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Industrial Deafness Claims – A Guide to Claiming Compensation

Working in excessively noisy conditions for long periods, your hearing can be affected. As your employer must protect your well-being whilst you’re working, they should take reasonable steps to reduce your exposure to such noise and, consequently, protect your hearing. Failure to do so may allow you to sue them for any subsequent hearing loss. In this guide, therefore, we’ve answered some of the most asked questions about industrial deafness claims.

If you are thinking about claiming industrial deafness compensation, we can help. Our team is specially trained to conduct a free initial consultation and to explain your options. During the call, free legal advice will be issued and any questions you have will be answered. Should you have a feasible claim, your legal advisor could connect you with a specialist solicitor from our panel who’ll offer a 100% No Win, No Fee claims service if you both agree to proceed.

To discuss whether you’ve got a valid industrial deafness compensation claim, you can:

  • Call us for free on 0333 241 2519.
  • Use our 24/7 live chat option.

You’ll find out more on how to claim compensation for industrial deafness throughout this guide and you can get in touch with our team at any time if you have any further queries.

What Is Industrial Deafness?

Industrial deafness, also known as occupational hearing loss, is a condition where an individual suffers hearing loss as a result of exposure to hazardous noise levels or harmful sound environments in the workplace.

This type of hearing impairment is typically gradual and can result from long-term exposure to noise above 85 decibels, which is roughly equivalent to the noise produced by heavy machinery or equipment. Industrial deafness can affect one or both ears and may range from mild to severe.

When claiming industrial deafness, compensation can be awarded for:

  • Complete deafness in one or both ears.
  • Partial deafness in one or both ears.
  • Tinnitus (buzzing, whooshing, hissing and other noises in the ear).
  • Acoustic shock or trauma (caused by continuous exposure to loud explosions or high-decibel sounds).

Generally, the symptoms of industrial deafness are not noticeable right away. In fact, they can take many years (or longer) to develop. That doesn’t stop you from claiming compensation though. As such, if you or a loved one is suffering because of industrial deafness, please call our legal advisors about your next steps today.

Can I Make an Industrial Deafness Claim?

In law, employers have a legal responsibility to your general well-being in your workplace because of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. However, when it comes to excessive noise at work, the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 apply if staff are exposed to noise above 80 decibels. Some of the actions employers should take if this is the case include:

  • Where possible, move noisy machinery or equipment to areas where staff are not present.
  • If that can’t be done, consider the installation of soundproofing enclosures (or similar measures).
  • Provide staff with ear plugs, ear defenders or other personal protective equipment (PPE) where excessive noise cannot be avoided.
  • Consider job rotation, regular breaks and other techniques to reduce staff exposure to loud noise.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides more information on reducing the risks of noise-induced hearing loss. Failure to comply with their duty of care could mean employers as negligent. In turn, this could enable workers to claim industrial deafness compensation for any hearing loss that results.

To claim compensation for industrial deafness, it will generally have to be proven that:

  • You were owed a duty of care by your employer.
  • That your employer’s negligence meant they breached that duty of care.
  • You have had a diagnosis of hearing loss in the last three years which can be linked to that breach of duty.

As you get older, your hearing can sometimes degrade naturally. It can therefore be difficult to prove your hearing loss is work-related. That’s why we’d always suggest taking on legal representation for industrial deafness claims.

To see if one of our solicitors could help you with your claim, please call our team today.

What Should I Do If I Suspect I Have Occupational Deafness?

You shouldn’t suffer alone if you believe your work is having a detrimental effect on your hearing. Instead, you should:

  • Raise your concerns with your employer in an email. Tell them what’s worrying you and suggest any changes you think might help. You could ask them for better PPE for example.
  • Visit your GP and ask for specialist hearing tests if you’ve developed any symptoms of deafness.
  • Tell your employer about any recommendations your doctor has made.

Hopefully, taking the steps above will push your employer to implement changes to improve your working conditions. If they decide not to act and you are later diagnosed with hearing loss, you could be entitled to make an industrial deafness claim against them.

Will I Be Fired If I Claim for Industrial Deafness Against My Employer?

The law protects you if you want to make any type of personal injury claim against your employer so don’t be afraid of doing so for industrial deafness. You could make a constructive or unfair dismissal claim against your employer if your hearing loss is genuine and, as a result, you’re picked on, demoted, sacked or disciplined.

What Evidence Can Be Used to Prove Industrial Deafness?

It can be hard to prove that your employment has led to complete or partial deafness. As such, evidence will be needed to argue your case as strongly as possible. For industrial deafness claims, some examples of the types of evidence that could help include:

  • Hearing test results and medical records from your GP.
  • Colleague witness statements to prove your working conditions.
  • Any tests or reports conducted on your working environment by an occupational health therapist.
  • Copies of any letters or emails between you and your employer regarding your working practices.

To help your case further, your solicitor may seek out further evidence to prove why your hearing loss has occurred if your claim is taken on.

A legal advisor can check the evidence you’ve collated already if you call so please, if you can, having it available will be helpful.

How Long Do I Have to Claim Compensation for Industrial Deafness?

