Eye injuries can occur in almost any workplace, most common in construction workers, welders, and other occupations that deal with hazardous chemicals or other substances
In 2018, there were 6,103 workers’ compensation claims for eye injuries, about 3.5% of all workers’ comp claims in Pennsylvania.
When you consider the scale, that’s a pretty small number, but it is still important for people to understand how to handle their claim if they do suffer an eye injury. Here, we’ll answer some of the common questions in these types of cases.
Average Workers’ Compensation Settlements for Eye Injuries
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates the average total cost of eye injury worker’s compensation claims nationally to be $26,568 (in lost wages and medical costs). Below is a table for estimated settlement amounts based on the NSC claim cost average for eye injuries.
|Severity of Eye Injury||Estimated Settlement Amounts||Types of Injury|
|Mild||$1,000 – $23,250||Corneal abrasion, swelling, irritation, etc.|
|Moderate to Severe||$23,250 – $48,296||Temporary vision loss, eye burns, detached retina, etc.|
|Extremely Severe||$48,296+||Permanent vision loss, life threatening disease|
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Eye Injuries
In general, you may be eligible for receiving the following types of workers’ comp benefits for an eye injury:
- Weekly Wage Loss Benefits (calculated at 2/3 of your normal weekly pay)
- Permanent impairment benefits
- Vocational rehabilitation (in some cases)
- Medical expense coverage
- Travel expenses for attending medical appointments and follow up care
Pennsylvania requires all employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Your employer’s insurance company will be responsible for covering medical bills you take on as a result of surgeries and other treatments necessary for your recovery, as well as wage loss incurred for while recovering from your work injury.
How Much Compensation Should I Expect for an Eye Injury?
Your eye injury settlement offer should should cover expenses for medical attention, physical therapy and other ongoing medical treatment, and wage loss.
Eye injury compensation for permanent vision loss is limited to a total of 275 weeks of payments in Pennsylvania. That means that you take your average weekly wage and multiply that by 275 weeks, then subtract one-third.
You can also get benefits while you are healing, and those do not count toward the 275-week limitation. These are referred to as temporary total disability benefits, and they will be awarded as long as you are unable to work due to your injury. Once your doctor says that you can return to work, those weekly payments will stop.
However, if you have a total loss of vision, your compensation amounts may be higher.
Can I File a Workers’ Comp Claim for an Eye Injury?
If you have injured your eyes at work in any capacity, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim.
These are just a few of the eye injuries for which you may be eligible for a workers’ compensation claim:
- Scratched eye (corneal abrasion)
- Penetrating objects
- Foreign objects in the eye
- Burns (including chemical burns)
- Eye swelling
- Eye bleeding (subconjunctival hemorrhage)
- Inflammation of the iris (traumatic iritis)
- Hyphema (bleeding in the anterior chamber of the eye)
- Detached retina
- UV burns
- Eyelid laceration
- Injury secondary to orbital bone fracture
Any time you have pain in the eye or vision loss, you should stop work immediately and get treatment. Failing to address eye injuries right away can lead to long-term problems with your sight that may be irreversible.
How Can I Make an Eye Injury Claim?
Because eye injuries are often extremely painful and can cause long-term damage. After a workplace eye injury, you should get medical care immediately; even before you worry about your workers’ compensation claim.
Once you have addressed your medical needs, you should then take the following steps to make your eye injury claim:
- Report your workplace injury to your employer and fill out an incident report if necessary
- Get medical treatment based on a list of providers that your employer will furnish (if there is no list, then you can choose your doctor)
- Treat with your doctor and follow medical recommendations
- Receive notification of your employer or their insurance company’s denial or approval of your claim
- File a claim with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry if you believe your claim was wrongfully denied
The workers’ compensation system in Pennsylvania is designed so that you can focus on getting medical treatment while the insurance company or your employer examines your situation.
Thankfully, you do not have to wait to get treatment until after the insurance company approves your claim. That is especially important for eye injuries because they can become significantly worse if left untreated.
If your employer does not provide you with the information you need to file a claim, then you should bring your injury case to a PA workers’ comp attorney to help you with this process.
How Common is an Eye Injury at Work?
Work-related eye injuries are much more common than you might think. The Centers for Disease Control report that workplace eye injuries send 300,000 people to the emergency room every year across the United States. Other eye injuries may not require emergency care, but they are still significant enough to warrant time away from work to heal.
Eye injuries also make up about 45% of all head injuries that lead to missed time from work. Men between the ages of 25 and 44 are the most common eye injury victims, but eye injuries can certainly happen to anyone.
Where Do Workplace Eye injuries Occur Most Often?
These sectors also see high numbers of eye injuries:
- Leisure and hospitality
Any occupation that exposes workers to flying objects, tools, or chemicals increases your chances of sustaining a workplace eye injury.
Wearing eye protection is extremely important to prevent these types of injuries. In fact, an estimated 90 percent of eye injuries incurred at work could have been prevented if the worker was wearing proper eye protection.
Workers’ Comp Lawyer For Eye Injury Claims
Eye injuries can be very serious, and they require special medical care to treat. However, you do not have to go through this process alone.
Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo can provide the legal advice you need for getting the workers’ comp benefits you deserve. We have generations of experience fighting for the rights of injured workers throughout Pennsylvania.
Call 844-243-4917 or use the form to schedule a free consultation with our workers’ compensation lawyers.