McHale & Co. Solicitors Blog

Blindness resulting from a personal injury accident

Our eyes are extremely important, If one is blinded as a result of a penetrating eye injury then there can be a risk of sympathetic opthalmia (blindness).

Malcolm Horner Head of Personal Department at McHale and Co Solicitors in Altrincham came across sympathetic opthalmia when acting for a local Altrincham lad, The client was playing with air rifles in a garage shooting coke cans off a bench, his friend had discharged all 6 pellets from his rifle then pointed his rifle at the client and pressed the trigger another time in fun but unfortunately there was one pellet left in the rifle and the remaining pellet penetrated and blinded of the client's eyes, The police became involved interviewed all involved and concluded that it was a pure accident and no criminal proceedings followed, However for the client to claim compensation arising from the horrific injury he had to submit a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority who initially rejected the claim that the injury was not as a result of a crime of violence!

Malcolm submitted an appeal saying that the act of pulling the trigger was an act of gross negligence amounting to criminal recklessness and the appeal panel allowed that argument and awarded the client £23500 which was was the appropriate award under the scheme at the time for loss of one eye, Malcolm said that was insufficient and asked for a 6 month adjournment to enable him to obtain a report from an Opthalmic surgeon and Employment consultant, The report from the Opthalmic surgeon ( eye specialist) referred to the risk of a penetrating eye injury causing sympathic opthalmia ( complete blindness) at a later date and the employment consultant referred to the clients difficulties at work and with one eye he was denied many jobs. The client was then awarded a considerably greater award.

Adam Horner, also of McHale and Co Solicitors in Altrincham recently acted for a client who suffered blindness in his right eye following a holiday on a cruise ship. The on board doctor failed to identify a condition called temporal arteritis which led to the client losing sight in one eye. The ship initially denied liability but after expert evidence was obtained and disclosed Adam managed to obtain sizeable award for the client.

There are other examples of injuries caused in an accident leading to problems in later life and unless the lawyer provides for this in the final award(provisional damages award) a professional negligence claim may follow!

Malcolm or Adam Horner can be contacted at McHale and Co Solicitors on 0161 928 3848

Categories: Personal Injury

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