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Loss of Vision in One Eye: Case Values in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Eye

Value of Vision Loss Cases

Metro Verdicts Monthly has a graph in this month’s issue that reflects the median verdicts and settlements when the injury victim loses vision in one eye in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. The median for the loss of vision in one eye in Maryland is $231,000. You could drive a truck through the gap between Washington, D.C. and Virginia’s median settlements in verdicts with loss of vision in one eye cases: Washington, D.C.’s median is $162,500; Virginia’s is $320,000. If you read graphs regularly, you would expect Washington, D.C. and Virginia to be reversed because Virginia as a whole typically has more conservative verdicts.

These numbers are a bit misleading.   I think because most loss of vision cases are products liability cases. Many products liability cases have questionable liability which decreases the average and median recoveries. If liability is not an issue, the values of these cases are much higher.

In Maryland, any vision loss should be a “cap” case which means you would get Maryland’s statutory cap of $785,000 for an accident occurring in July, 2014 plus whatever you economic losses might be. Because of the potential loss of wages, employee benefits and loss household services on top of future medical care, the economic losses in these cases can reach the millions very quickly.

Sample Verdicts and Settlements

These are eye injury plaintiffs’ verdicts from around the country.  Can these give you a better idea of the range of value in these cases?  Absolutely.  But I think you need to be careful about reading too much into a single case that sound much like your own.  There are just too many factors in the mix to be able to read a summary paragraph and think you case is identical factually or that all of the other factors in that case – most notably, jurisdiction, will be at play in yours.   So take the lessons these cases teach us but don’t overlearn the lesson if you know what I mean.

  • Oregon, 2014 | $4,750,000 Settlement.  Plaintiff, having been diagnosed with glaucoma years earlier, sought out treatment and monitoring of his glaucoma from the Defendant, as he advertised himself as a glaucoma specialist.  I guess he was just a self-proclaimed expert. After receiving poor treatment for five years, Plaintiff had to undergo a left eye trabeculectomy (filtration surgery).  Plaintiff sued Defendant for negligently failing to properly monitor and care for his glaucoma.  The case was settled out of court for $250,000 in economic damages and $4,500,000 in non-economic damages.
  • New York, 2014 | $826,080 Settlement.  Plaintiff, a 16 year old girl, was visiting her boyfriend when another individual in the home discharged a pellet gun, striking Plaintiff in the face.  Due to the location of the pellet, it was unable to be removed, causing the Plaintiff to experience several weeks of headaches as well as permanent residual impairment of her vision.  This is awful anyway but I think these cases are a thousand times worse when we are talking about an 16 year-old with her whole life ahead of her.   Plaintiff did something that is extremely rare in a malpractice case.  They filed and won a motion for summary judgment.  So the case proceed on damages only.   This tells me it was a slam dunk case.  Doctors can almost always find doctor to defend them no matter what.  Plaintiff’s expert opined that due to the location of the pellet, it could not be safely removed, and that any type of future trauma sustained could cause a shift of the pellet’s position.
  • New York, 2014: | $2.65 Million Settlement.  Plaintiff, an undocumented immigrant, was working at a renovation when a nail ricocheted backward piercing his left eye, causing permanent damage.  Plaintiff sustained a rupture of the globe of his left eye and endured several procedures and surgeries.  Plaintiff filed suit against his employer and the premises’ owner of the renovation site.  Plaintiff’s employer was dismissed and the matter proceeded to trial against the premises’ owner.  Plaintiff claimed he had requested protective eyewear, but was instructed to work without eyewear. Plaintiff’s suit contend that the work site failed to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to the project’s workers. Plaintiff sought recovery of past and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, and damages for past and future pain and suffering.  Plaintiff’s wife sought recovery of damages for loss of consortium.  After a two week trial, and $2,939,000 million dollar verdict, the parties negotiated a post-trial settlement and the Defendant’s insurer agreed to a $2.65 million settlement.  The amount was broken down as $45,000 for past and future medical costs, $345,000 for past and future lost earnings capability, $2,500,000 for past and future pain and suffering, and $49,000 for past and future cost of medication.
  • Maryland, 2012 | $1,000,000 Verdict.  Plaintiff, 59 years old, treated with Defendant doctor for diabetic retinopathy from two years. Defendant determined that Plaintiff’s condition had progressed to proliferative diabetic retinopathy.  While Plaintiff conceded that her left eye vision could not have been saved, she argued that the Defendant failed to treat her right over for over a year, allowing her vision to go from good to blind.  Plaintiff filed a medical malpractice suit claiming negligence and failure to timely treat her condition.  Defendant denied all allegations and contended that his treatment was safe, appropriate, and conservative.  He further claimed that Plaintiff’s heart condition prevented further treatment.  He asserted that her left eye’s vision was stabilized, but the loss of vision in her right eye was lost because of a sudden and unexpected retinal detachment.  A Baltimore County jury, which usually gives doctors the benefit of the doubt, obviously saw it differently.

