What Is the Average Workers' Comp Eye Injury Settlement?
Eye injuries occur in the workplace, and while they can happen in any industry, they most commonly occur in the construction, mining, manufacturing, and welding industries because of the nature of the job. Workers in these fields are more susceptible to eye injuries because they deal with hazardous chemicals and substances on a daily basis.
These injuries can be severe and lead to total blindness, partial blindness, or permanent loss of vision.
While workplace eye injuries are not as common as other types of workplace injuries, it's important to understand the claim process to ensure injured workers receive a fair workers' comp settlement for the injuries sustained.
What Is the Average Workers' Comp Settlement Amount?
Firstly, it's important to note that the settlement amount could range anywhere from a couple of thousand dollars to much larger sums of money. The amount received will vary depending on the type of injury and the extent of damage.
Mild or moderate injuries, such as irritation, swelling, eye burns, tears, etc., will result in lower settlement amounts than serious eye injuries, such as blindness, permanent vision loss, or other life-threatening conditions.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the national average workers' comp eye injury settlement is approximately $26,500. This usually covers a portion of lost wages and medical expenses.
However, the NSC provides further average settlements based on the severity of the injury:
Mild injuries - $1,000 - $23,250
Moderate to severe injuries - $23,250 - $48,296
Extremely severe injuries - $48,296 and above
However, workplace accidents aren't always the fault of the employer. If this is the case, the victim will file a personal injury lawsuit against the party that caused the accident. Under these circumstances, victims might be able to claim compensation for other damages, such as pain and suffering and lost future income.
The amount received will also vary depending on a number of factors, such as:
The worker's pre-injury average weekly wage/ monthly salary.
If the eye injury will impose work restrictions on the individual in the future, and whether the employer can accommodate these restrictions.
Whether any other injuries were suffered with the eye injury, such as traumatic brain injury
If the worker suffered depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the eye injury
If the settlement includes a voluntary resignation clause
The level of permanent vision loss or impairment
The estimated cost of future medical expenses if the victim is accepting a cash buyout
Whether the victim's private health insurance or employer's workers' comp insurance company has paid for medical treatment relating to the eye injury
How Much Compensation Should Workers Expect for Workers' Comp Benefits?
Under Ohio law, workers need to suffer 25% or more of vision loss in order to receive workers' compensation benefits. This may be compensated as a scheduled loss award, which is based on the worker's loss before any medical treatment.
Furthermore, according to the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, loss of vision as a result of workers' compensation is based on the percentage of vision actually lost as a result of the workplace accident or occupational disease.
However, no compensation may be claimed by victims who suffered less than 25% loss of uncorrected vision.
The maximum award an injured worker is entitled to is 125 weeks or 100% per eye.
Eligibility for Workers' Compensation Benefits
In order to be eligible for Ohio workers' compensation benefits, the following requirements must be met:
The injured worker's employer must make payments into Ohio's workers' compensation system/ disability insurance program.
The eye injury must have occurred while the worker was on the job.
The injured worker may not have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the injury.
The injury must be a qualifying condition.
The injured worker may not have been trespassing or breaking a law when the injury took place.
The victim needs to provide medical evidence from health care providers.
All necessary paperwork needs to be submitted or filed before the applicable deadline.
Workers' Comp Benefits for Eye Injuries
When it comes to a workers' comp claim, workers may claim for the following items:
Benefits for vision impairment or permanent vision loss
Medical bills resulting from the eye injury
Vocational rehabilitation, if applicable
Partial compensation for benefits and lost wages
Travel reimbursement for getting medical care
Ohio law requires employers to purchase workers' compensation insurance for their employees from the date of employment. Larrimer & Larrimer can advise how to qualify for low vision disability benefits.
Therefore, employers are responsible for the costs of medical care, whether that be hospitalization, surgery, or any other ongoing medical treatment.
Furthermore, these workers' comp benefits will also cover a portion of lost wages.
Who Can File a Claim for Eye Injuries?
There are a number of circumstances under which people can claim compensation for getting an eye injury on the job.
Workers can claim workers' comp benefits for the following types of eye injuries:
Bleeding in the eye
Inflammation of the iris
Permanent vision loss
Scratched cornea or corneal abrasion
Orbital bone fractures
Blunt force trauma
Any worker that has suffered an eye injury that causes pain or loss of vision needs to stop working immediately after the workplace accident and seek medical attention. This is vital even if the injury was minor or only resulted in temporary loss of vision.
Failure to do so could result in permanent or serious eye injuries down the line and will reduce the victim's chance of receiving compensation.
How to File an Eye Injury Claim
Before getting into the legal claims process, it's vital to get medical attention. Eye injuries can be extremely painful and may result in long-term damage, which is why it's crucial to seek medical attention as soon as the accident occurs.
