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How Much Compensation Can I Claim For Optician Negligence?

By Cat Way. Last Updated 28th June 2023. In this guide, we’ll discuss when optician negligence claims may be possible and how the process of making such claims works.

optician negligence claims

Optician negligence claims

The General Optical Council is a regulator that oversees the 29,000 eye care professionals that work in the UK. Of the various optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians, and optical businesses, it is the opticians who are the best known to the public. There is an optician on almost every high street in the United Kingdom, providing eye care to the population in a number of different ways. For example, they can let you know whether you require glasses or contact lenses.

But with so many opticians and so many people requiring their services every year, it should be no surprise that mistakes, errors, and accidents can occur. Occasionally, the negligence of an optician can lead to serious health concerns for the patient. As a result, that patient may be owed compensation. In this guide, we will discuss the steps involved in making optician negligence claims and how to maximise your chances of winning a claim made against an optician when negligence on their part can be proven.

As well as how to make a claim, we’ll also be covering things like the number of active opticians in England and Wales in recent years. Additionally, we’ll mention one possible way to tell if what you experienced was actually negligence.

If you have any additional issues on the topic of optician negligence claims, then don’t hesitate to call our advisors on 0800 073 8804. Alternatively, you can use the pop-up window in the bottom right to speak to us, or even fill out the online contact form on our website.

Select a section:

A Guide to Optician Negligence Claims

In this guide, you will find all the necessary facts you need to know about filing a claim against your optician. This guide also serves as an introductory manual that will outline, in great detail, the steps you need to take in pursuing your claim.

At various points, we will discuss the causes of negligence on the behalf of opticians, the physical and psychological symptoms following an accident, and the ways in which you can seek professional legal assistance.

By the end of this guide, you should have the knowledge and the information required to make valid optician negligence claims including knowledge of the evidence you need to support your case.

You are welcome to contact Legal Expert if you would like to speak to an adviser about any aspects of making this type of claim.

What is an Optician Negligence Claim?

Let’s first look at what optician negligence claims actually are.

Optician negligence can manifest itself in a number of different ways. In a broad sense, it refers to an occasion where an optician has failed in their duty to provide what is known as a reasonable standard of care. As a result of this failure, you may have suffered an injury or other form of harm. This could be a failure to diagnose an eye injury or to correctly rectify an ongoing eye issue. There are many other ways in which your optician might be negligent. But if this negligence can be proven in legal terms, you may be due compensation. Without evidence, it becomes much more difficult to become successful when making personal injury compensation claims.

How Long Do I Have To Make An Optician Negligence Claim?

You may be wondering how long you have to claim compensation for negligence. Claims for optician negligence must typically be started within three years from the date the negligence took place. Alternatively, you will have three years to start your claim from the date of knowledge. This is the date you realised that the harm you suffered was caused by an optician breaching their duty of care. This time limit is set out in the Limitation Act 1980.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. The time limit is paused for claimants under the age of eighteen. While the time limit is paused, a court-appointed litigation friend could make the claim on their behalf. From their 18th birthday, they will have 3 years to start their claim if one has not already been made.

The time limit is suspended for claimants that lack the mental capacity to claim for themselves. Again, a litigation friend could make a claim on their behalf. In the event that they were to regain this mental capacity, they will have three years to start their claim from this date if one has not already been made.

Contact our advisors today to discuss your potential optician negligence claim and receive free advice.

What Different Reasons are there for making an Optician Negligence Claim?

Next, let’s look at some reasons that you may want to make optician negligence claims.

Listing every potential act of negligence committed by an optician can be difficult. Though it might seem a limited field, in terms of potential health issues, there are various ways in which an optician might be negligent. These can include (but are not limited to):

  • Misdiagnosis – There are incidences in which the optician will prescribe the wrong kind of treatment, having misidentified the condition of the patient. This can have serious health implications.
  • Overlooking a severe eye condition – Building on misdiagnosis, the failure to diagnose a serious eye condition in an appointment – one which may grow worse over time – can be a sign of negligence.
  • Failure to carry out a laser eye surgery successfully – With the complex nature of laser eye surgery, making a mistake can be costly. These mistakes can happen either during the procedure or might involve a flawed recommendation from your optician.
  • Postponing further treatment – a delay or postponement in treatment can be harmful and, if it was recommended by your optician, this can be seen as a form of negligence.

