Jerry from Waupaca awarded $44,513*... Michael from Neenah awarded $60,000*... Jerry from Somers awarded $40,500*... Kathleen from Athens awarded $30,000*... Rolf from Stoughton awarded $35,000*... Charles from Menasha awarded $29,500*... Linda from Black River Falls awarded $24,500*... Charles from Freedom awarded $21,500*... Jerome from Menominee awarded $21,500*... Thomas from Amherst awarded $55,000*... Jerry from Durand awarded $29,000*... Michael from Oshkosh awarded $33,000*... Charles from New London awarded $22,500*... Stephen from Wauwatsoa awarded $16,250*... Steven from Lavalle awarded $27,000*... Richard from Saxon awarded $27,500*... Peter from Marinette awarded $29,000*... Kevin from Omro awarded $45,000*... Kranski from Black Creek WI awarded $26,773.13*... Garry from Edgar awarded $26,773.13*... Daniel from Appleton awarded $19,596.60*... Michael from Neenah awarded $47,619.00*... Jerry from Waupaca awarded $35,610.62*... Brian from Wausau awarded $12,430.00*... Roger from Green Bay awarded $14,397.00*... Belinda from Milwaukee awarded $10,030.00*... Ronald from Fond du Lac awarded $14,755.00... Richard from Kewaskum awarded $15,153.07... Marcel from Beaver Dam awarded $12,931.50... Gail from Prarie du Sac awarded $9,580.00... Richard from Antigo awarded $18,030.00*... Nadine from Wausau awarded $7,597.00*... Daniel from New Holstein awarded $14,000*... Shirley from Oshkosh awarded $18,000*... Robert from Fond du Lac awarded $15,000*... Kenneth from Milwaukee awarded $10,000*... *Not all claims qualify. Award amounts vary on a case-by-case basis.

We’re all here to answer your question – Can I sue my employer for hearing loss? If you have a hearing loss as a result of your work environment or caused by someone’s negligent or intentional behavior, there may be options available to you to seek compensation.

You could develop a hearing issue over time if you work in a noisy environment but it could also occur because you were subjected to a very loud noise that occurred near you. It is very common, and certain professions and industry workers are more at risk than others.

What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?

NIHL is the most common type of hearing loss that people experience. It’s a “breeding ground” for nearly all cases of permanent hearing loss, and it is the result of repeated exposure to loud noises that damage the delicate sensors in the inner ear.

The point at which your hearing might be permanently damaged is 85 dB, for which the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has developed standards to protect employees in noisy work environments, but many of us aren’t aware of when noise is loud enough to cause damage.

How can you know if you have Noise Induced Hearing Loss?

What Should You Do if You Think You Have Hearing Loss?

Losing the quality of your hearing can be a challenging experience, but there are ways to identify and treat hearing loss. From knowing the symptoms to seeking treatment, here is what you need to know if you think you have hearing loss.

Only in the US, hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition, after high blood pressure and arthritis. This disease is more common than diabetes, cancer, and vision trouble. In many cases, the cause of a hearing loss is so complicated that without absolute certainty, no one can talk about work-related hearing losses – usually comes down to the hearing loss being “more probable or not” due to possible neglect from the employer.

Can I Sue My Employer for Hearing Loss – Where do I Start?

The first step is to obtain legal advice about whether you are entitled to make a deafness claim and what the process involves. If you wish to obtain advice about making a claim, you can contact us here at Johnson’s Law Offices.

If the injury occurred at your current workplace, let your employer know. They will then provide you with paperwork to file a state-level claim. If your employer does not provide paperwork, check for instructions with your state-level insurance program, board, or agency. You can file a claim with a current employer, or a prior employer, although note that there is a limited time period (which varies by state) for when a claim must be submitted to be viable for coverage.

The employer will then have you fill out forms detailing the injury and circumstances – these forms are then submitted to the employer’s insurance, as well as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and state-level safety organizations.

If you suspect you have job-related hearing loss, it’s best to act sooner rather than later, mainly for medical reasons because early intervention and appropriate hearing protection can prevent most cases of permanent occupational hearing problems.

Can I Sue My Employer for Hearing Loss – Diagnostic Tests

For a viable hearing loss claim, an employee needs to prove that the noise in the workplace exceeded a certain level and that it led to a measurable impairment. A doctor’s evaluation plays a major role in determining whether the worker will qualify for benefits, and with an audiogram (hearing test), the worker’s compensation team at Johnsons Law Offices will be able to tell you exactly how much compensation you are entitled to receive.

