We often take for granted how our vision so greatly adds to the enjoyment of life. Imagine being unable to see your kids’ faces, the sunrise, or your favorite dog chasing his tail. Yet, many people who are involved in a car accident or other type of accident do, in fact, lose all or a portion of their visual acuity.
The National Library of Medicine defines blindness as the lack of vision, or vision loss, that glasses or contacts are unable to correct. We rely on our vision so much that any significant change in our ability to see isn’t just a physical problem – it has an enormous emotional impact as well. As attorneys, we’d like to think that we can restore any accident victim to the life they had previous to their accident, but the reality is, loss of vision can forever change an individual’s enjoyment of life. That’s why, in every case involving vision loss, we’ll always fight for the maximum financial compensation for our client so that they are able to meet their needs, and hopefully overcome this immense loss.
Per the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there are over 2.5 million eye and vision injuries every year, with sporting events being the largest cause. Of course, there are many ways to injure your body, eyes and vision included. The trauma of a car accident often results in vision changes for several different reasons.
Eye Injuries Suffered in Accidents
The immense forces involved in a motor vehicle accident can cause extensive and devastating changes to vision that often result from head trauma. Impacts to the face or head can cause physical trauma to the eyes or the brain that can affect eyesight on a short- or long-term basis. Luckily, if the eyeball and the supporting musculature have not been extensively damaged, the injuries can often be repaired partially or fully. If there is still a loss of vision present after treatment concludes, prescription eyeglasses can often restore full vision.
Neurological conditions associated with car accidents often result in more permanent negative changes to eyesight. Some of these changes include:
- Loss of ability to track or follow objects with your eyes, such as when reading words on paper or on a computer screen. The victim will be able to see what is directly in their view, but unable to use tracking ability to read.
- Loss of depth perception, which is your ability to tell how far away an object is. This can affect your ability to determine how fast a car is coming your way, or your ability to comfortably ascend and descent an unfamiliar staircase. Loss of depth perception is especially dangerous when driving because you’ll be unable to tell how far you are away from the car in front of you, the distance to the stop sign, or how close you are to a pedestrian crossing the road.
- Loss of fixation ability. An example of fixation would be watching a ball coming toward you so that you can accurately catch it. Fixation focuses your vision on a single item within your visual field and is important for hand-eye coordination.
- Loss of ability to focus. For instance, when you focus on reading this article, everything outside that focus becomes blurry. Someone suffering from vision injuries caused in a car accident may be unable to focus their eyes on a target, or the target may be unclear and blurry.
- Loss of peripheral vision. Using this article as an example again, when you focus on the words, everything else may be blurry, but you can still identify things around you even though you’re not looking directly at them. This is your peripheral vision, and when your peripheral vision is limited, so is your overall visual acuity.
- Loss of ability to recall imagery. Some traumatic brain injuries will render the victim unable to recall images or pictures in their mind after they’ve seen them. This will affect remembering places and people.
- Some injuries create extreme sensitivity to light that can even cause pain in the victim. The victim will need to wear sunglasses or darken the room to alleviate this discomfort from brightness.
- Complete loss of vision. Total blindness obviously changes your life, making you have to rely on others, and limiting your independence.
Loss of Sight Accident Procedure
When you’ve been the victim of an accident and you perceive a loss of vision, your number one priority should be medical treatment. Call 911 and ask for transport to the nearest emergency room so that your injuries can be properly treated. When you call 911, they will dispatch police officers to the scene of the accident, and the police will create an accident report. If you can, call a friend so that they can come and take pictures of the accident scene (including property damage, obvious injuries, the area surrounding the vehicles, road conditions, etc.), take down the name, phone number, and insurance information of the party at fault for the accident, and take down names and numbers of any witnesses to the accident. This will all be valuable evidence when you file your claim against the at-fault party for the damages you’ve suffered.
If you’ve suffered a loss of vision or blindness due to an accident that wasn’t your fault, the attorneys at The Sevey Law Firm invite you to come in for a free consultation. We’ll listen to the facts surrounding your case, and give you our experienced opinion on the strength of your case, and the amount of compensation you may be able to get for your damages. You are entitled to compensation for medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and property damage. Let us help you by calling (916) 788-7100 for a consultation today.