A Guide to Claiming Optician Negligence Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by optician negligence we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered optician negligence and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

Introduction

If an optician or optometrist has failed to correctly diagnose an underlying eye injury or illness or has failed to rectify an eye problem properly, and you have sustained further injury as a result, a claim for compensation may be possible.

A claim will rest on whether the eye specialist has been negligent. Proving negligence can, like other areas of clinical negligence, be complex. Quittance's team of experts will be able to advise on your optician negligence claim, including the likelihood of its success.

Patient at opticians

Do I have an optician negligence claim?

Medical negligence claims differ from personal injury claims as the following will need to be established:

  • there was a breach of duty ("negligence" or "fault"); and
  • the breach of duty was the cause of your injury, damage or loss ("causation" or "avoidable harm").

Breach of Duty

A breach of duty means that the standard of care you received was below the standard that could reasonably be expected of a competent healthcare professional.

Causation

To establish causation, it will need to be demonstrated that the injury you suffered resulted from the negligent care rather than the underlying condition.

Get an impartial opinion

To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to an optician negligence claim expert on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.

Is compensation always payable?

If an error occurred during treatment and the patient was harmed as a result, this may be referred to as an "undesirable outcome".

Not all treatment that results in an undesirable outcome will result in the payment of compensation.

Sometimes an undesirable outcome is due to a known risk associated with the treatment, or due to a mistake that a doctor could reasonably have made in the circumstances.

How long do I have to start a claim?

If your injury is apparent immediately after medical treatment, you will have 3 years to start a claim.

It may be that the negligent procedure happened more than 3 years ago, but your injury was only diagnosed recently, within the last 3 years. If so, you may still be able to make a claim.

What if your injury was diagnosed months or years after treatment?

You may not be immediately aware of your injury. In some cases, months and even years can pass before symptoms appear.

The law allows you to make a medical negligence claim up to three years after the 'date of knowledge' (when you first learned of the injury).

It is recommended that you start a claim as soon as possible, as medical negligence cases can be complex. Starting your claim sooner will give your solicitor more time to gather medical evidence, assess the extent of your injury and to negotiate interim payments and your final compensation amount.

Who can make an optometrist negligence claim?

If your optician fails to provide you with a reasonable standard of care and this has caused you harm, you may have a negligence claim against them.

Types of ophthalmic negligence:

  • Misdiagnosis or an eye condition - This may have resulted in the wrong kind of treatment, for example prescribing the incorrect kind of contact lenses or glasses, causing vision to deteriorate faster.
  • Failure to notice an eye condition - The condition may have gone untreated and worsened over time, causing further problems.

Mistakes and errors made through optician negligence can cause both physical and psychological harm to patients. Compensation can be claimed for both aspects.

Physical symptoms of optician negligence:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Double vision
  • Partial or full loss of eyesight

Psychological symptoms of optometrist negligence:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of confidence
  • Quality of life affected

How much compensation can I claim for optician negligence?

The amount of money you could claim for your optician negligence will depend on:

  • the extent 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 optician negligence has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General 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

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after an optician negligence? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

What is the average injury compensation for an optician negligence 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 optician negligence will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your optician negligence compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Will I have to pay tax on my optician negligence compensation?

If you receive financial compensation following an optician negligence injury, specific legislation ensures that you do not have to pay tax on it. This is the case no matter whether the compensation is received as a lump sum or as staggered payments.

Optician negligence compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an optician negligence 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 optician negligence claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does an optician negligence claim take?

How long it can take to settle an optician negligence claim can vary significantly.

For instance, a straightforward liability accepted medical negligence claim could be settled in 12 to 24 months. If the case goes to court however, it could take considerably longer. Usually, a medical negligence claim should take 12 to 36 months. Read more:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for an optician negligence after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your optician negligence claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to 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.

How do I make an optician negligence claim?

Medical negligence claims require a medical examination from an expert, who will determine the extent of your injury and compile a report. This report will then be sent to the other side by your solicitor who will examine the claim before coming to an agreement.

You solicitor will arrange for this examination to be carried out, and the cost will be covered under the No Win, No Fee agreement.

No win, no fee, no risk

'No win, no fee' means that if your optician negligence claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay any legal fees. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is an agreement between you and a solicitor.

Our no win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making an optician negligence claim, even if you don't win your claim.

What do I pay if I win my optician negligence 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%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my optician negligence claim?

If your optician negligence claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees . Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Why do most solicitors charge 25%?

25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. optician negligence claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. In some cases our solicitors can work on a reduced success fee. Call us for more information.

Can I get Legal Aid?

Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, 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, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Optician negligence FAQ's

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.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 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 held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

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.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert