For more than 23 years we have specialised in dealing with personal injury claims, such as Industrial deafness or Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).
In that time we have seen many similar patterns and trends developing, such as the industry types where hearing loss is commonly suffered and how often claims are successful or not and, in the instance where they are not, the reasons why industrial deafness claims are unsuccessful or couldn’t be accepted in the first place.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the number one reason for an industrial deafness claim not being successful, or being rejected, is down to the timing of the claim. This is in relation to the recognition of the symptoms and not as commonly perceived when the victim finished their working career.
When Can You Make a Claim for Industrial Deafness?
There are many misconceptions about when you can and can’t make a claim. By law there is a three year limitation period, but what does that cover? When does the three years start from?
One of the most common misconceptions regarding the start of the three year limitation period is that it starts from the minute you leave your job. Surely this is right? Everyone who suffers from industrial deafness, leaves there job right?
Actually this is completely wrong. Of course there are cases where this is true, but in most instances the symptoms of hearing loss are gradual and can often go unnoticeable for many years after you were exposed to the high noise level that is causing it.
The three year limitation period actually begins from the moment you have identified the symptoms of hearing loss and acknowledged them to have been caused by your noisy working environment.
So, to give you an example, you retired from your job in a noisy factory ten years ago, with no signs of hearing impairment, at least that you have noticed.
Ten years on from your last shift, you are noticing that you are suffering from ringing in the ears. You now have to increase the volume on your television in order to hear it and conversations are beginning to become a struggle for you to hear.
As a result, you see the doctor and he confirms that you are suffering from damage that amounts to hearing loss.
Wait a minute though, you are getting older. Everyone loses their hearing as they get older; surely this is just down to the aging process? Wrong again. Yes our senses do deteriorate as we age, but this should not be assumed to be the only reason for your hearing to deteriorate.
Now that you have learned that your hearing is deteriorating, you should ask yourself the question, ‘what could be the cause?’ If when asking this question you can answer it by saying, ‘well I did work in that noisy factory’ or any other type of noisy working environment, then ask yourself, ‘ did my employer do everything they can to protect me from this.’
What Should My Employer have done to protect me Against Loud Noise Levels?
It is important to think back about the safety precautions that could and should have been protected. If you were using noisy machinery or equipment, were you supplied with the correct ear protection or mufflers? Were you told when and how to wear this protection? Were you given information, or advice or training about the dangers of working in excessive noise?
Providing the correct safety precautions and ensuring that their employers are working in a safe environment is part of an employer’s duty of care by law. It is not something that can be bypassed or relaxed and if it has and your hearing has suffered then you will be entitled to claim within three years of you noticing symptoms and knowing it was caused by work.
What do I do next?
We would advise that you speak to an industrial deafness/noise induced hearing loss solicitor immediately. The quicker you begin the claim process, the more likely it is that your case will be accepted.
For more information you can visit our industrial deafness page or to start the ball rolling and arrange your free, no obligation, assessment, simply contact us by filling in the form below or by calling us on 01695 712 483.