No one can argue about the value of the eye. The human eye is a remarkable tool designed by nature, but is also a vital one. Humans rely on their eyes to see, function, and experience life. That is why patients visit their eye doctors. They receive routine, annual screenings, receive prescription glasses and ensure complications with their vision are addressed immediately.
Sadly, there are instances where an eye doctor or specialist may miss a condition or cause a serious error that results in the patient losing his or her ability to see the world around them.
If you believe you are the victim of vision malpractice, the experienced legal team at Malman Law is ready to help. For a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced lawyers, please call us today or request additional information online.
A healthy eye works like a camera. It provides you with clear, uninterrupted vision using several components.
Just some elements of the eye include the iris, pupil, cornea, and lens. All these elements work together to bring images in and allow your brain to interpret them.
An ophthalmologist is a physician who deals with the treatment, pathology, function, and anatomy of the eye. The casual reference to them is an “eye doctor.” Some eye doctors have medical degrees, which means they receive specialized training to provide everything from eye surgery to prescription glasses.
There are subspecialties in this field of medicine. These subspecialties focus specifically on one area of treatment and include:
Not all poor outcomes are the result of negligence or lawsuits. Instead, a lawsuit stems from negligence by the physician or their staff.
Surgical injuries might include leaving instruments in the patient’s eye, performing surgery on the wrong eye, performing unnecessary eye surgeries, carelessly using surgical tools, or causing damage to other parts of the eye not being operated on.
The eye is delicate and subject to severe infections. Infections can spread to the brain and result in eye loss. When surgical equipment or examination equipment is not properly sanitized, an infection is more likely.
Eye doctors must follow up with their patients after treatments and diagnosis.
Failure to follow up after a surgery, ignoring a patient’s medical history, or discharging a patient too early after vision surgery could result in serious injuries.
During routine screenings, eye doctors detect potential conditions. If that eye doctor fails to diagnose or misdiagnoses a patient, it could result in permanent injuries. Sometimes, a patient might be diagnosed with an eye condition they do not have, resulting in thousands of dollars in expensive treatments.
Medical devices and medications come in many forms, but when a doctor chooses to use them off-label (a use not intended by the manufacturer), it can result in complications. This is particularly the case during delicate eye surgery when an off-label product is supplemented for a recommended tool.
There are a number of medical conditions that require treatment by an ophthalmologist:
Ophthalmologists are required to dedicate many years to properly train in their specialty. Besides four years of medical school, they often spend a year interning in general medicine before dedicating another three years to their profession in residency.
Taking that into account, ophthalmologists can still make medical errors. During the preventative part of a routine eye exam, an eye doctor may misdiagnose or even miss a pathology diagnosis, causing the condition to go untreated. Detection of a disease in its early stages can save a patient thousands of dollars in medical bills further down the road.
Any mistake at the hands of an ophthalmologist should be legally remedied. Any patient who experiences vision loss should not have to compromise their financial well-being. The legal team at Malman Law will be able to provide you with a free case evaluation to determine if your eye doctor acted negligently.
The most common vision problems are a result of a refractive error within one or both eyes. A refractive error is caused by a misshaping of the cornea (transparent tissue forming the front of the eye), causing light to not fall properly on the retina (layer or tissue on the back of the eye).
The four types of refractive errors are:
Sometimes a patient elects to wear an eyeglass prescription, while other patients may choose to correct the problem and undergo LASIK surgery. LASIK Surgery is a type of laser refractive surgery that is performed to improve a patient’s vision. The acronym LASIK stands for Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis. During the procedure, a surgeon removes a flap from the front of the eye and uses a laser to reshape the cornea.
With LASIK surgery, a patient may be able to gain a correction of 20/20 vision or better. In a condition such as presbyopia, the surgeon will replace the patient’s natural lens with an artificial lens in order for them to have multifocal angles.
Sadly, LASIK Surgery comes with its own set of risks:
Some complications are more serious than others, and could be the result of an error on the part of the eye surgeon. In rare circumstances, patients may lose the majority of their vision or even go blind.
