When we imagine common car crash injuries, concussions, broken bones, and spinal trauma might come to mind more often than eye injuries do. Between 2001 and 2008, however, motor vehicle accidents across the U.S. led to more than 75,000 eye injuries that required treatment in a hospital emergency room, according to the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine.
Causes of Car Crash Eye Trauma
Car accident eye injuries often occur in the following ways:
- The eye is struck by broken window/windshield glass.
- The driver’s/occupant’s face hits the steering wheel, dashboard, or rear-view mirror.
- An airbag is deployed and hits a driver’s or passenger’s eye.
- A loose object in the car flies into an occupant’s eye after a collision.
- A brain injury affects vision.
- Whiplash injures the eye.
Resulting Car Crash Eye Injuries
Because the eye is such a complex organ, a wide variety of injuries can result from the trauma described above:
- Swollen/black eye
- Corneal abrasions/lacerations
- Detached retina
- Hyphema (blood pooled in the back of the eye)
- Orbital blowout (the eyeball comes out of the eye socket)
- Orbital fracture (bones around the eye are cracked)
- Chemical burn (caused by the powder from an airbag or collision with a tanker truck carrying chemicals)
- Traumatic optic neuropathy (damage to the optic nerve from a brain injury)
- Traumatic maculopathy (injury to the macula at the center of the retina)
- Vitreous hemorrhage (blood in the vitreous humor as a result of a brain injury)
The symptoms of such eye injuries can include:
- Eye pain
- Blurred vision
- Partial/total loss of vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Seeing flashes of light
Even if you don’t have any serious symptoms, it’s a good idea to seek medical treatment as soon as possible for any car crash eye injury. You might have sustained damage that only a doctor’s examination can reveal. Getting immediate medical treatment also provides documentation of your injuries, which you will need to file an insurance claim for your damages.
If the accident leading to your eye injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you’re entitled to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company for your damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages due to time off work for treatment and recovery
- Pain and suffering
- Disability care
Insurance companies are most likely to accept and pay claims for minor accidents leading to low medical bills, minimal time off work, and little or no pain and suffering. Eye injuries, however, are not apt to be minor.
They generally require referrals to specialists and possible eye surgery, both of which are expensive. Because eyesight is vital to so many aspects of life, vision problems resulting from your wreck might also interfere with your ability to return to work or participate in normal daily activities. Your loss of enjoyment of life will make your claim an even more expensive one for the insurance company.
The Need for a Lawyer
The insurance company is likely to look for ways to dispute, devalue, or deny your expensive eye injury claim in order to save money. It might try to blame your injury on a pre-existing condition or claim that you were partially or totally responsible for your own accident. If your claim is denied or you are offered an unreasonably low settlement, an experienced eye injury attorney can strengthen your case by:
- Organizing and presenting your medical evidence convincingly
- Investigating your accident thoroughly to prove the at-fault driver’s liability
- Bringing in an accident reconstruction specialist if necessary
- Calling in expert witnesses to give medical testimony
- Calculating the monetary value of your pain and suffering
- Negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf while you’re recovering
- Taking your case to trial and fighting for you in court if necessary
You’re likely to get a significantly higher award for your damages with a lawyer than without one, so your legal representation should pay for itself and more.
Have You Suffered an Eye Injury in a South Dakota Car Crash?
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you seek fair compensation for damages resulting from your eye injury. Contact us online or call us at 605-306-4100 to schedule a free consultation. We take car crash eye injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you pay no attorney fees until we win your case.