Once the victim has taken care of the medical side of things, they follow these steps when filing a workers' compensation claim:
Report the injury to the employer and complete any necessary accident report.
Choose where to receive medical treatment from the employer's list of medical providers. If the employer does not have a specific list, the victim is free to choose their own eye doctor.
Receive medical treatment and follow all medical recommendations provided by the doctor.
Find out from the employer or the employer's insurer whether the claim has been approved or denied.
If the claim was wrongfully denied, it's vital to file a claim with the Ohio Department of Labor.
It's important to note that workers don't have to wait for the claim to be approved before getting medical treatment. Eye injuries can get worse with time; therefore, it's important to treat them immediately.
The Ohio workers' compensation system is designed to ensure that injured workers receive necessary care while the claim is being evaluated. Thus, workers don't need to worry about their claims being rejected for treating the injury.
There are times when employers are not willing to cooperate or are purposefully being difficult. Under these situations, it's vital to reach out to an Ohio workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. These legal experts will handle the claim and ensure the victim gets the compensation they're entitled to.
How Common Are Workplace Eye Injuries?
While eye injuries aren't as common as other types of workplace injuries, such as slips and falls, they are still more common than one would think. According to the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC), 300,000 workers across the US are sent to the emergency room every year for eye injuries.
Even though many eye injuries don't warrant emergency care, they are serious enough that they require time away from work to ensure adequate recovery.
What Industries Are More Prone to Eye Injuries?
The following industries report the highest number of job-related eye injuries in the workplace every year:
In general, any job that exposes workers to chemicals, tools, or flying objects will have a higher risk of eye injury associated with it. Therefore, it's vital to wear eye protection to reduce the risk of these injuries.
How to Avoid a Workplace Eye Injury or Permanent Vision Loss
According to various sources, 90% of reported eye injuries could have been avoided if the worker was wearing protective eyewear.
Adequate eye protection could include safety goggles, safety glasses, face shields, and more.
In certain industries, employers are required to provide employees with eye protection, according to OHSA.
However, the specific type of eye protection will vary depending on the type of industry the individual works in as well as the types of chemicals or hazards the person is exposed to.
Many types of protective eyewear are made of the following materials:
Plastic lenses are probably the lightest and most comfortable out of the three options. They also don't fog.
However, depending on the specific industry the individual works in, they may not offer sufficient protection.
Furthermore, plastic lenses are not scratch resistant like glass lenses.
Protective Glass Lenses
These lenses are effective for those working with chemicals. Nevertheless, there are still a few disadvantages of glass lenses.
Glass lenses fog easily, meaning they can obstruct workers' vision at times.
Additionally, they can be uncomfortable when worn for extended periods, which is not ideal if a job requires the worker to have precise vision.
While polycarbonate lenses are not as resistant to scratches as glass lenses, they offer more protection than plastic lenses. These are often worn by welders.
While it's still possible to suffer an eye injury when wearing protective eyewear, it will significantly reduce the risk of injury.
Contact a Workers' Comp Eye Injury Lawyer Today!
Workplace eye injuries can be serious and traumatic at times. Therefore, it's important for injured workers to know they don't have to deal with the process alone and that there is a way to receive compensation for the damage.
Larrimer & Larrimer has been dealing with eye injury claims in Columbus, Ohio, for many years and can give victims the legal advice they need. Our team of compassionate and knowledgeable workers comp attorneys works tirelessly to get injured workers the workers' comp benefits they deserve.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and determine how much compensation you're entitled to.
What Causes Complete Loss of Vision in One Eye?
Various injuries or accidents can result in losing vision in one eye, such as eye trauma, serious accidents, retinal detachment, no blood flow to the retina, and more.
How Much Is the Loss of One Eye Worth?
The value will differ depending on the accident that caused the injury, whether or not the victim was wearing eye protection, the person responsible for the accident, etc.
However, this would be considered a serious injury, and on average, these are worth around $48,296+.
Can Blindness in One Eye Be Cured?
Severe eye injuries or a gradual loss of vision generally can't be cured. These account for 20% of eye injury cases. However, 80% of eye injuries can be cured.
What Happens When Someone Loses Sight in One Eye?
Loss of vision in one eye can greatly impact a person's life. This will affect their depth perception, ability to estimate distances and track moving objects, and more.
By hiring an experienced lawyer, victims will be able to increase their chances of receiving the maximum compensation they're entitled to, which will help the victim improve their quality of life after the incident.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Workers' Compensation Eye Injury Claim in Columbus, Ohio?
In Ohio, workers have two years from the date of the workplace accident to file an eye injury claim. This timeline becomes applicable from the date of the accident or from the time the injury was discovered.
However, keep in mind that additional deadlines are applicable when it comes to appeals, supporting information, or complaints. Missing a deadline can result in the entire claim being disqualified, which is why it's crucial to hire an experienced attorney to handle the claim.