Workers’ compensation allows millions of hardworking Americans to be rightfully compensated if they are injured while on the job. However, while many people think workers’ compensation is only for people who are physically hurt in an accident, it can actually apply to conditions that cause hearing loss as well. Many businesses frequently deny workers’ compensation for people who claim to have hearing loss even though it is clearly covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act.
At the law office of John A. Snyder, we specialize in workers’ compensation and can help you receive the settlement you deserve if you have lost your hearing because of your work environment or a work-related accident. When it comes to applying for workers’ compensation for hearing loss, you need to be aware of a few important factors.
Hearing Loss Must Be in Both Ears
The Workers’ Compensation Act specifically states that you must have hearing loss in both of your ears. Furthermore, the loss needs to be at least 10%, which means it can be a little tricky to identify. This can easily be determined by a physician who specializes in hearing loss. To give you an idea of what a “10% hearing loss” feels like, you will likely have trouble hearing the television if it is too far away as well as someone who is speaking to you over the telephone.
You Are Responsible for the Burden of Proof
If you want to be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, you must prove that you were exposed to hazardous noise while working or that you suffered an injury at work that resulted in hearing loss.
Given that the wording regarding this specific issue in the Workers’ Compensation Act is somewhat vague, it can be difficult to determine what type of noise can be considered hazardous, which is why many businesses are able to deny workers’ compensation claims for hearing loss. For this reason, it is important to have a workers’ compensation attorney who is experienced and will fight to see that you receive the settlement you deserve.
You Must Attain the Medical Opinion of a Doctor
As stated earlier, a licensed doctor can easily help you determine whether you are suffering from any type of hearing loss. However, it is incredibly important that they not only figure out how much of your hearing has been damaged, but also that it was from the environment in which you worked. It is very difficult to file a workers’ compensation claim if you have not received proper documentation from a medical doctor.
You Have a Three-Year Time Limit
If you can establish that your hearing has been damaged due to your work environment, you have a three-year period to submit your claim for workers’ compensation.
Once again, this is another reason why it is helpful to have an attorney on hand, as many businesses will adamantly attempt to deny their workers the compensation they deserve, especially if it means having to pay them years’ worth of workers’ compensation benefits.