Though errors or accidents are not impossible, acts of negligence such as those listed above can have serious implications for your vision and general eye health.

The Bolam Test

For certain medical negligence claims, there is something called the Bolam test that can help clarify whether something can be considered negligent or otherwise. There could be more than one possible avenue for treatment, including in the field of optometry.

Choosing one treatment over another could result in adverse health conditions in some patients. However, if enough medical professionals in a similar field agree that they would also have considered the selected treatment viable at the time, it becomes less likely that a medical negligence claim would be successful.

Are There Different Types of Optician Negligence Claims?

There are several different types of optician negligence claims, part of a broader definition of medical negligence. Listed below are the four different ways in which we categorise negligence claims. These are:

  • Contributory negligence – this category includes instances where the patient may be partially responsible, having failed – for example – to take their prescribed medicine. In these cases, compensation might not be awarded.
  • Vicarious liability – this category includes cases where the institution or organisation which employs the optician is deemed responsible for their actions. Any compensation might be paid by the organisation, rather than the individual optician.
  • Gross negligence – this is the most severe category, in which the patient is adjudged to have suffered an injury through blatant disregard by the medical practitioner. As such, compensation is almost certain to be awarded. There will likely be a court hearing and the optician is likely to be stripped of their licence.

If you bring your case to a legal professional, they will be able to inform you as to which category best matches your own claim.

The Physical Symptoms of Optician Negligence

At this point in our optician negligence claims guide, let’s look at some physical symptoms that may present themselves.

Knowing how to recognise the physical symptoms can be very useful. If, for instance, you are claiming optician negligence compensation, then gathering evidence of any of the below symptoms might be essential. These can include (but are not limited to):

  • An individual can experience severe headaches and migraines
  • Vision is blurred
  • Dry eyes
  • Partial or full loss of eyesight
  • Poor night vision
  • Problems reading
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Poor vision sharpness, especially in daylight
  • Eye Strain
  • Double vision

If you are currently experiencing any of these issues, it is important to document any of these symptoms and to seek medical assistance if required.

The Psychological Symptoms of Optician Negligence

In addition, you may want to make optician negligence claims for psychological impacts. In addition to the physical symptoms demonstrated following cases of negligence by opticians, there are also psychological symptoms that may be evident. These can include (but are not limited to):

  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of confidence
  • Decrease in quality of life
  • Anxiety

Recognising and documenting any psychological symptoms can be difficult but can also be hugely beneficial when fighting for (and winning) compensation.

What to Do If You Have Been a Victim of Optician Negligence?

Are you wondering how to make optician negligence claims?

Once you realise that you may have been a victim of optician negligence, there are a number of steps that you can take in order to better prepare for a compensation claim. We recommend the following:

  • You should document and detail all interactions with the optician which you experienced. This can be everything from a prescription to a telephone record. While not all of it might be useful, having as much evidence as possible can be hugely helpful. The more high-quality evidence you have to present, the more likely your claim is to succeed.
  • If you are experiencing any pain as a result of this incident, you should visit a doctor. They can provide medical advice on how to resolve your issue and a doctor’s note or medical report can be used as part of building the case.
  • You may wish to seek a second opinion from another optician. If you believe the original optician may have acted negligently, you can seek the care and assistance of a second and resolve any ongoing vision issues.
  • Reach out to a law firm. Building a medical or optician negligence case can be incredibly complex. This is why we advise people that legal aid can help deal with the issue in a much more efficient manner.

If you choose to seek legal assistance, then the following steps in the claims process can be much easier. We will discuss this in the next section.

How to Begin an Optician Negligence Claim

Now, let’s look at how to begin making optician negligence claims.

If you wish to launch a compensation claim against your optician and have gathered evidence with the aim of doing so, the next step we advise is to seek legal assistance. Calling our offices, for example, can help you discover the full range of expertise that is on offer. With a large amount of paperwork, regulations, and procedures to follow, having a professional on hand can be very beneficial.

