Eye injury compensation claims

Important Lessons From An Eye Injury Compensation Claim21st Feb 2020

by Adrian Cormack on 21st Feb 2020

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A recent eye injury compensation claim victory shows how important it is to have a tenacious lawyer to help you fight your corner.

We refused to accept the defendant’s low compensation offer – and as a result secured an extra £2,040 in compensation for our client when they went to court.

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Claiming For Chemical Burns To The Face

Our client suffered a chemical burn to his face while at work. The 49-year-old driver sustained eye injuries while a colleague was spraying a vehicle with degreasant.

Hospital clinicians treated our client for eye injuries which included:

  • slightly reduced vision in his right eye
  • streaming (which would continue for two months)
  • significant photophobia (sensitivity to light) in his right eye.

Fortunately, our client’s condition is expected to improve. But that accident should never have happened – the vehicle degreasing should have been done in a safer place because of the risk of harm from the chemicals.

Taking Legal Action Through The Claims Portal

Under the law, our client had to use the electronic Claims Portal because his case fell in the £1-to-£25,000 bracket. Using the portal involves a three-stage process:

  1. Investigation – our injury lawyers send a Claim Notification Form (EL1) to the defendant. They must acknowledge receipt within one working day. They then have 21 days to respond formally with their defence (or 40 days if it is an Employer’s Liability claim). If they admit liability, the case goes to stage two... 
  2. Negotiation – each side is allowed to make two offers in a bid to agree compensation terms. If there is no agreement, the case goes to stage three…
  3. Litigation – the case goes to court where a judge decides compensation.

How We Secured More Compensation For Our Client

Despite the injuries to our client, the defendant company would offer only £4,230 in compensation – even after our client reduced his compensation claim from £7,500 to £6,500.

We believed that £4,230 was too low, given the injuries that our client had suffered. So we recommended going to court to secure more in compensation.

The judge agreed – and awarded our client £6,270 in compensation. The defendant also had to pay our client’s costs of £1,680 plus disbursements (court fee, barrister’s fee) of £1,475.

Important Lessons From This Case

This case – though a smaller claim – is important for several reasons…

Lesson 1

First and foremost, it was about securing justice for a client who had been injured through no fault of his own.

Every case matters, every client matters – and we will fight tenaciously to secure the very best compensation we can for our clients. Even when the law officially lists the injuries as supposedly “minor”.

That accident was preventable – a few basic safety precautions would have saved our client from injury, pain, suffering and worry.

Lesson 2

The second lesson is a valuable one for defendants. By refusing to budge from their initial compensation offer, the other side in this case cost themselves far more in the long run.

Had the defendant agreed to our first or second offer during the negotiations, the claim would have cost them £6,500 or £7,500. But instead they were stubborn…and that cost them £9,425 in compensation, costs and disbursements.

They should have settled when they had the chance.

Lesson 3

The third lesson is for insurers – many of whom make low offers then refuse to budge. They know that most claimants will not take the case to court.

But our clients are not ‘most claimants’. They are not afraid to take a case all the way because they:

  • are in the right
  • want justice to prevail
  • have our lawyers to fight for them.

So insurers, lesson two applies to you too – it’s much smarter to settle early with a sensible offer. You’ll pay less in the end.

Injured? Claim Compensation No Win No Fee 

Have you been injured in an accident? Claim compensation using a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement – so there is no financial risk to you.

Contact Coles Miller injury lawyer Adrian Cormack for more information.

This document is not intended to constitute and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice on any specific matter. No liability for the accuracy of the content of this document, or the consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. If you seek further information, please contact Managing Partner Neil Andrews at Coles Miller Solicitors LLP.