Defending Hearing Loss Claims
Is your firm facing a hearing loss or deafness claim in Kent or East Sussex? Are you unable to locate your liability insurers? Our specialist hearing loss defendant solicitors can help.
Many businesses can be taken by surprise by a historic hearing loss or deafness claim and often they have to defend these claims without insurers. Not all of these claims are genuine. However, many, but not all, of these deafness claims can be defended. Hearing loss and deafness claims have often involved workers in the traditional heavy industries, but can also extend to many other business, including manufacturing and building trades.
Is your firm negligent?
In heavier industries employers have been expected to prevent excessive noise to avoid deafness and hearing loss since the early 1960s. However, all employers were required to follow quite strict standards since 1990. If noise levels exceeded certain action levels, potentially there would be liability for any resulting hearing loss. This can be confirmed by engineering evidence. However, as a rule of thumb, if a worker needed to shout or use a loud voice to be heard within about 4 feet, noise levels were probably excessive. If no protection was provided, the employer would probably be found negligent.
Is the claim time-barred?
A worker may have suffered hearing loss or deafness from noise at work decades earlier. This would not necessarily prevent a noise induced hearing loss claim. The three year limitation period for making such a claim does not start until the worker ought to have known he had suffered deafness or hearing loss due to his work.
Is the loss of hearing due to noise at work?
Hearing loss and deafness can be partly or fully due to age rather than noise. This can normally be confirmed by an audiogram. However, even noise-induced hearing loss might be partially or fully due to other jobs or even noisy hobbies.
Can hearing loss claims be defended?
Occasionally, noise-induced deafness claims can be defended on the grounds that the noise was not excessive for the time. However, the two more common defences are:
- Causation defence; the Claimant cannot prove any deafness or hearing loss was noise or work-related. This is where your own medical expert may help.
- Limitation defence; the Claimant knew or ought to have known of a connection between his hearing loss/deafness and noise at work exposure several years earlier and the claim is time-barred. (However the court still has a discretion).
Can we find our insurers?
Through our contacts within the insurance industry our solicitors are often able to find insurers which the business cannot trace for themselves.
If your business is facing a deafness/hearing loss claim contact one of our specialist solicitors for a free initial telephone consultation on 01622 680 430.
Our solicitors are experienced in helping businesses deal with hearing loss/deafness claims in the most cost effective way.
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