When a car crash occurs, trauma to the head or face can significantly affect a victim’s eyesight and cause temporary or permanent impairment of their vision in one or both eyes. Sudden and rapid changes in velocity, flying shards of glass, air bags deploying at up to 200 mph and direct contact of the head with objects inside of a car can all cause permanent eye injuries. As per the ophthalmologists at Retina Associates of Orange County, here are some eye conditions or injuries that commonly occur as a result of car accidents:
- Black Eye: This condition is a bruise around the eye that’s caused when blood vessels under the eye burst from trauma. Even a black eye should be examined by a qualified eye care professional.
- Corneal Abrasion: The cornea is the clear outer layer at the front of the eye. A corneal abrasion is probably the most common eye injury that people suffer. An abrasion is a scratch. As the cornea helps the eye focus light, a scratched cornea will likely include eye pain or discomfort, redness and light sensitivity. Corneal abrasions need to be properly examined and treated.
- Eyelid Cuts: These are a symptom of trauma to the face that are most often caused by broken glass. With a cut to an eyelid, there could be damage to the eyeball as well. Any stitches must be placed carefully so that there isn’t any risk of damage to the cornea.
- Detached Retina: The retina is located at the back of the eye, and it sends signals to the brain. If it lifts away from the back of the eye, symptoms can include floaters, flashes of bright light, blurriness and impaired peripheral vision. The American Academy of Ophthalmology relates that a detached retina is a serious ocular condition or injury that will likely worsen if not immediately and properly treated and cared for by a qualified eye doctor.
- Hyphemia: Blood can accumulate in the front chamber of the eye and make the affected eye appear as it it’s filled with blood. Pain and blurred vision are the most common causes of hyphemia. A person who experiences hyphemia should seek immediate treatment from an ophthalmologist.
- Orbital Fracture: This is a blunt force trauma injury to the bone that covers the eye socket. Harvard Health advises that an orbital fracture might be at the rim of the orbit, at the paper-thin floor of the orbit or at both locations. A serious orbit fracture will probably require surgery, especially if the movement of the eye is restricted.
- Globe Rupture: With severe and intense pressure, an eye can actually rupture. Most victims of such an injury need to be fitted with a prosthetic eye. A ruptured eye can only be saved in a small minority of cases.
- Brain Injury: A traumatic brain injury can be caused by rapid acceleration and deceleration like whiplash in a rear-end car crash or by blunt force trauma like if a vehicle occupant’s head hits or is hit by an object. The College of Optometrists in Vision Development lists a wide variety of traumatic brain injury vision symptoms like blurred vision, double vision, light sensitivity and other visual symptoms that might be attributable to such an injury.
- Optic Nerve Damage: The optic nerve extends from the front of the brain to the back of the eye. Information from optic nerve impulses is sent along the optic nerve to the brain which processes them and produces visual images. When optic nerve damage occurs, an accident victim suffers significant vision impairment or loss that is usually permanent.
Damages in Eye Injury Cases:
Our sight is vital to our personal lives and our jobs. If a car accident victim’s vision is significantly impaired, that can be physically, financially and emotionally flattening. Car crashes are a major cause vision impairment and loss. Care and treatment for an eye injury like a detached retina carries a high likelihood of surgical repair. Other types of injuries like orbital fractures may require reconstructive surgery. Even after obtaining necessary surgery, victims might not ever fully recover and require professional eye care for the rest of their lives. Fortunately, California law provides for such scenarios and allows victims to pursue damages against the person or entity that caused their vision impairment or loss. Those damages might consist of any of the following:
- Past and future medical bills.
- Lost earnings or diminished earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering.
- Any permanent vision impairment or loss.
- Any permanent disfigurement.
- Out-of-pocket expenses.
Vision Impairment or Loss Case Values in California:
Upon being retained to represent a client on any type of personal injury case, we’re going to work closely with that client and his or her treating physicians to obtain the maximum settlement or verdict that they deserve. Here are a few examples of settlements and verdicts for eye injuries from across the country.
- $2,447500 verdict for an 87-year-old woman against a nursing home that caused blindness in her right eye when using a medicated shampoo on her scalp.
- $500,000 settlement for a Virginia man in his middle 50s who suffered a retinal detachment in a rear-end collision. As a result of the detachment, his vision only slightly changed from 20/20 in the affected eye to 20/30. He complained of difficulty looking at computer screens.
- $990,000 in New Jersey to a 25-year-old for partial loss of an eye as a result of improperly prescribed eyedrops that caused him to suffer steroid-induced glaucoma after five years of use.
- $460,000 to California pre-school child who was stuck in the eye with a pencil by another pre-school child, resulting in a partial loss of vision.
Contact a California Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a family member suffered vision impairment or loss in a California car accident, contact us at Maison Law right away for a free consultation and case review with our California car accident lawyer. You can tell him about how your accident happened and how your vision impairment or loss has affected you. We’ll be pleased to answer your questions, and then, we can talk about all of your legal options. If we’re retained to represent you, there is no initial retainer fee. In fact, we don’t even get paid any legal fees unless we obtain a settlement or award on your behalf. Remember that goal will be to obtain the highest settlement or verdict for you that you deserve. Contact us for that free consultation and case review as soon as you can after being injured in any auto accident.