Tinnitus Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by tinnitus we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered tinnitus 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
According to the British Tinnitus Association (BTA), tinnitus affects around 10 percent of adults in the UK. For an affected individual, the sounds that are symptomatic of tinnitus, such as ringing, buzzing or humming, can be at best annoying and at worst debilitating.
Often linked to hearing loss, possible causes of tinnitus include ear infections, diabetes and head and neck injuries. More commonly the condition is connected to exposure to loud noise. If the exposure was a result of an employer's negligence, an industrial disease claim or work accident claim for compensation can be made.
If another party was responsible for you developing tinnitus, such as a negligent GP who has prescribed incorrect medication, or pub or bar owner playing music at a dangerously high volume, it may be possible for a claim to be made.
The first steps
If a person believes they might be entitled to make a tinnitus compensation claim, the recommended first step is to contact a solicitor to discuss options and time limits. Crucially, the solicitor can advise on whether or not there is a case.
Getting an independent diagnosis of tinnitus confirmed by a medical professional, such as an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, is a key step. The specialist will take note of any additional symptoms, such as sleep deprivation and stress, which have resulted from the condition when compiling their report, following an examination. Your solicitor can arrange this exam on your behalf.
If the cause has been identified by the claimant, for example, they believe the tinnitus was caused by working in a noisy work environment, such as a factory, construction site or nightclub, this would need to be confirmed by evidence such as witness statements. A solicitor can help guide this process.
Common evidence recommended for tinnitus claims includes:
- Medical reports which can confirm the diagnosis and the probable cause
- Evidence of employment
- Company health and safety records
- Details of witnesses who can give evidence to support the claim
Who is liable? in a tinnitus claim
For tinnitus claims linked to workplace noise exposure, the employer would be held liable. This is because all employers have a legal ‘duty of care' to protect their employees from avoidable harm - including excessive noise.
An employer's ‘duty of care' is guided by a range of relevant legislation. This includes the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. However, when it comes to tinnitus claims, the primary piece of legislation used is The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005.
Overseen by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) these regulations require employers to do the following in order to protect employees from loud noises:
- Carry out a full risk assessment of the noise levels in the workplace and who is affected
- Implement and maintain a thorough set of safety measures and controls to ensure that noise is minimised to below legal levels (between 80 and 85 decibels), for example through using quieter machinery, adopting new processes, using absorbent barriers and providing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as earplugs
- Train and instruct staff on the risks of noise in the workplace, including hearing loss and tinnitus, and on how to follow safety measures and use PPE correctly
- Provide regular health surveillance to monitor employees' hearing ability
If an employer failed to follow any of these procedures, and an employee suffers tinnitus or another hearing impairment as a result, they would be deemed negligent and therefore liable in a claim.
How did your injury occur?
The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:
No win, no fee, no risk
No win, no fee takes all of the risk out of making a tinnitus claim. If you don't win any compensation, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.
No win, no fee guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making a tinnitus claim - even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my tinnitus claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. 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 tinnitus claim?
If your tinnitus claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
Is there a penalty if I withdraw?
Under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.
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
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 a tinnitus claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the tinnitus to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your tinnitus claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a tinnitus 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.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
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 tinnitus compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a tinnitus 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.