Vision in Accident and Safety Analysis

Vision in accident and safety analysis may be an important aspect of determining causation and damages in accident cases.

Most occupations require good vision to carry on normal job functions.  Many types of situations need good vision to maintain adequate safety.  An analysis of vision for specific job functions often entails an assessment of states guidelines for vision.  Many States have detailed vision guidelines for civil positions.  This includes positions for firemen, police officers, and civil employees whose primary function involves motor vehicles.  Vision guidelines for operating motor vehicles is one of the most common areas of accident cases.

Vision that is adequate to perform proper judgments needed for safe driving is essential.  Adequate vision for driving also entails sufficient visual capability to judge distance or to detect situations that may become a physical threat.  Adequate vision for driving permits a driver to maintain legally required peripheral vision so that they may see people, objects, and other motor vehicles from outside their direct line of vision.  Ophthalmologists have testing devices that allow them to measure and assess peripheral vision.  Identification of people, cars, and other objects that approach from a peripheral point in the scope of vision can be very important.  Timely identification allows a driver to react appropriately.  The reaction time between recognition of a potential problem and action taken to address this problem is a portion of the reaction time  may be an important issue when analyzing accidents.

Many States and Counties have specific guidelines for certain occupations.  Firefighters and police officers may need to meet the standards set by authorities to qualify for a civil service position.  Many of these regulations were established many years ago.  Medical records may be required to establish eligibility and in certain circumstances an eye examination by a qualified ophthalmologist may be needed.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also has specific vision requirements for licensure.  In cases where vision is an issue, it is important for an ophthalmology expert to review the results of these measurements.  It may also be important to review any records regarding applicable waivers.  For example, the California Department of Motor Vehicles may issue waivers depending on individual circumstances.

Environmental conditions are often considered when performing analysis in accident and safety cases.  People who see clearly in the daytime may have difficulty seeing properly at night.  Some people may see poorly in dim or reduced lighting due to health issues involving the eyes.  Climatic conditions and the condition and operation of street signs may be important variables.  The condition of windshields can also influence vision in accident and safety analysis.  Windshields that have cracks or excessive dirt may obscure vision.  Windshields that have excessive tine may also obscure vision.  Similarly, the color of backgrounds and the amount of light may be considered when a vision expert performs analysis for accident cases.  It may be very useful to have photographs that show the presence and level of these vision factors when analyzing a specific situation.

An Ophthalmologist can also assess the impact of common eye conditions such as cataracts, retinal degeneration, and glaucoma on vision.  Certain conditions may primarily influence peripheral vision while other may have a greater effect on central (straight-ahead) vision.  An ophthalmologist may provide expert medical testimony to help understand vision issues related to accident and safety.

Medical records can reveal the presence and degree of refractive errors that may influence vision.  The most common refractive errors include farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism.  Presbyopia is another type of ocular condition that may significant influence the ability to see properly at close range.  The ability to properly see for driving, operating an aircraft, or perform the responsibilities of  a job may be influenced by refractive errors and presbyopia.

Vision is one of our most valuable assets.  The ability to have good vision can be essential when performing many tasks of daily living.  Inadequate vision or the presence of adverse conditions that compromises visibility may be important factors that an ophthalmologist expert witness considers when performing vision analysis for accident and safety cases.

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