£20,000 awarded after optician misdiagnosis
In February 2008 the Court approved the settlement of a young girl's claim against an optician for negligent treatment in the sum of £20,000.00.
The background is that between 1998 and 2002 a child consulted the defendant who was an optician. Her mother regularly took her to see the optician because she was worried about a squint in the child's left eye.
After the child started school the mother became more and more worried and repeatedly took the child to see the optician who simply informed the mother that the child's sight was normal.
After she started at school the child was examined by the school optician. When he carried out an eye test he discovered reduced vision in the left eye and thus the mother made arrangements for the child to go back to the original optician who again insisted that the eyesight was normal.
When the child was 8 a further test was carried out which raised concern about her eye sight and she was later referred by her GP to a specialist consultant ophthalmologist who diagnosed that she was suffering from amblyopia with no binocular visual function.
As a result of this the mother brought a claim on behalf of her daughter alleging that the original optician failed to properly assess her eyesight and in particular perform a cover test.
Because the optician denied liability, legal proceedings had to be issued but eventually liability was admitted and after negotiation between solicitors instructed by the child and the optician an agreement was reached that a payment of £20,000.00 would be made by way of compensation.
That figure was reached because as a result of the negligence of the optician the child had now to sit in the front of the class and use special books with large print. She had also experienced difficulty in judging the speed of moving traffic and the mother was told that extra care had to be taken of her right eye as injury could result in blindness.
There were also long term consequences and in particular the fact that due to her condition certain jobs would simply be unavailable to her and that there was no prospect of the eyesight in the left eye improving although it was not thought it was likely to get worse.
Conclusion and settlement
On today's figure that compensation would now be worth just under £24,500.00.