A quick internet search will show you how Lasik is widely considered to be a safe, low-risk surgery. But what happens when the surgery goes wrong? You may have grounds for a Lasik lawsuit.
On May 31, 2007, a Lasik recipient filed a medical malpractice case against his surgeon. The plaintiff claimed the surgeon failed to disclose the risks of the procedures. The surgeon also failed to diagnose a condition that contraindicated the Lasik surgery. The result? A young pharmacist has never been able to perform his duties the same, due to worsened vision.
As safe as Lasik may be, complications can occur. In fact, the amount of Lasik lawsuits against surgeons and facilities has been rapidly growing. What should have resulted in corrected vision can often lead to more serious complications and conditions.
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What Is Lasik?
Lasik eye surgery is the most commonly performed laser surgery to correct vision problems. Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) can treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. The procedure works by reshaping the cornea so light entering the eyes can properly focus on the retina. This is what leads to clearer vision. Essentially, recipients can enjoy clear, perfect vision without the use of eyeglasses or corrective contact lens.
Malpractice, Neglect, And Serious Complications
All surgeries come with their share of risks. Lasik surgery has its own, albeit rare and far out. Most injuries following Lasik aren’t due to the surgery itself. In fact, they’re generally because of negligence by the surgeon and/or the facility. While this should never occur, courts do see Lasik lawsuits.
Surgeons have been found to breach the standard of care while treating a patient. If this leads to a patient injury, complications, or illnesses, you’re staring at some serious malpractice.
Here’s how surgeons can be neglectful in the case of Lasik surgeries:
- Performing the wrong surgical plan
- Failure to identify pre-existing conditions
- Failure to obtain informed consent from the patient
- Not being licensed to perform Lasik surgery
- Using faulty equipment
- Failure to follow up
Now here are just some of the complications that can arise from Lasik malpractice:
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Poor nighttime vision
- Chronic pain
- Undertreatment or overtreatment
- Seeing halos, glares or starbursts
- Dry eyes
- Inability to perceive depth
- Inability to see contrast
- Permanent blindness
While some negligence and carelessness by Lasik surgeons can result in temporary issues, other times the impairment may be permanent. Lasik malpractice can lead to permanent damage to the cornea. This often happens when the patient was not a good candidate for Lasik but the physician/surgeon failed to determine that.
Filing A Lasik Lawsuit
More and more patients unhappy with Lasik are suing doctors and facilities for compensation. Claims range from leaving patients with poorer vision, or in extreme cases, leaving them legally blind.
Before taking any legal steps, you need to ensure your injuries or complications are a direct result of negligence.
The very first step towards a Lasik lawsuit is to establish what the proper standard of care would have been for a Lasik surgery. Determine what steps a skillful surgeon would have taken in all phases of performing Lasik:
- pre-op screening
- receiving informed consent
- performing the surgery
- post-op care
Next, you would need to show exactly how the surgeon/physician failed to perform up to that standard. Were there any steps he/she should have taken? Was there anything the surgeon did but should not have?
You will also have to clearly show how that failure led to a direct injury or complication to you. This should be completely and accurately documented.
Lasik Lawsuit Compensation
Unfortunately, there’s no way of determining exactly how much compensation you’ll receive if you file a claim. However, working with an experienced lawyer means you may receive compensation for the following:
- Lost wages
- Past medical bills
- Future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
Statute Of Limitations
Had Lasik surgery and believe negligence was involved? It’s best to act fast. Most states have a statute of limitations on when you can file a medical malpractice case. For the state of Texas, that statute of limitations is 2 years. It’s always a good idea to speak to a lawyer as soon as you detect something funny.
Can An Attorney Help?
Yes! Hampton & King attorneys specialize in medical malpractice cases. We can help you determine whether you have a claim and if a Lasik lawsuit is the best idea.
We understand the pain and stress that comes from an unsuccessful surgery. Especially pain and stress that could have been avoided. We know what happened cannot be undone, but we can help you receive the justice you rightfully deserve. You can contact our office and schedule a free consultation for your potential Lasik lawsuit. No strings attached. You don’t have to go through this painful journey alone. We can help.
Lasik FAQ’s – Quick Answers Section
Can you sue for bad Lasik?
Yes. Patients who have had a botched LASIK surgery can seek damages under medical malpractice or product liability laws. LASIK surgery cases account for roughly 30% of all ophthalmic malpractice claims. If you’re thinking about launching a lawsuit, talk to your lawyer about which option is best for you.
How much will I be compensated for a Lasik lawsuit?
That’s a tough one because the figures fluctuate so much. A $4.5 million judgment was awarded against a LASIK surgeon in New York, while a jury in Denver, Colorado, returned a $440,000 verdict for LASIK surgery incompetence. At the time of the lawsuit, the biggest settlement in New Jersey was $2.1 million.
In addition, many Lasik cases result in lower settlements. To gain a better idea of how much compensation you may deserve, speak with your attorney, who can provide you with more specific information depending on the facts of your case.
How does Lasik go wrong and lead to a lawsuit?
Surgeons can remove eye tissue unevenly, or remove too much or too little corneal tissue. This mistake might occur if they don’t center the laser properly on the eye. Astigmatism, or widespread blurring of vision at any distance, can be the result.
What are signs that I should consider filing a Lasik lawsuit?
If you’re having problems after Lasik surgery and believe it’s because of the doctor’s negligence, talk to an attorney about your rights. The following are some of the concerns that patients may have as a result of a failed Lasik procedure:
- The patient may lose lines of vision
- Debilitating visual symptoms such as glare, halos, and/or double vision might occur, affecting night vision.
- The patient may have been under-treated or over-treated, and glasses or contacts may still be required after surgery.
- Severe dry eye syndrome may develop in the patient, causing discomfort and reducing vision quality.
What percentage of Lasik patients have complications?
In a 2017 study of 300 LASIK patients, 45 percent had visual and dry eye issues three months after surgery, with the number decreasing over time. At six months, 19 percent of individuals with dry eye had chronic symptoms.
Corneal ectasia (blurry or distorted vision, as well as progressive myopia – nearsightedness) usually occurs at a rate of 4 to 60 instances per 10,000 procedures, but this depends on the patient demographic.
What is the failure rate of Lasik?
Although all operations have the potential of complications and side effects, the medical community regards Lasik as a usually safe procedure with a low complication rate. In fact, with a complication rate below 1%, LASIK is one of the safest elective surgical treatments available today.
Is Lasik Worth the Risk?
It really depends on you. If you think your vision is good and aren’t too concerned with it, but are worried about the risks, the benefits of LASIK surgery may not outweigh the concerns. But if your eyesight is awful and you really want it fixed, LASIK is usually fairly safe, with a complication rate of less than 1%, like we mentioned earlier.