Some of the tests to diagnose hearing loss may include:

  • Physical exam – The doctor will look in your ear for possible causes of your hearing loss, such as earwax or inflammation from an infection, and will also look for any structural causes of your hearing problems.
  • General screening tests – The doctor may use the whisper test, asking you to cover one ear at a time to see how well you hear words spoken at various volumes and how you respond to other sounds.
  • App-based hearing tests – Mobile apps are available that you can use by yourself on your tablet to screen for moderate hearing loss.
  • Tuning fork tests – Tuning forks are two-pronged, metal instruments that produce sounds when struck. Simple tests with tuning forks can help your doctor detect hearing loss. This evaluation may also reveal where in your ear the damage has occurred.
  • Audiometer tests – During these more thorough tests conducted by an audiologist, you wear earphones and hear sounds and words directed to each ear. Each tone is repeated at faint levels to find the quietest sound you can hear.

Can I Sue My Employer for Hearing Loss – Making a Claim

Hypothetically, anyone can claim against their previous employer. The common procedure is to go to a certified physician and get a medical record. That medical record must say that you have hearing loss that is related to your previous job.

Workers’ Compensation (WC) is a claim where you can require compensation for your hearing loss, however, make sure that you take into this account the “Date of disablement.” The date of disablement is three months after you quit your job, and, due to occupational hearing loss, it has to be filed within two years of the date of disablement.

Unfortunately, many employees miss out on the possibility to receive compensation because they don’t think about it until the plant or workplace shuts down for some years. Then they start losing their hearing and the date of disablement has long passed away, but there are also exceptions. If a worker learns that he/she lost his hearing at a certain workplace after the date of disablement, he/she may still file a Workers’ Compensation no longer than 90 days, after he first was aware of that information.

You’ll need to consult a hearing loss lawyer or any legal professional who specializes in hearing loss cases. Once, you sorted out all the paperwork, your lawyer will bring your claim before the court.

You can make a claim through your:

  • Employer
  • Doctor
  • Audiologist
  • Hearing clinic
  • Union
  • Representative

Average Hearing Loss Claim in the USA

What Information Do I Need to Provide for a Noise-induced Hearing Loss Claim?

There is a complicated formula the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development (DWD) uses to determine the amount of hearing loss you have suffered and how to compensate you for the loss.

Some workers’ compensation insurance companies nonetheless deny claims by insisting that the workplace did not harbor a loud environment or that, for example, the hearing loss was instead connected to age or a preexisting condition.

For a viable hearing loss claim, an employee needs to prove that the noise in the workplace exceeded a certain level and that it led to a measurable impairment. A doctor’s evaluation plays a major role in determining whether the worker will qualify for benefits, and with an audiogram (hearing test), the worker’s compensation team at Johnsons Law Offices will be able to tell you exactly how much compensation you are entitled to receive.

Occupational hearing loss occurs for two reasons:

  • Loud noise
  • Ototoxic chemicals – solvents, nitriles, and other chemicals can damage the ears, or alternately, make them more susceptible to damage from loud noises

This may lead to hearing problems that fall into the following categories:

  • Sensorineural  – damage to the nerves
  • Conductive – damage to the outer or middle ear system
  • Mixed – a combination of sensorineural and conductive

Noise-induced hearing loss typically causes sensorineural hearing loss. Head trauma and other physical injuries can lead to mixed or conductive hearing loss,

How Much Can You Sue for Hearing Loss?

Different types of hearing loss get different settlement amounts. The most serious hearing loss claims are when the hearing loss is total and according to the study, both the average settlement and the median verdict in total hearing loss cases is $1.6 million.

As the severity of the ear injury decreases, verdicts and settlement data fall. Partial hearing loss has an average verdict of $557,000 and a median award of $95,000. The settlement data in partial hearing loss cases underscore that these are cases that sometimes need to be taken to trial. The average settlement in a partial loss case is $139,000 and the median settlement is $55,000.

The average verdict of inner ear dysfunction is $176,000 and the median verdict is $20,000. The settlement data is  $45,000 on average and a $14,000 mean. In these cases, the more clearly objective your injury is, the better the likely result.

Sources

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hearing-loss/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20373077
  2. https://www.webmd.com/connect-to-care/hearing-loss/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-hearing-loss

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If you, or anyone you know, worked in noise and suffers from hearing loss, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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