Knowledge base

Eye Injury Compensation Claims

Eye injuries as a result of an accident affect 800,000 people per year. However, it's proven that 90% of these injuries are preventable. Eye injuries can affect vision, having significant effects on a person’s lifestyle, and livelihood.

Protective gear to prevent eye injury
Injured? Get expert advice now: Smith's are Queensland's only 100% risk-free injury compensation lawyers. Insist on our 'No Win. No Fee. No Catch' ® promise. Check your rights with no risk or obligations now and talk direct to our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith. Call 1800 266 801 OR  check if you can claim

Can I claim eye injury compensation?

You may be able to claim compensation for an eye injury if it resulted from someone else’s negligence or carelessness. Negligence may arise in a variety of settings. Call us anytime on 1800 266 801 for expert free initial injury compensation advice on your specific question.

How much compensation for eye injury at work?

If you are injured at work, you may be able to claim compensation from your employer if they failed to provide a safe working environment. The amount of compensation will depend on many factors including income lost to date, projected future loss of earnings, impact on your ability to work and the level of medical costs and pain and suffering.

Employers must provide proper and adequate means for employees to carry out their work. This includes:

  • providing safe systems of work
  • maintaining safe machinery and equipment
  • maintaining a safe workplace; and
  • providing employees with adequate facilities, training, supervision and instruction.
Safety warning cone and adequate systems of work

If you are injured because your employer neglects to provide safe systems of work, equipment or a safe environment, you may be able to sue for personal injury compensation. This includes injuries incurred over a long period of time, late onset injuries, and aggravations of pre-existing injuries.

Note: Weekly WorkCover payments operate under a separate ‘no fault’ scheme, meaning that you can receive weekly payments to cover lost income even if your injury was not because of your employer’s negligence.

Professions at risk for eye injuries

Jobs that pose the highest risk for eye injuries include those that involve use of chemicals, dusty environments, excessive lights or compressed air, and those that use cutting, drilling, hammering, sanding, wielding machinery or power tools.

Jeff sustains a serious eye injury at work when a faulty door of a waste recycling bin swings open striking him in the right side of the face and smashing the safety googles he is wearing. Jeff may be able to claim compensation for his eye injuries as they occurred as a result of his employer’s failure to properly maintain its equipment.
Rick suffers a flash burn injury from performing work with a welding torch without wearing the eye protection his employer provided. Rick may not be able to claim compensation for his injuries as they were due to his own negligence. However, he could apply for Workers Compensation payments while he is off work.

See also: WorkCover Claims

Eye injury from car accident - can I claim compensation?

Motorbike accident causing eye injury

If you sustain an eye injury due to a car accident and it was totally or partially due to the fault of another driver or vehicle owner you can claim compensation from the owner of the vehicle that caused the accident through their Compulsory Third Party insurer.

Jeff is thrown from his motorcycle striking his face and sustaining an orbital blowout fracture when a speeding vehicle changes lanes and collides with him. Jeff can claim compensation from the owner of the speeding car through its CTP insurer.
Rick is texting while driving and fails to notice that all of the cars in front of him are stopped. He collides with the rear of a car in front of him at speed and sustains an orbital blowout fracture when his face impacts with the steering wheel. Rick is unable to claim compensation for his injuries because the accident was totally his fault (although exceptions may apply for catastrophic accidents).
If the accident occurred after July 1, 2016 he may be able to seek necessary and reasonable medical and rehabilitation services through the National Injury Insurance Scheme of Queensland (NIISQ).

See Also: Car and road injury claims

Eye injury sustained on someone else's property - can I claim compensation?

Eye injuries caused by sports

Occupiers (including owners of private property and public authorities), have a duty of care toward people coming onto their land. They must take reasonable care to make sure entrants are not exposed to risks that are likely to cause injury.  This means if there is something that is potentially dangerous on their property they must rectify it or warn people of the danger.

Common scenarios include someone slipping on a floor surface, tripping over an unexpected obstacle on the ground, falling into an unmarked hole in the pavement, or being hit by falling debris from a building site.

Johnny is walking across the school oval when he is struck in the eye by a rouge tennis ball. The tennis courts were being refurbished so tennis practice was being conducted at one end of the oval without any nets or fences to stop stray balls.  Johnny may be able to seek compensation for his injuries from the school.
Rachel is playing tennis with three friends at a hired tennis court, when she is struck in the eye with a forcefully served tennis ball. Rachel may not be able to claim compensation since there is no negligent action on the part of the owners of the tennis courts that caused her injury.
Strict time limits apply - seek legal advice ASAP - In most circumstances, the time limit to start a compensation claim is 3 years from the date of incident. Some processes need to be started much sooner. Call us on 1800 266 801 or start a live chat now.

How much compensation for eye injury?

Eye injury compensation agreement

In general terms, the amount of compensation is gauged by comparing what your life was like before the injury and what it is like now as a result of the injury. Someone whose injury has had a greater impact on their life will be entitled to more compensation than someone whose injury has had only minimal impact.

The amount of compensation payable for an eye injury will vary greatly from case to case, depending on a variety of variables such as:

  • the severity of the injury: more severe injuries will attract more compensation
  • the age of the patient: young people are likely to receive greater compensation than older people for a similar injury as it will impact their lifestyle and employment for a longer period of time.
  • level of health prior to the incident: an active and healthy person may suffer more from an injury because they are unable to exercise the way they did prior to the accident and may become predisposed to mood disorders and other health conditions they may not have suffered were it not for their injury.
  • pre-incident lifestyle: injured claimants who formerly engaged in activities they can no longer participate in may experience greater a impact from t heir injuries.
  • occupation: greater compensation will be payable where a person’s ability to work in their former occupation is impacted severely by their injuries

What can I claim for?

