- Make sure prescriptions are a match to glasses or contact lenses
- Use specialised equipment to fit and adjust the eyewear
- Take customer information and ocular measurements
- Educate customers on how to wear and maintain eyewear
- Perform administrative duties like managing customer records and prescriptions
- Advise patients on eyewear features and frame styles
- Conduct check-ups to test the eye health and vision
- Recommend corrective treatments when necessary
All opticians have a duty to provide a high standard of care and treatment. They should keep updated on the latest technologies and best practices, ensuring customers get the best care possible.
Optician negligence occurs if one of their actions or inactions causes an eye injury or the worsening of a pre-existing condition. Even prescribing the wrong lenses could weaken your vision and lead to debilitating headaches. Sometimes, it may require corrective surgery or may even cause permanent damage.
If you or a loved one received substandard care, you might be able to make an optician negligence claim. Negligence claims can be very long and complex, and the best way to secure the compensation you deserve is by having an experienced solicitor represent you.
They will investigate your claim and consult with eye specialists to prove that you received substandard care. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) offers extensive guidelines that solicitors and medicolegal experts use as a standard of care. Acting contrarily to these guidelines will likely be seen as optician negligence.
What are the main types of optician negligence?
Optician negligence refers to any situation where a professional breached their duty of care towards you by offering substandard care or treatment. If that caused you an eye injury, you could be eligible for optician negligence compensation.
Some examples of negligence include:
- Failure to identify an eye condition during an exam, which may progressively worsen and damage the eyesight.
- Prescribing the wrong strength glasses or contact lenses could cause debilitating headaches and permanently weaken your vision.
- Using unsanitary tools when performing an eye check-up may cause infections, which could damage your eyes.
- Misdiagnosis of an eye condition – with a wrong diagnosis, you may receive the incorrect treatment, causing further damage.
- A delay in referral to an eye specialist could cause the worsening of a condition, making it harder to cure.
- Failure to refer the patient to a specialist when needed may cause further, unnecessary damage.
- Overlooking a severe eye condition, either by diagnosing it as a less severe illness or altogether missing it.
- Negligent treatment of an eye condition may cause avoidable damage or the worsening of a pre-existing condition.
- Incorrect laser eye treatment – although it has a great success rate, eye surgery is a complex procedure that can cause severe damage when errors are made.
These are some situations in which you could suffer an eye injury or the worsening of a condition due to an optician’s negligent care. If you are eligible for an optician negligence claim, your case could fall into one of the several different types of negligence:
- Gross negligence – is the most severe type of negligence. It means your optician showed a blatant disregard for their duty towards you. It involves a reckless behaviour that no reasonable person would commit under the same circumstances.
- Vicarious liability – refers to a unique type of negligence where the business or organisation that employed the optician is held liable for their negligent actions.
- Contributory negligence – in this case, you are partially responsible for the harm done to yourself. You could still make a claim, but your compensation will be deducted by a percentage equal to your part of the blame. If your responsibility is more than 50%, you might not be eligible for optician negligence compensation.
If you believe your optician breached their duty of care towards you, you should contact a professional solicitor. They can let you know if you have a valid optical negligence claim and answer any questions you may have. For a free consultation, call 0800 678 1410 or enter your details to receive a call back.
What type of injuries can be caused by a negligent optician?
There are many different symptoms that you could experience due to optician negligence. The symptoms alone do not constitute concrete evidence to make a claim but could indicate an underlying issue. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see a specialist and get a medical diagnosis:
- Severe headaches and migraines
- Dry eyes
- Poor night vision
- Excessive tearing or watering of the eyes
- Eye strain
- Double vision
- Poor vision sharpness during the day
- Shoulder and neck pain
- Trouble reading
- Partial or complete loss of vision
Furthermore, a negligent eye injury may lead to psychological symptoms, including:
- Mental strain
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of confidence
- Overall reduced quality of life
To be able to make a valid optician negligence claim, you will need to prove cause and effect, as negligence can occur without causing damage. Some examples of how optician negligence may cause an eye injury include:
- A faster decline in vision due to an incorrect prescription of glasses or contact lenses
- Delayed diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma resulting in permanent nerve or blood vessel damage, which may cause reduction or loss of vision
- Delayed recovery from an eye illness due to receiving the wrong treatment
- Damage to tear ducts or cornea scratches due to failed laser eye surgery
- Developing an eye infection due to poor optician hygiene standards
- Swelling of the eye due to accidental contact with a piece of equipment or prescribing the wrong medication
- Repeated and severe headaches or migraines due to an incorrect prescription
- Damaged or lost eyesight due to surgery mistakes
- Eyesight decline due to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of an eye problem
If you or a loved one suffered any type of eye injury due to substandard care or treatment, you might be able to make an optician negligence claim. If you feel you may have a valid compensation claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser.
