Workers’ Compensation for Eye Injuries
Information on this page is not intended as a substitute for a medical evaluation by a qualified provider.
Eye injuries at work can range from temporary impairment to permanent impairment. While permanent vision loss can be devastating and life-changing, even a “minor” eye injury can lead to a significant loss of wages due to time away from work. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that workplace eye injuries cost an estimated $300 million a year in lost productivity, medical treatment, and worker compensation.
In most cases, your employer is required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance. This coverage provides you with medical care and a level of financial protection if you are injured at work.
At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we understand the importance of your workers’ compensation claim. We work aggressively to pursue the medical care and financial compensation our clients may deserve. Call 1-866-900-7078 today for a free case evaluation.
What Workers’ Comp Benefits Can I Get for an Eye Injury at Work?
If you received an eye injury at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for the following harms and losses related to your eye injury:
- Medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Payment for your permanent impairment*
*With regard to permanent disability, the loss of both eyes constitutes a total and permanent disability. Regarding vision loss, in North Carolina where there is 85% or more loss of vision in any eye, this is deemed “100% industrial blindness,” and the injured worker will be compensated for the total loss of vision of that eye. In South Carolina, 80% vision loss is considered “100% industrial blindness.”
Tip: If your eye injury was caused by a person or entity other than your employer or a co-worker, you may be able to file a third party claim for additional compensation.
Can I Apply for Disability Benefits for an Eye Injury at Work?
You may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, in addition to workers’ compensation benefits, if your eye injury prevents you from returning to work.
Tip: Workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability benefits may be interrelated. If you qualify for both, this is even more reason you should talk to an experienced attorney.
What Are Common Causes of On-the-Job Eye Injuries?
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), approximately 2,000 workers sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment each day. Common causes of eye injuries at work are:
- Small flying objects– dust, cement chips, metal slivers, and wood splinters
The majority of eye injuries result from small flying objects (windblown or ejected from tools) striking or scraping the eye.
- Penetration and impact – nails, staples, and tools that slip or malfunction
Large objects may strike and penetrate a worker’s eye, or a worker may run into an object causing blunt-force trauma to the eye resulting in loss of vision.
- Chemicals– splashes and fumes
Industrial chemicals or cleaning products are common causes of chemical burns to eyes.
- Thermal burns – steam, grease, and oil
Kitchen, industrial, and food manufacturing plant workers are exposed to high heat and substances which can result in thermal burns to eyes.
- Radiation burns – ultraviolet radiation, heat or infrared radiation, and lasers
Burns to the eye which damage workers’ eyes and surrounding tissue often occur, especially among welders.
- Bloodborne pathogens– from blood and body fluids
Diseases such as hepatitis A and B or HIV can be transmitted through the mucous membranes of the eye as a result of coughing, blood splashes, and touching of the eye with a contaminated finger.
If you have suffered an eye injury at work, contact an experienced attorney to discuss how workers’ compensation may apply to your case. Our attorneys will fight hard to try and help you receive the workers’ compensation benefits to which you may be entitled.
What Are Common Work-Related Eye Injuries?
Vision problems can result from work injuries and can consequently affect all types of work situations. For example, if your eye injury has resulted in limited vision or vision loss, you may be prevented from driving or doing any type of detailed or artistic work. Common types of work-related eye injuries are:
- Eye Strain
According to Prevent Blindness America, one in 10 on-the-job eye injuries requires one or more missed workdays of recovery. And ten percent to 20 percent of all work-related eye injuries will cause temporary or permanent vision loss.
What Jobs Are Most at Risk for Eye Injuries?
Eye injures most frequently occur in the manufacturing, construction, and service industries. High risk occupations for eye injuries include:
- Construction workers
- Assemblers and fabricators
- Auto repair workers
- Maintenance workers
How Do I Avoid Getting an Eye Injury at Work?
OSHA reports that thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented with the proper selection and use of eye and face protection.
According to Prevent Blindness America, the best way to prevent eye injury at work is to wear safety eyewear whenever there is a chance of eye injury. Anyone working in or passing through areas that pose eye hazards should wear protective gear. The specific type of safety eye protection you should wear depends on the hazards in your workplace.
If you are working:
In an area that has particles, flying objects, or dust,
you should wear safety glasses with side protection.
With chemicals, you should wear goggles.
Near hazardous radiation, you should wear special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, a face shield, a full face respirator, or a helmet designed for that task.
In addition to protective eyewear, many workplaces have engineering controls in place, such as machine guarding, work screens, and cautionary signage, to reduce the risk of eye injuries.
Contact our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Being hurt on the job is a tough situation, and some eye injuries can be truly life-altering. With so much at stake, it’s important that you consult with a workers’ comp lawyer to know that you are getting the benefits to which you may be entitled, especially if your injury has long term effects. At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we understand how to apply the law to workers’ compensation cases, and we fight to try and help our clients receive the maximum benefits they may be entitled to.