Genetics expert Paulina Stadnik, 35, was partially blinded and risks losing her right eye altogether after the agonising blast.
Dr Stadnik, a specialist in skin disorders, has been forced to give up her work at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health.
Legal papers issued on her behalf say the institute was negligent over the March 2018 accident, when she was conducting research into child diseases. They allege the laboratory manager did not provide her with a visor covered her face and did not warn her that the sub-zero “cryogenic vials” could explode. Dr Stadnik told the Daily Express: “I permanently lost vision in my right eye. It has been extremely difficult since the accident physically and emotionally. The career I worked so hard for and feel so passionately about has been taken away from me.
The appearance of my eye has also changed. I had multiple surgeries to save my eye, but there is still a risk I will have to have it removed.”
She said that her ailments include pain, blurred and double vision, migraines and permanent disfigurement.
Legal papers say her accident happened when she was unpacking the “cryovials” from a box after removing them from storage in liquid nitrogen.
It has been claimed she was not given formal training in the process and, on the day of the accident, was wearing only a lab coat, gloves and a visor which left part of her face uncovered.
Dr Stadnik, who returned to her native Poland after the accident, needed six operations plus counselling for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
Her solicitor, Dushal Mehta, of law firm Fieldfisher, said: “No-one expects to go to work and be permanently blinded and disfigured.
“UCL had a responsibility to keep Paulina safe and they not only breached that responsibility but then took 17 months to admit liability.
“This added huge stress to a situation that was already horrific for Paulina. Liability is finally admitted and we’ll work towards settlement to support Paulina.”
Yesterday, University College London said they could not comment on individual legal cases which were still ongoing.
A spokesman added: “The safety and wellbeing of our staff, students and visitors is our highest priority.
“While serious incidents are rare, we regret any that happen and take appropriate action where necessary to minimise risk.”