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RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
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Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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Can you sue a optometry company if you contracted epidemic

Customer Question

Can you sue a optometry company if you contracted epidemic keratoconjunctivitis, two days after leaving their office?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I look forward to helping you this evening.

Yes, you can under a theory of malpractice (negligence). To be successful in such a claim, a plaintiff would have to show that that the company breached the duty to the patient, causation (that is, there is a direct cause and effect link to the injury) and damages, that you suffered harm.

You'd likely need expert testimony to prove that the ailment was a direct result of the office visit and could not be acquired through any other means --which I suspect would be a key argument of the defense. Also, because malpractice cases can be very expensive to litigate ($75,000 or more), unless the damages were significant, it may be very difficult to find a lawyer to take on representation.

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Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your response to my question. I went to a emergency room, which referred me to a optometry office in their hospital after I started showing symptoms of conjunctivitis. Long story short, I was told by the doctors at this optometry office that I had epidemic keratoconjunctivitis. I then told them that I had gone to a commercial optometry office two days before symptoms arose, so could I have contracted it from there? They then told me it is highly likely that I contracted it from that commercial office. So if I could get the doctors present that day to testify, would I have a strong case? Also, there would most likely be a record of someone that came in to that commercial optometry office recently that had the virus. Would that strengthen the case as well?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 months ago.

Thank you for your reply.

Having a record of someone who came into the office with the same virus and symptoms that you later showed 2 days after your visit would certainly strengthen your claim. Merely having the doctors present that day testify that it is "highly likely" you got the virus at the optometry office isn't necessarily enough because of course a defense attorney is going to pick that apart. For example, how contagious is the disease? Would you be able to tell someone had it if you were in contact with them? How is is spread? If it's highly contagious, is it possible that the plaintiff caught it from someone else they came into contact with (e.g., at the emergency room, work, the grocery story, etc)? How long between getting the virus and showing symptoms?

In other words, a doctor probably cannot conclusively say that it was contracted from the optometry office. However, if it is then also shown that around the same time/day another patient came into the office with the virus and then you got it...well, it certainly makes it harder to claim they aren't liable.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 months ago.

I see you have not yet left a positive rating. Was there anything I could clarify about my answer or additional information I could provide?

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