If you do choose to hire our firm, the process of beginning your compensation claim would start with a consultation session. You can arrange this over the phone at a time that suits you. Our consultation is offered free of charge and allows you to have a legal expert look over your case and help you decide on a course of action. If you do have a case, we can provide advice regarding potential settlement amounts and how to move forward with the claim. We can also arrange for you to meet with a local doctor in order to better diagnose and deal with every long- and short-term health issue which may arise from the negligence case. With the right help, starting a compensation claim can be much easier.

What can be Claimed for due to Optician Negligence?

At this point in our optician negligence claims guide, let’s look at what could be claimed.

When considering a compensation claim, one of the most common mistakes people make is not knowing how a final settlement total is reached. Rather than one single number, the final amount is typically made up of a number of different figures, which factor in the various circumstances of the case. For example, you may be able to claim the following:

  • General damages – this can cover the pain and suffering you have endured as the result of your optician’s negligent actions.
  • Care costs – in some cases, health issues can mean that you need to hire assistance. Paying for a nurse or a carer can be expensive and this is a cost that can be recovered during the compensation process.
  • Loss of earnings – with vision being so important in so many jobs, health issues affecting your ability to see can massively damage your earning potential. If you have had to take time off work or if you have found that your future ability to earn has been damaged by an optician’s negligence, you can claim to have these losses covered.
  • Travel Expenses – frequent trips to medical appointments can be costly, so you may be able to cover the expenses of necessary travel, such as train fares.
  • Medical Expenses – for equipment, medicine, and specialist care that isn’t available for free on the NHS.

In compensation claims, it can often be the case that you are able to claim back all of the financial losses that have occurred as the result of your injury. Discuss the matter with a solicitor to discover what can and cannot be claimed.

How Much Are Optician Negligence Claims Worth?

Settlements for successful optician negligence claims can be made up of two heads: special damages and general damages. Every successful optician negligence claim will result in general damages, as this head compensates you for the harm you have suffered.

The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) help lawyers, solicitors, and other legal professionals value this head of claim by offering guideline compensation amounts for different types of injuries. In the table below, we’ve included some JCG 16th edition entries regarding eye injuries and loss of sight. Please note that these figures are not guarantees, they are only guidelines.

Total BlindnessComplete and permanent loss of sight in both eyes.In the region of
Loss of Sight in One Eye with Reduced Vision in the Remaining EyeRisk of further deterioration£95,990 to £179,770
Loss of Sight in One Eye with Reduced Vision in the Remaining EyeIncludes cases of double vision£63,950 to £105,990
Total Loss of One EyePayout depends on age, psychiatric effect and cosmetic impact£54,830 to £65,710
Complete Loss of Sight in One EyeScarring in the eye with risk of sympathetic ophthalmia£49,270 to £54,830
Complete Loss of Sight in One EyeSerious but incomplete loss of vision£23,680 to £39,340
Complete Loss of Sight in One EyeMinor but permanent impairment of vision£9,110 to £20,980
Minor Eye InjuriesInitial pain and some interference to vision, which will eventually heal.£3,950 to £8,730
Transient Eye InjuriesVision troubles which will likely heal within a week.£2,200 to £3,950

The second head of claim, special damages, addresses the financial losses caused by your injuries. For example, if you lose your sight and are unable to drive to work, then you may need to pay for bus tickets or taxi fares. In this case, these expenses could be covered by special damages.

Other expenses that could be covered by this heading can include:

  •   Prescriptions.
  •   Domestic help.
  •   Loss of earnings.
  •   Childcare.
  •   Home adjustments.
  •   Glasses or visual aids.

It’s important to note that you need to provide evidence of these losses in order to claim them back, such as receipts

Contact our team of advisors today for more information on how to make a claim for optician negligence.

NHS Optician Negligence Compensation Claims

In making optician negligence claims, you might find yourself filing a complaint or making a claim against the NHS (National Health Service). This means that you will be claiming against the public healthcare body, rather than a private organisation or individual, which can make matters slightly different. For example, the NHS complaints procedure is a separate entity to the legal claims process and is designed to ensure that:

  • Complaints are handled efficiently.
  • All complaints are investigated.
  • The individual who makes the complaint is treated with respect.
  • The individual is informed of the ongoing investigation.

