Laser Eye Surgery Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by laser eye surgery negligence, we can help.
If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, midwife or other medical professional, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist clinical negligence solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove the negligence happened. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.
We can help you make a medical negligence claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
The number of people seeking laser eye surgery has grown significantly in recent years. It is estimated that around 15,000 Britons have the procedure each year to correct long and short-sightedness.
The number of people receiving poor treatment has risen broadly in line with the number of procedures. According to the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, almost one in 20 patients undergoing laser eye surgery suffer some sort of complication. For some clinics, the complication rate is as high as 40%.
What is laser eye surgery?
Laser eye surgery permanently corrects certain vision problems, removing the need to wear glasses or contact lenses. The most popular type is known as LASIK (laser in-situ keratomileusis). This procedure uses a laser to reshape the cornea (the transparent covering over the front of the eye). Treatment is considered non-essential and is not usually available on the NHS.
Other treatments are also available including LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis) and PRK (photorefractive keratectomy).
Private laser eye surgery does not have to be done by an ophthalmic surgeon or even someone with specialist laser refraction knowledge. Instead, all that is required is that the person performing the procedure is registered as a medical doctor.
What are the risks of laser eye surgery?
The majority of people who undergo laser eye surgery experience no complications other than minimal discomfort in the months following the operation.
In around 5% of cases, the safety and effectiveness of the laser eye surgery is compromised. Patients may develop complications or unacceptable outcomes including:
- damage to tear ducts causing painfully dry eyes
- ghosting or double vision
- sensitivity to glare
- chronic eye inflammation
- scarring of the cornea
- poor night vision
- partial or complete blindness.
How Quittance has helped others
Every year Quittance's network of solicitors help people who have suffered complications as a result of laser eye surgery seek financial compensation and, where possible, corrective treatment.
Our network of expert medical negligence solicitors have advised clients who have suffered damage or disability as a result of:
- surgical error
- the suitability of the surgery not being fully determined before the procedure
- inaccurate information about the potential risks of the surgery
- defective laser equipment
- poor standard of post-operative care.
Quittance's solicitors take care of the negotiations and fight hard to ensure that clients achieve maximum compensation awards for laser eye surgery negligence claims.
Who can make a claim?
If a patient was injured in the last 3 years as a result of laser eye surgery, he or she may be eligible to claim compensation.
To win a claim, the patient's solicitor will need to establish negligence. This is a complex area of litigation. Often, the case turns on whether the complications would not reasonably have occurred if the same laser surgery was performed by a different medical professional. The claimant's solicitor will need to show that the laser treatment received fell below acceptable standards.
The claimant's solicitor will also need to evidence that the treatment and not the underlying eye condition has caused the harm or injury for which compensation is sought.
It may be possible to claim for existing eyesight problems or conditions that have worsened as a result of the laser eye surgery. Read more about making a claim for an existing condition.
Who can you make a claim against?
Claims are brought against the medical professional who performed the laser eye surgery or their employer. In the injuries were caused by defective equipment, a Claim may be brought against the manufacturer.
In each case, it is usually the defendant's insurance company who would pay compensation.
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
What is the average injury compensation for an injury claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
Can I get an interim payment?
Interim payments are effectively an advance on a probable compensation award. An interim payment may be awarded if the claimant is in immediate financial hardship.
Can I claim for an existing laser eye surgery that has got worse?
Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.
Calculate my injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an injury can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your injury claim could be worth now:
How long does a laser eye surgery negligence claim take?
The length of time needed to settle a laser eye surgery negligence claim can vary significantly.
A simple uncontested medical negligence claim can settle in 12 to 24 months. However, if court proceedings are needed the process might take longer. On average a medical negligence claim takes between 12 and 36 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, see: How long will my claim take?
How else can a solicitor help me?
Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.
Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
What can be done to maximise the chances of a successful claim?
There are a number of things that can be done to help support a laser eye surgery negligence claim.
The claimant will first need to procure all copies of their medical and optician records and give them to their solicitor, who will study them in detail. The solicitor will then instruct a qualified ophthalmic expert to examine the medical records thoroughly and establish whether the laser eye surgery was negligent in any way and whether it caused the injury for which compensation is sought.
Claimants are advised to make a note of the conversations they had with the clinic staff, both in the time leading up to the surgery and during the post-operative recovery period. In particular, the claimant should record any warnings given about the suitability and potential risks of the surgery.
The claimant must also submit to a medical examination. This allows an independent eye expert to arrive at a correct evaluation of the compensation according to the nature and extent of the injuries.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Less than 5% of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.
Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.
No win, no fee
'No win, no fee' means that if you do not win your injury claim, you will not have to pay any legal fees. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is a contract between you and a solicitor.
No win, no fee promise
If you have been injured and someone else was to blame (even partially), our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making an injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my injury claim?
If your injury claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How do personal injury solicitors get paid?
If your laser eye surgery claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.
How we can help you
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning medical negligence claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open:
- 8am to 9pm weekdays
- 9am to 6pm on Saturday
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
to start a claim
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
I need the money now - what are my options?
If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.