Tinnitus compensation claims
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Tinnitus is a high-pitched ringing, humming or buzzing sound in the ears that many of us have experienced at one time or another - after going to a loud concert for instance - and which usually goes after a few hours.
However, if you are regularly exposed to excessive levels of noise you can suffer significant hearing loss and permanent tinnitus. If this excessive noise was at work and you were not provided with the necessary ear protection, then you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
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What to do if you have tinnitus
If you feel you could be entitled to make a tinnitus compensation claim then the first thing to do is get in touch with a solicitor to discuss your claim and the time limits associated with it.
The next step will be to get an independent medical diagnosis by a specialist - usually an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor - which we will arrange. They will compile a report detailing your condition as well as any additional symptoms you may be suffering from e.g. stress, sleep deprivation etc.
In order to pursue a successful tinnitus claim we will also need to compile evidence that your condition was caused by working in a noisy environment like a construction site, factory or nightclub.
Some common forms of evidence recommended for tinnitus claims include:
- Medical reports to confirm the diagnosis and the probable cause
- Evidence of your employment
- Company health and safety records
- Details of witnesses who can provide evidence to support the claim
How to prove your employer is liable for your tinnitus claim
All employers have a legal 'duty of care' to take reasonable steps to protect their employees from harm - which includes excessive noise in the workplace.
There are several pieces of legislation that determine employers' duty of care, including the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. In direct relation to tinnitus claims, however, the most relevant legislation is The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005.
These regulations, which are overseen by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), require employers to follow the below procedures in relation to excessive noise at work:
- Carry out regular risk assessments of the noise levels in the workplace
- Implement safety measures and controls to make sure noise levels are kept below the legal levels (between 80 and 85 decibels) e.g. using quiter machinery, adopting new work processes, using sound barriers and providing personal protective equipment (PPE) like earplugs
- Ensure staff are fully trained and instructed on the risks of noise in the workplace and how to follow the safety procedures and use PPE in the correct manner
- Offer regular health assessments and monitor employees' hearing
If your employer has failed to follow any of these procedures and you suffers tinnitus or another hearing problem as a result, they would be deemed negligent and therefore liable in a claim.
How to claim against your employer
It's common to feel uncomfortable at the thought of making a compensation claim against your employer, but don't worry - they will not be required to pay your compensation personally so they won't be left with a huge bill they can't afford.
All employers are required to take out employer's liability insurance which is designed to cover the costs of any personal injury claims made against them by their employees, so if you have a claim your compensation will be paid by the insurance company.
Also, it's worth remembering that it is illegal for your employer to sack you or treat you any differently if you make a compensation claim against them. If you were to lose your job because you made a tinnitus claim, then this would be seen as "unfair dismissal".
It's also important to make a claim as this can help highlight the safety issues in the workplace which may not have been taken seriously before, meaning the workplace safety will be improved for your colleagues.
Making a tinnitus compensation claim
There are strict time limits associated with personal injury claims, so if you feel you are entitied to make a claim against your employer then it is imperative that you get in touch with us as soon as possible.
To start your claim, or to find out more information, get in touch with the personal injury specialists at CL Legal...
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