How much compensation can I claim for optician negligence?
The amount of optician negligence compensation you might receive if your case is successful depends on the type and severity of your injury. Your solicitor will carefully consider how this affected your life to calculate a suitable award.
In every optician negligence claim, the compensation will cover:
- The medical expenses for treatments and corrective surgeries related to the eye injury
- Costs of any necessary visual aids
- Travel expenses to and from medical appointments
- Lost wages from being temporarily or permanently unable to return to work
- Physical pain and suffering
- Psychological and emotional distress
- Loss of a unique career
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of prospects and enjoyment of life
- Loss of amenity to compensate for the inability to pursue a hobby or leisure activity
According to the guidelines published by the Judicial College, you could receive the following compensation awards for an injury caused by optician negligence:
- £2,070 to £3,710 for a short-lived injury that causes no permanent damage
- £3,710 up to £8,200 for a minor injury causing some initial pain and temporary vision problems
- £8,550 to £19,690 for relatively mild eye injuries causing permanent sensitivity to bright lights or double vision
- £22,230 to £36,960 for more severe injuries causing partial loss of sight in one eye
- £46,240 to £51,460 for complete loss of sight in one eye, with or without scarring
- £51,460 to £61,690 for the total loss of one eye, also considering cosmetic effects and psychiatric issues
- £60,010 to £99,440 for loss of sight in one eye and reduced vision in the other
- £90,100 to £168,730 for loss of sight in one eye and potential severe deterioration in the remaining eye
- Up to £252,180 for total blindness in both eyes
To learn more about your optician negligence compensation prospects, call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser.
Is there a time limit to make a claim against an optician?
According to the Limitation Act 1980, you have three years to bring an optician negligence claim after an injury occurred. However, if your symptoms developed over time, you could make a claim within three years after receiving a diagnosis.
The three-year time limit to start legal proceedings does not apply to all claims. For example:
A litigation friend could make a claim on behalf of a child at any time before their 18th birthday. After they become an adult, the victim will have another three years to start a claim independently.
You could still make an optician negligence claim if you received treatment abroad, but the time limit could vary significantly between countries. You should seek legal advice as soon as possible if you believe an optician offered you substandard care.
According to the Mental Health Act 1983, there is no time limit to claim compensation on behalf of an individual who lacks the mental capacity to conduct legal proceedings. This could be due to:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder or other high levels of stress
- Severe sleep deprivation
- A neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s disease
- An intellectual disability such as autism
- A severe mental illness like schizophrenia or major depression
The three-year countdown begins if the victim recovers and regains their mental capacity.
As a rule, the sooner you contact a personal injury solicitor, the easier it is to gather evidence and secure compensation. Negligence claims can be very complex and may require months of investigation before building a case. For this reason, most solicitors will not accept a claim with less than six months left before the limitation date.
Medical negligence claims usually take longer to settle than other personal injury claims. If your case is straightforward and the defendant admits liability, it could settle within 12 to 18 months. However, more complex claims could take significantly longer but should generally conclude within 36 months.
To start your claim, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
Can optician negligence claims be made using no win no fee?
Almost all optician negligence claims can be made using a no win no fee service. If your solicitor believes your case has a fair chance of success, they will offer their services without asking for any upfront fees. This way, you can pursue the compensation you deserve regardless of your current financial situation.
Furthermore, a no win no fee agreement involves no financial risks. At the beginning of your claim, your solicitor will take out an After the Event insurance policy on your behalf. This insurance provides full financial coverage if you end up losing the claim.
If your case is unsuccessful, the ATE insurance will cover all the legal costs incurred during claiming, both for you and the defendant. Moreover, you do not have to pay any solicitor fees or other out of pocket expenses.
By making a no win no fee claim, you only have to pay anything if you receive compensation. The other side will cover most of your legal costs, while you will only have to pay a success fee to your solicitor. The success fee cannot exceed 25% of your compensation award, and it will be thoroughly discussed and agreed upon from the outset. This will cover your solicitor’s services and the risk they took by offering you a no win no fee service.