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Ophthalmology is an area of medicine which deals with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases of the eye and visual system.
Eye conditions and diseases can be successfully treated if caught early, and can be managed effectively with existing treatments and medicines. However, when they are not diagnosed promptly or managed effectively, permanent and irreversible damage can occur.
If you believe that you may have a case please contact us via our freephone number or by filling in our request a call back form. We will ensure that you get to speak quickly and directly to one of our dedicated team who can advise you on your options, free of charge.
After you first make contact, we will then:
– Provide an analysis of your potential case
– Advise whether you should pursue it further
– Explore ways of funding your case with you if we believe you have a case
The clinical negligence team at Royds Withy King has a great deal of experience in dealing with ophthalmology claims and have successfully concluded a wide range of ophthalmic cases. We work closely with trusted experts to ensure claims are thoroughly investigated and to ensure we understand your case fully to achieve the best possible outcome.
A claim for ophthalmic negligence can arise when there has been a delay in diagnosis or mismanagement of an eye condition or disease which has resulted in injury or suffering.
In order to bring a successful claim, liability and causation must be established.
To establish liability it must be shown that the investigation or treatment in question fell below the standard of a reasonably competent practitioner in the relevant field practising at the relevant time. In addition to satisfying the test for liability, causation must also be established. This means that there must be a link between the substandard treatment and the injury that has been suffered. Hence, it is not sufficient to show that the treatment that was received was negligent: it must also be shown that negligent treatment caused damage.
Some examples of when you may have a claim include:
– failure to diagnose corneal ulcers;
– delay in diagnosis of detached retina;
– delay in diagnosis of glaucoma;
– negligent laser eye surgery or cataract surgery;
– failure to treat eye infections leading to loss of sight.
There is a statutory limitation period of three years for clinical negligence claims within which legal proceedings should generally be brought. The three year period runs either from the date of the alleged negligence or from the date of knowledge. The date of knowledge is when the Claimant could first reasonably have been expected to have known that the injury was rather significant and attributable to the identified negligence.
Bringing an ophthalmic claim to a successful conclusion will typically take around three years, but may take longer or conclude quicker depending on the complexity of the issues, and whether liability is admitted. We will always do our best to progress your claim as quickly and efficiently as possible and will keep you informed at every step of the way.
If we think you have a claim we will obtain copies of your medical records and, once we have these, instruct experts to provide an initial report to confirm whether negligence has occurred. Our experts will look into your case in detail, advise what care you should have received, and determine the future impact of the negligence to your health. They’ll also advise us on the care you’ll need in the future. Once we are in receipt of supportive expert evidence, a Letter of Claim will be sent to the Defendant inviting them to admit liability.
If liability is not admitted, we will start court proceedings, although it is worth noting that most claims settle before reaching court.
Assuming supportive evidence is obtained, you can rest assured that we will vigorously pursue your claim until a favourable settlement is obtained.
There are various funding options available for your clinical negligence claim.
The first funding option available is legal expenses insurance. It is a legal requirement that we look into this method of funding your claim before we consider any other.
If you do not have legal expenses insurance, it is likely we will enter into a Conditional Fee Agreement, (CFA) with you, which is essentially a no win no fee agreement.
The pursuit of this claim by way of CFA means that you do not pay our legal costs, and will pay nothing at all if your claim is unsuccessful. If your claim is successful, our fee is limited to a maximum of 25% of your general damages and past losses.
The compensation awarded in ophthalmic claims will depend on the severity of the damage caused as a result of the negligence. Compensation in clinical negligence cases consists of three main strands:-
1 – General damages; this is an amount which is designed to compensate you for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity;
2 – Special damages; past financial losses incurred from the accident to the date of the trial.
3 – Future losses; losses that you are likely to incur in the future, as a result of your injury.
More specifically, making an ophthalmic claim will enable you to pay for loss of earnings, any future treatment required from an ophthalmology expert on a private basis, any special equipment you may require such as visual aids and any ongoing expenses such as medication and travel costs etc.
If you have suffered permanent blindness, severely impaired vision or the loss of an eye because of negligent eye treatment, we will obtain compensation that will enable you to fund care costs, visual aid equipment, loss of earnings until retirement age, and will also take into account your pain and suffering.
We will never under settle your claim and will ensure the settlement you receive is fair compensation for the injury you have suffered, and will enable you to adapt to any life changes you may have had to make.