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Work-related hearing loss refers to an individual’s diminished ability to hear because of exposure to hazardous noise levels in the workplace. It is a common occupational health issue that affects workers in various industries. While work-related hearing loss can be debilitating, you may be eligible for compensation for the harm such an injury creates.
When dealing with work-related hearing loss in Ohio, no amount of money will make up for the hearing loss you have experienced. Still, it could help you get the best medical attention to improve your condition and protect your family from financial ruin.
When you are exposed to loud noises consistently and for an extended period, it could substantially impact your hearing. When you are exposed to decibel rates of 80 or above, it can result in permanent inner ear damage.
Some industries and occupations are known for causing hearing loss issues more often than others, including:
Hearing loss can occur when you are exposed to loud sounds and noises over a prolonged time. You could also suffer an accident that causes debilitating damage to the inner ear. However, in most occupations, hearing loss is a gradual problem caused by exposure to excessive noise levels over months or years.
When you suffer work-related hearing loss, you can recover compensation for your losses, live your life normally, continue working, and enjoy your life. Some of the most common ways those dealing with work-related hearing loss go about recovering the compensation they are entitled to include:
Under Ohio law, hearing loss is scheduled, meaning compensation is awarded based on a set schedule. The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the extent of your hearing loss.
For permanent and total loss of hearing in one ear, you will receive 25 weeks of benefits. For complete loss of hearing in both ears, you will receive 125 weeks of benefits.
Along with weekly benefits, you may be eligible for medical expenses related to your hearing loss. These expenses may include the cost of hearing aids, surgery, and other treatments.
To file a workers’ compensation benefits claim for hearing loss, you will need to provide:
You can file your claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). The BWC will investigate your claim and decide whether you are entitled to benefits.
You may appeal the decision to the Ohio Industrial Commission if denied benefits. The Industrial Commission will review your case and make a final decision.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are available through the Social Security Administration (SSA). To qualify, your hearing loss must temporarily keep you from continuing to work or earn a living.
You must also have paid into the SSDI program and earned at least 20 work credits over the last ten years. If you believe you qualify, you can apply and provide the SSA with all necessary supporting documentation.
However, you should not be surprised if your claim for benefits is initially denied. As much as 70% of all applicants receive claim denials. If you plan to apply for SSDI benefits, ensure you have an experienced attorney working for you so you can be prepared to pursue an appeal if your claim is initially denied.
You could file a third-party liability claim or personal injury lawsuit for work-related hearing loss if someone else’s negligence were the cause. For example, if an outside contractor fails to provide the necessary protective equipment to prevent hearing loss, you might have grounds for a claim.
Your attorney must show the other party breached their duty of care for your claim to be successful. Their breach of the duty of care must have caused your injuries or damages and substantially affected your life.
Here, not only can you recover any medical expenses the insurance company does not cover and income you do not receive a worker’s compensation benefits, but also your non-economic damages, such as:
When you have an experienced hearing loss attorney working for you, you do not need to worry about a thing. Your lawyer will prepare the details of your case, establish liability for your damages, and ensure liability is assessed accurately so you can recoup every loss.
Whether you need to file a claim for worker’s compensation benefits, seek Social Security disability, or pursue a third-party liability claim, you deserve maximum restitution if your hearing was impacted on the job.
When you believe someone else’s negligence was the cause of your hearing loss at work, reach out to a respected Ohio personal injury lawyer at Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC. Our team offers free consultations to injury victims across the state.