Noise Induced Hearing Loss Claims and the Duty Owed by Employers
The World Health Organisation has stated that ‘noise induced hearing loss is the most common, permanent and preventable occupational injury in the world’. Employers have a duty to mitigate the risks of exposing their employees to excessive levels of noise and are negligent if they fail to discharge this duty. Common occupations where employees have been exposed to unsafe noise include steel works, textiles, engineering, construction and police work. Occupational hearing problems tend to develop a long time after exposure but can often result in serious impairments.
Common problems that can arise include tinnitus, occupational shock syndrome and occupational deafness. It is often the case that people dismiss such problems as being a result of old age. However, in many cases medical experts have linked such hearing problems to previous occupations. If your current or former employer has failed to provide adequate safeguards and it has resulted in hearing problems they should be held to account and you may be entitled to compensation. Some may believe that they do not have a viable claim because it has been decades since they were exposed to excessive noise or because the company they once worked for no longer exists.
However, you can bring a claim for compensation within 3 years of the link between your hearing problems and employment being established. You can also still bring a claim for compensation if the company you previously worked for no longer exists. Stephen Nortel was recently awarded £15,000 in damages for hearing problems decades after his employment with Nortel Networks Corp had finished.
He had been exposed to loud machines in the factory for years and was not provided with adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). His employers were found to be negligent in failing to take steps to mitigate his exposure to high levels of noise. At PA Duffy and Company our expert solicitors can help you to recover damages for the pain and suffering caused by an occupational hearing problem. Loss of amenity and loss of opportunity will be taken into account when calculating the extent of damages. For example, if your hearing loss has impacted on your activity in the labour market or has limited your ability to participate in a hobby or sport that you previously took part in you may be entitled to further compensation.
We can also help to recover any costs you have incurred including medical expenses such as hearing aids. Our personal injury team have vast experience in conducting these types of cases. When you make contact with us we will find out who your employer’s insurers or formers insurers are and try to negotiate a settlement for you. If liability is disputed and we believe you have a good case we will issue proceedings and attempt to recover damages in court. You can rest assured that our solicitors will fight for the compensation you deserve.