It is the duty of the eye surgeon to review the risks before a patient undergoes LASIK surgery. If you have experienced a complication from LASIK surgery, a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney will be able to review the specifics of your situation and present any legal remedies available to you.
Eye treatment errors, surgical mistakes, and other forms of negligence can lead to visual impairment and permanent injury. Some patients will lose their vision for the rest of their life, or suffer life-threatening injuries and complications.
Serious injuries that a patient might endure because of an eye doctor’s negligence include:
Eye injuries are costly and complicated to correct. A patient may require several, expensive, eye surgical procedures to restore vision, a corneal transplant, or the consequences of permanent vision loss.
Depending on the seriousness of the injury, the patient may be entitled to multiple forms of compensation, including:
Our experienced legal team can help you determine which of these damages you are eligible to recover as part of your malpractice claim or lawsuit. We can then help you pursue the maximum amount of compensation to make you whole again to the greatest extent possible.
If you file a malpractice claim or lawsuit against an eye care provider, the goal is to recover the highest amount of monetary compensation available for your injuries. The claims-filing process starts when we submit a settlement demand letter, along with a demand package, to the malpractice insurance carrier. The demand letter will include an initial settlement demand within the malpractice carrier’s policy limits. Most medical, dental, and optical providers have high insurance coverage limits. However, this does not necessarily mean that your case warrants policy limits offer from the insurer. The number of damages you ultimately receive will depend upon the extent of your injuries and the overall impact they have had on your life.
In most instances, it is extremely difficult to convince an insurance company to accept fault for alleged malpractice. After all, insurance companies are going to try and save themselves as much money as possible. They may even refuse to make an offer on your case. If the insurance company disputes fault for the alleged malpractice, we could retain our own expert to review the evidence, and if necessary, testify at a deposition or court proceeding.
If the at-fault vision provider’s malpractice insurer accepts fault for the malpractice, then we can begin settlement negotiations on your behalf. However, it typically takes several rounds of negotiations between ourselves and the insurance company before the latter will agree to increase their offer significantly. If we reach an impasse, we could threaten the insurance company with litigation, and if necessary, file a lawsuit against the provider in court. We would then litigate your case to a conclusion — either at a jury trial or alternative dispute resolution proceeding.
At a jury trial, the jury besides the issue of monetary compensation, including what damages to award you for your vision complications. Alternatively, we could take your case before a binding arbitrator who listens to the evidence and decides the amount of monetary compensation to award you.
Our legal team can help you decide on the best course of action for your case, including whether or not to accept a pending settlement offer, take your case to a jury trial, or pursue one or more types of alternative dispute resolution. We will do everything possible to help you maximize the damages you receive for your eye injury resulting from malpractice.
Common surgical procedures, such as LASIK and retina surgery, commonly result in malpractice lawsuits. That is because these procedures are dangerous and carry significant risks to the patient if performed incorrectly.
An eye surgeon must inform the patient of all risks and benefits of the surgical procedure or treatment. Then, the patient can only consent to the procedure after understanding these options.
To receive actual informed consent, the eye surgeon or doctor must:
Eye treatments and procedures are constantly evolving. Therefore, if you are diagnosed with a specific condition, your eye doctor may propose an experimental treatment or ask to involve you in a study.
You must also give informed consent for these studies, but realize that studies and experimental treatments do not carry the same protections as an accepted treatment for eye problems. However, physicians are required to inform you if you are participating in an experimental treatment. They are still required to obtain informed consent, and you must be aware of any approved treatments, along with their risks and benefits. If you accept the experimental treatment, your physician must explain all risks of that experimental treatment.
Poor outcomes are not always the result of malpractice. However, it is in your best interest to consult with your medical malpractice attorney if you suspect you are the victim of negligence. These types of cases are extremely complex; therefore, you need a lawyer who can assist you with reviewing medical records, consulting experts in similar fields, and ensuring that the eye doctor breached his or her duty of care to you.
The attorneys at Malman Law understand what you are going through. Furthermore, we know the consequences of permanent eye damage or loss. We want to help you cope with that loss as best as possible. Our attorneys will advocate for your right to compensation, and we will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our attorneys today by calling us or request more information online.
Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.
Years of experience: +30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2023