Are you one of many people in the UK who have developed hearing loss/industrial deafness as a consequence of their working environment? Classed as an industrial disease, otherwise known as an occupational illness, there is help at hand.
If your employer has been negligent, it is important to hold them to account. As well as possible compensation, this also ensures that procedures will be changed in the future, helping others avoid a similar situation.
In simple terms, an industrial disease claim is a type of personal injury claim brought about as a consequence of issues originating from the workplace. Hearing loss and industrial deafness are often referred to as tinnitus which is a debilitating ringing in the ear as a consequence of exposure to loud noises.
Indeed, there are some occasions where sufferers have been known to lose their hearing altogether.
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There are various acts of parliament which legally oblige employers to protect the welfare and safety of their employees. This involves providing the relevant PPE/safety equipment such as, in this instance, noise protection equipment.
However, there is also a legal obligation on your employer to train you on how to use this type of equipment, in order to provide the highest level of protection.
In reality, any working environment where there are sporadic or constant loud noises can impact an employee’s hearing. Some of the more common industries impacted by this type of condition include:-
This list is by no means exclusive, but it does give you an idea of industries which are more susceptible to uncomfortable/illegal levels of noise.
If your employer is forcing you to pay for safety equipment to protect you from excessive noise, then they could potentially be found negligent. It is the legal liability of your employer to provide such equipment free of charge. If they are not able to do so, then they should not be carrying out such activities.
Industrial disease compensation claims are littered with instances where employers have failed to carry out the relevant risk assessments. These assessments need to be documented, updated, and action is taken where applicable.
The whole idea is to identify potential issues and mitigate these as much as possible. Placing employees at risk of injury is not only illegal but could lead to significant compensation awards.
The pursuit of compensation for industrial diseases such as hearing loss should be done within a three-year window of opportunity. This window of opportunity begins on the first official diagnosis of your condition - not necessarily the event(s) which brought about the condition.
With issues such as hearing loss, which can worsen over a prolonged period of time, this is very important. We have seen cases where individuals have been diagnosed months and even years down the line, yet still been able to seek compensation.
If you’re able to prove that your employer was negligent, the potential range of compensation is huge and dependent upon the severity of your deafness. For example, relatively minor tinnitus could result in compensation up to £5590, although this could rise to between £87,410 and £112,100 in the event of total deafness and an impact on your speech.
These compensation awards are referred to as general damages, but we also need to consider special damages.
Special damages relate to expenses incurred as a consequence of your injury/medical condition, future expenses and other issues such as loss of earnings. If you are not able to return to work, then the loss of earnings element could be significant, especially if you are relatively young.
There is no limit on special damages while there are specific ranges for general damages (compensation for your pain and suffering).
You will need to provide evidence that your employer has been negligent and as a consequence, potentially liable to compensation. This evidence might include:-
It is up to the claimant to prove that the defendant was negligent, and as a result, this led to hearing impairment of varying degrees.
After reviewing your evidence, many claims management companies will offer you a “no win no fee” arrangement if they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success. This effectively removes your liability to cover your claims management company’s costs in pursuing your case. In exchange, they will negotiate a “success fee” which is based upon a share of any compensation awarded.
In the event of a successful prosecution, your claims management company will be able to reclaim costs from the defendant. In the event of failure, you will not be liable to any costs associated with your claim, with your claims management company covering this expense.
This is why there is a relatively high bar of a 60% chance of success - although nothing is ever guaranteed.
There may be circumstances where the deterioration in your hearing has a huge impact on your family life. This may potentially allow your family to pursue an element of compensation for the impact that your injuries are having on their lives. When looking at this particular angle, it is important to take professional advice.
There are various acts of parliament which provide protection for employees and place upon employers a legal duty of care. If you have suffered issues with your hearing as a consequence of your working environment, then you may be entitled to compensation.
It is also important to remember that holding allegedly negligent third parties to account will not only provide the compensation you are entitled to but should lead to procedural changes to protect others in the future.
Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Industrial illness Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for injuries & illnesses they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.
Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.
If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.
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