Vision Impairment Caused by Work Conditions: Do I Have a Case?

Your employer has a responsibility to protect you while you work. This means offering protective eye equipment when staring into bright lights or if you may be exposed to smoke or soot that could get into your eyes. If you discover that your vision has been impaired because of employer negligence, you may have a case for workers’ compensation benefits.

Was Protective Equipment Provided?

The first question that you or your attorney should ask is whether or not an employer made protective eye equipment available. This means that goggles or other materials that cover your eyes or entire face were both there for you to use, and were in good working condition. If equipment didn’t fit properly or was otherwise useless for some reason, the employer may still be considered negligent.

Were You Aware That Equipment Was Available?

Were you made aware that you could wear goggles and they were available for you to use? Were you ever made aware of the fact that there were eye washing stations or other resources available to clean out of your eyes if necessary? If not, your employer may still be liable as they are generally required to notify and train employees on how to use safety equipment.

Did You Use Available Equipment?

There are times when employees will fail to use safety equipment because they think that it is too dangerous or too inconvenient to put on. However, if you were aware of safety equipment available to you and failed to use it, it may have an impact on the amount of your award, or whether it is approved or not.

Were You Engaged in Tasks That You Were Qualified to Perform?

There is a level of danger in almost any task that you may perform at work. However, your employer is responsible for ensuring that you are properly trained or otherwise qualified to undertake a specific task at work. If you lose your vision or suffer from impaired vision because you were asked to do something that you couldn’t do safely, you will generally have a case against your employer.

Did You Voice Concerns Previously?

While this won’t necessarily disqualify you from seeking workers’ compensation benefits, it may help if you had voiced concerns about vision problems previously. If you can show that you complained or sought treatment, it may strengthen the link between unsafe work conditions and your issues.

Your DC workers’ compensation lawyer may also advise you to go see a doctor and obtain any relevant medical records in an effort to show that your employer could have done more to help you. If you either didn’t seek treatment in the past, or didn’t voice concerns to your supervisor, your employer may try to argue that your vision loss was caused by a condition not connected to your employment.

If you noticed that your eyesight has diminished or you have problems seeing, it may be possible to obtain compensation. It may help you pay for any costs related to your condition, as well as replace of some or all of your salary on a temporary or permanent basis. Consult a local workers’ compensation attorney today for more information.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their added insight into workers compensation claims.