Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a common disability in the United States, with almost a quarter of people ages 20 to 69 suffering from the condition.
In some cases, the hearing loss could be sudden, such as in an auto accident or explosion. Other times, the loss of hearing may be because of long-term exposure to excessive noise at work. It could also be the result of medical malpractice. Regardless of the cause, hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical problem after hypertension and arthritis.
You have legal options if you suspect someone’s negligence or wrongful actions contributed to your hearing loss. An experienced hearing loss lawyer can assist you with a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the party at fault.
Many people experience hearing loss as they age, but there are cases where someone else’s negligence causes it. These situations might include:
If your employer exposed you to loud machinery and did not offer hearing protection it might have dramatically impacted your hearing. If this is the case, the company might be liable for your damages if they ignored workplace safety regulations enforced by the Occupation Safety And Health Administration (OSHA) or other regulatory bodies. OSHA requires companies to enact a hearing conservation program when noise exposure exceeds 85 decibels over an eight-hour workday.
If your company did not warn you about noise dangers in the workplace and did not implement a hearing conservation program, you could file a claim with the assistance of a lawyer. For instance, more than 150 paper mill workers filed a claim against their employer in 2010. They sued over hearing loss related to noise from paper processing machinery.
Other common causes of hearing loss are head injuries during a car crash or other road accidents. For example, a 2003 clinical study showed that whiplash and related neck trauma in a car accident could damage the inner ear, leading to catastrophic hearing loss.
Further, airbag deployment in a car accident can damage one’s hearing. It is estimated that up to 17% of accidents that deploy a car’s airbag may permanently damage the victim’s hearing. A deployed airbag can create a noise of at least 160dB, enough to cause severe hearing loss. If this happened to you, our hearing loss attorneys might be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the airbag or auto manufacturer.
Another cause of hearing loss in auto crashes is head trauma. If the head impacts the steering wheel or windshield, it could cause a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. A TBI can affect the nerves between the ear and the brain and cause hearing loss or the impact itself can rupture the eardrums.
If a physician did not diagnose a medical condition that damaged your hearing, your attorney may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. Such claims may arise when a doctor does not diagnose the following conditions:
Safety equipment that protects your ears from hearing damage may be improperly designed or manufactured. For example, a 3M subsidiary was sued recently for its defective dual-ended combat arms earplugs. As a result, thousands of military members and veterans may receive compensation because of the earplug’s defective design, leading to gradual hearing loss from exposure to combat noise.
Regardless of how your hearing loss happened, you may claim compensation against the party that contributed to your hearing loss. Often, the hearing loss lawyer files a claim with the company’s workers’ compensation insurance company.
Hearing loss may cause mental anguish, a decline in quality of life, and require expensive medical treatments. The condition can be partial or total, temporary or permanent. Regardless, hearing loss always impacts your life. Common hearing loss includes tinnitus — ringing in the ears — and ruptured ear drums.
Tinnitus may seem merely annoying at first, but it can lead to misery. Constant ringing in the ears can be difficult to bear after a while. Also, the eardrum may heal from a rupture, but the scar tissue can reduce hearing. If another party’s negligence contributed to your hearing loss, Nix Patterson’s attorneys might be able to help.
Some employees spend their days in quiet offices, but others are frequently exposed to high noise levels. If you are regularly exposed to noise above 90dB at work, you could suffer permanent hearing loss.
However, how do you demonstrate your hearing impairment is related to your job? Workplace injuries that happen over months or years, such as hearing loss, may be difficult to prove. Employers and workers’ compensation insurance companies frequently claim that the worker’s hearing loss is due to factors outside work or is part of the natural aging process.
For your claim to be viable, you and your attorney must show that job-related noise was above a certain threshold and that caused your hearing impairment. This can be done in several ways, but it should only be done with the assistance of an attorney who knows how to get the evidence in an admissible way to use in court.
A medical evaluation by a physician is critical to determine if you have a claim for compensation for your damages. They will determine how much of your hearing loss may be attributed to your workplace.
Some tests that doctors may perform to check for hearing loss include:
If you have suffered sudden or gradual hearing loss because of someone’s negligence or wrongful actions, consider speaking to a hearing loss lawyer to understand your legal rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your hearing loss, medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below.
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