Industrial Deafness Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by industrial deafness we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered industrial deafness and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
In our guide to claiming
industrial deafness compensation:
Industrial deafness is also known as Occupational Deafness or Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Recent figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimate that there are around 18,000 new cases of industrial deafness diagnosed every year.
According to the data, the highest rates of industrial deafness occur in the extraction, construction, energy and manufacturing industries.
If you have suffered industrial deafness as a result of your employer's negligence, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
The claims process for industrial deafness
Getting a diagnosis
Industrial deafness is known as a 'latency' disease, meaning symptoms often only appear years or decades after the initial exposure or cause. For this reason, people may put the symptoms down to ageing, rather than their previous employment. Key indicators of industrial deafness include:
- Finding it hard to keep up with conversations
- Not being able to hear a conversation where there is background noise
- Struggling to use the telephone
- Having to turn the television volume up high
Establishing industrial deafness is the first step in any industrial disease compensation claim, and a solicitor can help arrange a medical examination to do this. Not only will they assess physical symptoms, but they will also ask questions regarding work history and exposure to noise.
Demonstrating the cause
Inadequate personal protective equipment is a common cause of industrial deafness. The medical report will be a key piece of evidence in determining the cause.
Once a report by a medical expert has been obtained, a solicitor will help establish that a particular employment and noise source was indeed the cause. Example cases include an engineer exposed to excessive noise over a long period of time and a demolition operative subjected to a sudden, extremely loud bang.
The claimant's account of events can be supported by witness accounts as well as documentary evidence from employers.
Establishing legal responsibility
The next step is proving that an employer could have foreseen that industrial deafness or a related condition, such as tinnitus or acoustic shock syndrome, could have occurred. In addition, it must be shown that an employer was legally negligent in protecting the claimant from the noise.
What are my employer's legal duties?
Employers have a legal ‘duty of care' to ensure they keep their employees safe from harm. General provisions for this are made in a number of health and safety laws and regulations, including the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
For industrial deafness specifically, there are much stricter controls in place than was the case in earlier decades.
The primary piece of legislation is the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. The aim of the regulations is to ensure that workers' hearing is protected from excessive noise at work.
In order to comply, employers must carry out a thorough risk assessment of the noise in the work environment and who it affects. They must then put procedures in place to reduce the risks and comply with the law. This includes ensuring adequate controls are adopted to keep noise below or within the legal limit (80-85 decibels) - measures such as:
- Using quieter machinery
- Installing barriers and absorbent materials
- Shortening working periods
- Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) i.e. earplugs
Employers are also required to train staff on the risks, carry out regular monitoring and maintenance and provide health surveillance - monitoring workers' hearing ability.
How is liability decided?
An employer's actions should be ‘reasonably practical' in proportion to risk. If the employer failed to identify the risks or employ appropriate control measures, they would be deemed negligent and therefore liable.
Employers are required to have employer's liability insurance in place to cover industry related injuries, such as NIHL. If the case is straightforward and the employer admits liability, claims can be settled outside the Courts, and a solicitor will work hard for this. If not, the Courts will make the decision based on the evidence of the case.
No win, no fee
'No win, no fee' means that if your industrial deafness claim is not successful, you won't have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is a contract between you and your solicitor.
Our no win, no fee promise
If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of claiming compensation for your industrial deafness injury. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my industrial deafness claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my industrial deafness claim?
If your industrial deafness claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How do personal injury solicitors get paid?
If your industrial deafness claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Industrial deafness FAQ's
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?
You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long do I have to make an industrial deafness claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the industrial deafness to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your industrial deafness claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an industrial deafness after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim industrial deafness compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an industrial deafness claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.
Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.
Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
Can I get an early compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.