General damages

Claiming for general damages

General damages compensate you for the pain and suffering you have experienced as well as any permanent loss of enjoyment of life as a result of an injury. They are calculated by reference to the ISV Scale which rates the seriousness of any injury between 1 and 100 and accords a monetary value range to that rating.

For example a complete loss of sight in both eyes has a rating of 50 to 80 and a corresponding monetary range of $131,200 to $254,400 whereas a minor eye injury is rated 0 to 5 with a monetary range of $0 to $6,950.

Medical costs

To diagnose and treat an eye injury you may ned to consult your general practitioner, consult a specialist and take medications. The expenses you incur to obtain medical treatment including costs of consultations, diagnostic scans, travel costs, medication and medical equipment may be claimed as compensation.   You can also claim for medical costs you will incur in the future as a result of your injury.

Hospital and surgical costs

Eye injuries may require corrective surgery. Surgical and hospital costs paid by you can be claimed as compensation as long as the surgery was necessary to treat your condition.

Hospital care and rehabilitation costs

Rehabilitation costs

Eye injuries may require surgery to repair, remove or reconstruct components. Surgical and hospital costs paid by you can be claimed as compensation as long as the surgery was necessary to treat your condition.

Loss of income and future earning capacity

If you sustain a serious eye injury you may need time off work for several weeks or months immediately after the incident. You can claim compensation for this lost income.

If your eye injury prevents you from working in the future to the same extent as you did prior to the injury you may also be able to claim loss of future income earning capacity. Occupations that require acute vision, driving or operating machinery may be difficult for someone who has suffered an eye injury and their capacity to earn income in the future may be reduced. This is usually estimated as a lump sum figure based on the age of the person, their usual occupation, and other skills.

Loss of superannuation

Compensation can be claimed for superannuation that would have been paid on lost income.

Care & assistance

Lifebuoy for care and assistance after eye injury

Eye injuries resulting in blindness may prevent you from being able to perform tasks such as cleaning, laundry, mowing your lawns, caring for the garden or other domestic chores. If you formerly performed these duties but are now unable to due to an injury you can claim compensation for care and assistance provided to you by friends, relatives or paid contractors.

In Queensland there is a minimum threshold for this type of compensation.


Interest can generally be claimed on compensation for any out of pocket expenses that are incurred before your claim is resolved.

Get advice on your rights today

Request a free expert case review & chat with our Principal lawyer by calling us on 1800 976 691, starting a live chat (icon in bottom right of screen) or requesting a call back.

How long do I have to start an eye injury compensation claim?

Time limits that apply to start an eye injury compensation claim

For most personal injury claims, a legal action must be commenced within 3 years of the date of the injury. If you miss this deadline, you will lose the right to claim compensation.

However, depending on where your injury occurred or who you are claiming against, specific pre-court procedures may apply which may have much shorter time limits. If you miss these time limits you may lose your right to claim unless you can provide good reason for delaying and why you should be allowed to proceed with your claim. 

Those aged under 18 will typically have until they are 21 to start the claims process.

In addition, getting accurate records such as CCTV or reliable witness statements for example may be difficult if starting a claim several years after the incident.

In summary, it’s best to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible to ensure you understand your rights and the required evidence to make a strong claim can be gathered. View time limit information article for more detail.

Common eye injuries 

Damage to the eye may occur in a variety of ways:

Hard hat and protective glasses to prevent eye injury

  • Corneal abrasion or puncture - significant discomfort, irritation, and hypersensitivity to light may result from the cells on the cornea surface being scratched or disrupted as a result of some object making contact with the eye such as sand, dust debris etc.
  • Loss of eye - eyeball must be surgically removed due to severe injury, disease or cancer in eye
  • Chemical burn - damage to the cornea, conjunctiva and occasionally the lens as a result of exposure to either strongly acidic or alkaline chemicals and other substances
  • Lodged foreign object - damage caused when some particle enters the eye and may become stuck or lodged in the eye causing damage to vision or infection
  • Traumatic Iritis - inflammation of the pigmented lining inside the eye due to blunt trauma or chemical burn
  • Detached retina - tear occurs in retina as a result of an injury and/or vitreous leaking through retinal hole or tear
  • Orbital blowout fractures - traumatic deformity to the skull bones around the eye usually from impact from a blunt object to the midfacial region
  • Welding flash burns - painful inflammation to the cornea when exposed to bright ultraviolet light including wielding torches, direct sunlight or reflection or sunlamps
  • Bilateral blindness - clinical blindness can result from head injuries, intracranial haemorrhage, retinal detachment, stroke, chlorine poisoning and embedded foreign objects

Common causes of eye injuries

Eye injuries most commonly result in the workplace, but may also arise in a number of other situations. For example:

Eye injury caused by trampoline fall

  • Impacts by moving objects: impacts to the head or face by blunt moving objects is particularly common in the workplace.
  • Sports: impacts from contact sports, and balls and other sporting equipment can cause serious trauma to the eye
  • Light flashes: burns from welding torches, sunlamps or direct sunlight are a common workplace hazard
  • Falls: falls in sport from a horse, quad, or bicycle or during other recreational activities -eg: fall at the playground or from a trampoline- are common causes of eye injuries in children
  • Dog bites: Dog attacks or even just a happy puppy can cause eye injuries

Potential long-term impacts of eye injuries

Some eye injuries can ultimately lead to loss of vision or complete blindness which can have serious consequences for a person’s independence, lifestyle and employment. Loss of a major sensory faculty such as sight can also have a psychological impact including depression.

Next steps: what to do if you have suffered an eye injury 

Depending on the nature of your eye injury and the circumstances which caused it, compensation may or may not be available.

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Last update on:
June 1, 2021
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

Next steps — get advice now

It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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