The time limits for claiming industrial deafness compensation in the UK are defined by the Limitation Act 1980. For workplace injury claims, the time limit is 3 years. As hearing doesn’t usually occur from a single incident, the time limit for industrial deafness claims typically begins on the date that your condition was diagnosed by your doctor.

The Limitation Act states that claims made outside of their time limit can become statute-barred. Effectively, this means your claim will be denied automatically and you’ll miss out on any compensation due. Therefore, we’d advise that you start the claims process at your earliest opportunity.

hearing aid background

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How Much Compensation for Industrial Hearing Loss?

Everyone suffers in different ways when it comes to deafness. As such, there isn’t a set amount of compensation paid for industrial hearing loss. Instead, the value of successful claims is generally calculated on two heads of loss:

  • General damages – to deal with your suffering and loss of amenity (including psychological suffering).
  • Special damages – to deal with any financial losses linked to your hearing loss.

When valuing the general damages element of your claim, your solicitor will use medical records as a starting point. They might also arrange for hearing tests to be carried out by an independent specialist.

After that, they may refer to previous cases and the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to find out what your claim is worth. We’ve included some guideline hearing loss compensation brackets from the JCG in the table below. However, please remember the amounts cannot be guaranteed.

  • Compensation of up to £7,010 for minor hearing loss only or minor Tinnitus only.
  • £7,360 – £12,590 for slight hearing loss combined with slight Tinnitus.
  • Around £11,720 compensation for either mild Tinnitus or mild hearing loss alone.
  • £12,590 – £14,900 for mild Tinnitus with some level of hearing loss.
  • £14,900 – £29,710 awarded for cases of moderate Tinnitus accompanied by hearing loss.
  • £29,710 – £45,540 for compensation covering severe Tinnitus combined with hearing loss.
  • £31,310 – £45,540 awarded for the total loss of hearing in one ear.
  • £90,750 – £109,650 compensation in cases of complete deafness.

The special damages element of an industrial claim could compensate for:

  • Travel expenses.
  • The cost of improved hearing aids or devices i.e. those that aren’t available on the NHS.
  • Medical costs.
  • Current and future loss of earnings.
  • Care and support costs.

To learn how much your industrial deafness claim might be worth, please get in touch with one of our legal advisors today.

Can Past Employers Be Sued for Industrial Deafness?

You may not find out how badly your hearing has been affected by your employment till later in life. As such, you may have stopped working for the company whose negligence has caused your suffering. That doesn’t mean you can’t claim industrial deafness compensation though.

As part of their service, your solicitor might contact HMRC to gain access to your employment record as a way of identifying where your hearing might’ve been damaged. In some cases, it may be feasible to claim against companies that have ceased trading.

To find out more, please call today.

Can I Claim Compensation if I Wasn’t a Full-Time Employee?

Some industries use zero-hours workers or subcontractors to meet demand rather than taking on full-time employees. This is common in factories or construction sites for example. However, not being a full-time employee will not stop you from making an industrial deafness claim. That’s because companies owe all workers, regardless of employment status, the same duty of care with regard to health and safety.

If you believe your hearing is degraded by your employer’s negligence, you can speak with us now to check if you can claim compensation for industrial deafness.

Are Industrial Deafness Claims Possible Without Legal Representation?

It is possible to sue an employer for occupational deafness without instructing a solicitor. However, having a specialist on your side can help you to overcome some of the complexities of the claims process. For example, if you work with one of our solicitors, they may:

  • Work hard to find your working history and gather supporting evidence.
  • Ensure that your claim is processed correctly and filed on time.
  • Try to counter any arguments your employer’s insurance provider raises regarding liability.
  • Negotiate hard to secure the correct level of compensation for your suffering (rather than taking the first offer they receive).
  • Send you regular updates about the progress of your claim.

What’s more, our solicitors provide a No Win, No Fee service for all accepted industrial deafness claims. This is possible because they work under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which means:

  • Your solicitor’s work doesn’t have to be paid for upfront.
  • You won’t pay a penny for your solicitor’s services if the claim is lost.
  • A success fee will be deducted from any compensation if the case is won.

Legally, a CFA success fee percentage is capped at 25 per cent of your settlement. That means you can be sure you’ll receive the lion’s share of any compensation payout.

Why not contact us today to see if you could make a No Win, No Fee industrial deafness claim with one of our specialist solicitors?

Will I Need To Attend A Court Hearing When Claiming For Industrial Deafness?

It is rare, in our experience, for industrial deafness compensation claims to require a court hearing. It’s much more common for solicitors and insurance providers to try and settle a claim amicably so that the extra time and money involved in court proceedings can be avoided.

In some cases, however, where your solicitor believes your case is strong enough, a court date may be set by your solicitor if your employer won’t accept liability or if their insurance provider offers too low a settlement.

Contacting Us About an Industrial Deafness Claim

We are here to support you if you’d like to know more about industrial deafness claims. To get in touch, you can:

  • Phone our legal advisors on 0333 241 2519.
  • Make use of our online chat service.

There’s no pressure to continue with a claim after your free initial consultation and you’ll receive no-obligation legal advice regardless of what happens next. Importantly, all accepted industrial deafness claims are handled on a No Win, No Fee basis by our specialist solicitors.

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