Optician Negligence Compensation Claims Explained

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How Much Compensation Can I Claim For Optician Negligence?

By Stephen Hudson. Last Updated 13th June 2024. In this guide, we’ll discuss when optician negligence claims may be possible and how the process of making such claims works.

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.

optician negligence claims

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:

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.

InjurySeverity of InjuryAmount
Multiple Serious Injuries And Special DamagesSeriousUp to £500,000+
Total BlindnessComplete and permanent loss of sight in both eyes.In the region of £327,940
Loss of Sight in One Eye with Reduced Vision in the Remaining Eye(i) Risk of further deterioration£117,150 to £219,400
Loss of Sight in One Eye with Reduced Vision in the Remaining Eye(ii) Includes cases of double vision£78,040 to £129,330
Total Loss of One EyePayout depends on age, psychiatric effect and cosmetic impact£66,920 to £80,210
Complete Loss of Sight in One Eye(e) Scarring in the eye with risk of sympathetic ophthalmia£60,130 to £66,920
Complete Loss of Sight in One Eye(f) Serious but incomplete loss of vision£28,900 to £48,040
Complete Loss of Sight in One Eye(g) Minor but permanent impairment of vision£11,120 to £25,600
Minor Eye InjuriesInitial pain and some interference to vision, which will eventually heal.£4,820 to £10,660
Transient Eye InjuriesVision troubles which will likely heal within a week.£2,690 to £4,820

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.

  • 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.

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.

How To Begin An Optician Negligence Claim

When you receive treatment from a professional, such as an optician, they automatically owe you a duty of care. This duty requires the optician to provide a service of skill and care, that of any competent optician.

You may be eligible to start an optician negligence compensation claim if you can establish the following:

  • An optician owed you a duty of care. This is the case if you are under the care of an optician.
  • This duty was breached because the optician failed to deliver the correct standard of care.
  • You experienced unnecessary harm as a consequence of this breach in the duty of care owed to you.

If you contact our team today, they can advise you about your potential optician negligence claim and whether you have a valid case. Get in touch with us online or by calling to learn more.

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.

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.

 

An optician with a patient holds a letter chart

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.

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.

Other Helpful Links

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

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 Mallon

      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.

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