According to the CDC, each year more than 20 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels in the U.S. Hearing impairment caused by noise exposure can affect your ability to hear high-pitched sounds, understand speech and even communicate with those around you. Permanent hearing loss cannot be reversed with medicine or surgery.
At Berlin Law Firm, our lawyers have seen firsthand the impact of hearing loss on our clients and their loved ones. We also understand that many workers that have suffered from hearing loss don’t know that it is a compensable injury. That is why we advocate aggressively for the benefits our clients deserve and provide legal protection at every stage of the claim process. Contact us today to speak to our legal team.
Eligibility Criteria for Hearing Loss Claims
Florida law requires most employers to purchase workers’ compensation coverage. Under this policy, employees are compensated for occupationally incurred injuries, regardless of fault. If your hearing loss is work-related, you should be eligible to file a claim for benefits. However, your employer may deny your claim if they suspect your hearing damage is not work-related or if you were impaired or acting with malicious intent at the time.
An experienced work injury lawyer is essential in cases involving occupational illnesses. Unlike broken bones and other accident-related injuries, conditions like hearing loss are more complex and challenging to prove. Building a solid case for fair compensation takes time, determination and skill.
Statutes of Limitations and Filing Deadlines
Florida Workers’ Compensation guidelines allow 30 days from the time of your injury or your diagnosis to report your condition to your employer. However, hearing loss is unlike other common work-related injuries because it may take time to develop or worsen.
For hearing damage, the 30-day period generally starts after you have had an audiogram to confirm the diagnosis. At Berlin Law Firm, it is our job to show how a lack of proper hearing conservation programs directly caused your hearing loss, using safety reports, medical records and other key information.
We recommend reporting symptoms to your employer and seeing an approved audiologist or otolaryngologist at the first sign of hearing loss. Rapid treatment may prevent further damage and keep your case moving forward.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Hearing Loss
There are different types and degrees of hearing loss. Hearing test results are used to calculate the percentage of impairment, and then you are assigned an impairment rating which determines your benefits.
- Under Florida Workers’ Compensation law, workers with hearing damage may be eligible for temporary total disability or temporary partial disability compensation of approximately 66% of their average weekly income, up to 104 weeks.
- If your condition meets the threshold for permanent impairment, and a hearing specialist determines your hearing will never improve, you may receive permanent work restrictions and additional benefits. Benefits are intended to cover medical care, lost wages and even hearing aids and other medical devices if prescribed.
How Berlin Law Firm Can Help
OSHA has established clear standards for regulating work-related noise exposure and reporting occupational hearing loss. Unfortunately, it often goes undiagnosed and unreported because workers assume loud noise is “just part of the job.” And because hearing loss usually occurs over an extended period, some employers may question if your condition is work-related.
It is easy to be intimidated by your employer and their insurance carrier – either of which may derail your pursuit of benefits or deny them altogether. However, with an experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney, you can avoid the common pitfalls and delays encountered by workers without legal representation.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
At Berlin Law Firm, we know what it takes to build a strong workers’ compensation claim, and we will not be deterred from seeking the damages you deserve. If your claim is wrongfully denied, we will oversee your appeal and represent you in court.