Getting a Lawyer

Our law firm has successful handled vision loss cases in motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and product liability cases.  Call my office at 800-55308082 and let’s figure out together whether you have a viable claim for compensation.  You can also get an on-line consultation here.

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  • Brad

    How much in North Carolina

  • Vance

    I have a case pending for an infection that ultimately caused me to lose vision in one eye to the point of legal blindness. The primary defendant is a Washington DC hospital. I visited it’s emergency room and was misdiagnosed with bacterial conjunctivitis and correctly diagnosed with a corneal abrasion. culture swabbed from eye subsequently yielded no microbes. I was given pressure patches and erithomycin cream and instructed to apply them at bed time which I did – woke up the next morning with a rapidly invading pseudomonas aeriginosa infection. Another medical entity caused an 8 hour delay in treatment and I almost lost my eye. I am going to need a full penetrating keratoplasy in June and there is no guarantee that it will be successful especially because vascularization developed due to prolonged use of antibiotic drops prescribed. Basically, I had nothing but a minor corneal abrasion that was not infected and would have healed by itself in a couple of days. Since I was leaving town the next day, I decided to go to the emergency room where I most likely picked up the pseudomonas bacteria and then it was facilitated in its journey to the center of my eyeball by the attending doctor’s contraindcated non-treatment (he did not patch the eye himself, but instructed me to do so and gave me the materials and an instruction sheet.) I don’t think causation gets any clearer than this. In fact I’ve had difficulty finding another case where the infection was actually acquired as a result of the hospital visit and then through such an incredibly negligent treatment protocol, exacerbated – I experienced the worst physical pain and am still experiencing the worst depression of my life as a result. PS, I am as noted by the hospital’s records a contact lens wearer – all peer review information, literally going back decades indicates NEVER to pressure patch a contact lens wearer presenting with a corneal abrasion. Any comments?

  • Melissa Nicolicchia

    I was in a car accident 08/2011 and a couple days after I am legally blind in my left eye. This has brought me down so hard from being able to see and drive and work now I get head ached just trying to fill out applications, or if I drive it can only be in day light. what is the least I should settle for in the state of Kentucky.

  • Ron Miller

    I agree that the value of these cases is ridiculously low. But you don’t know all of the facts. In some of these cases, the number is smaller because there was a dispute as to whether the negligence caused the injury.

  • nodummiesplease

    Well, here we are two years later and my case is about ready to be filed. I had the corneal transplant in May 2012 and the last stitches didn’t come out of my eye until two months ago. That’s an extraordiarily long healing time and I suspect its due to the viciousness with with the pseudomonas infection, possibly a nasocomal infection (acquired at the hospital) invaded my eye in August of 2011. My life has completely changed and for the worse in ways that I won’t go in to here except for this: being suddenly with distorted vision has a HUGE impact on a person; I’ll wager on any person 1 or 100 years old.

    There was an initial year of physical pain and suffering followed by a two hour operation (on the table not two hours total) during which I could hear my surgeon discussing her colleague, who is partially responsible for this debacle’s recent vacation with the attending nurse. I was supposed to be under general anesthesia but the next day the surgeon told me I have an incredibly fast metabolism and “we kept having to pump more drugs into you”. Not pretty. Well, almost two years later, my eye is as good as its going to get and that’s not very good. I have 20/100 vision which the doctors keep trying to correct with contact lenses to 20/60 but that keeps irritating my eye and feels like an onset of another infection.. Additionally other things happened to my eye during the initial infection that are worrisome for the future: a cataract formed, neovascularization formed and something called synechia, an adhesion of the lens to the eye’s posterior chamber formed creating an opportunity for the development of glaucoma. The statute of limitations runs out on my case in less than five months and I’ve had the same two attorneys for over a year; The last I was updated, notice was going to soon be filed to the violating hospital of an impending suit and an offer for settlement is expected. I’m getting tired of all of this – the whole thing, including the legal issues. All I know is I’ll never see “right” again, I’m severely depressed about that, and my life is in a negative spiral. Next time you hear about frivolous malpractice suits, consider that the plaintiff might just have suffered far more than money can hope to cure. Ironically, my attorneys fear that my case will end up being worth “less” than my expectation – it really doesn’t matter all that much to me. I’d like OMIC (the largest ophthalmologist’s insurance company) to print this note in it’s monthly newsletter and see what kind of reaction it gets.. Usually the organization is downright blatant in objectifying plaintiff’s issues (and negating them, often unjustly and plainly so).