However, it is possible to have an open NHS complaint and an ongoing compensation claim at the same time. If you have already launched a complaint, you do not need to wait until it has been resolved until you seek legal advice or assistance.

No Win No Fee Optician Negligence Claims

In filing optician negligence claims, one of the hardest parts of the process can be finding the funds to fight the case. Many law firms demand that clients pay fees upfront and throughout the case. In medical negligence claims – which might take many months to complete, during which time you may not be able to work – this can be particularly damaging. But if you would like to make a claim against your optician, we may have an alternative approach.

If you have strong grounds to make a claim, we may be able to offer you support from a No Win No Fee solicitor. Put in simple terms, this means that only if your claim is successful will the solicitor charge you their legal fees. What’s more, we won’t make any charge until the settlement is made. There is no upfront or ongoing cost, meaning that you can relax while we take care of the legal work.

This approach is also referred to as a ‘Conditional Fee Agreement’ and it allows people to hire legal professionals without the financial risk. If you would like to learn more, you can call our offices today.

Why Choose Us as Your Claims Service for an Optician Negligence Claim?

If you are making optician negligence claims, you should make sure you have the right professional help. With our years spent in the legal trade, we know how much clients value informed, professional, efficient, and effective legal representation. We do our best to provide the highest quality legal services around, helping you fight for compensation despite any ongoing health concerns.

Our team know how to fight for compensation. We have many years of experience in the profession, helping clients win compensation in case of optician negligence, as well as general medical malpractice. As well as being able to offer informed expertise, we can help you in many other ways.

For instance, our clients appreciate the fact that we’re able to offer free legal consultation sessions. In the early days of a claim, when you are unsure whether you are due compensation, having an informed legal opinion can be invaluable. If you call us today, we can arrange such a meeting, free of charge. What’s more, we can arrange for you to visit a local healthcare specialist, providing you with a complete medical evaluation to ensure that every part of your case is covered and compensated. We can offer a No Win No Fee agreement, too, minimising the financial risk for clients.

If you want the very best in expert legal advice, we are a perfect choice. Our law firm can handle your case throughout the journey towards compensation, providing thoughtful and insightful assistance which can put your mind at ease. When suffering from a case of optician negligence, this peace of mind is essential. If you would like to discover more about what we can do for your optician negligence claims, get in touch with us today.

Other Helpful Links

We’ve also included some links to other material you may find useful.

Optician negligence claims FAQs

Do optometrists owe a duty of care?

Like other healthcare professionals, optometrists do owe a duty of care towards the patients they provide treatment to. As part of this duty, an optometrist is responsible for the care and safety of their patients while treating them and they are expected to uphold professional standards.

Can you sue an optician?

If your optician failed to uphold their duty of care to you and you suffered harm as a result of this, you may have grounds to sue them.

What is negligence?

Negligence can usually be established if the following applies in a situation:

  1. A third party owes you a duty of care
  2. That they fail to uphold
  3. And you suffer as a consequence

Who is the governing body for opticians?

The governing body for opticians is the General Optical Council (GOC), responsible for setting standards in the profession and handling complaints.

How much compensation could I get?

Every claim is different, meaning there’s no way of us being able to estimate how much you could be entitled to without learning more about your situation. Therefore, please get in touch today if you’d like a free consultation.

How are claims valued?

Claims are valued on the basis of how much damage each claimant has suffered. The more they’ve suffered as a result of the incident in question, the more they’ll likely be entitled to.

What damages could I claim for?

You could claim general damages for any physical or psychological injuries and special damages for any financial shortfall, including loss of earnings, medical fees and the like.

How can I claim against an optician?

If you’d like to see whether you could have grounds to claim compensation, please contact us today. We can offer you free legal advice and support and even connect you with our panel of personal injury lawyers to handle your claim.

How can I contact Legal Expert?

Please see our contact section for details on how to get in touch or use the live chat on your screen for an instant response.

Call for Free Advice and To Start a Claim

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So, if you would like to speak with one of our representatives today concerning optician negligence claims, just call 0800 073 8804 now. Or you can contact us online using our live chat service or our ‘claim online‘ form. We look forward to hearing from you.

If you still have any questions about optician negligence claims, you can contact Legal Expert today to speak to one of our advisors. You can reach us by using contact details included within this guide.

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      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.