I Think I Have Deafness Caused by My Workplace – How Long Do I have To Claim?
Unlike an accident at work claim there are a number of problems on time limits that affect a claim for hearing loss caused by noise at work.
There are two main problems:-
1. the time that your employer should have known about noise problems and provided you with hearing protection
2. the time that you became aware that you were losing hearing because of noise at work
The Time that Your Employer Became Aware of the Noise At Work
Your time for deafness caused at work can only go back to the time that the employer was expected to know about the problems caused by noise at work
The date generally recognised by the courts is 1963- so if the exposure to work noise was before this date there is no claim.
If the exposure is after 1963 then it depends on the type of work that you were in. Generally speaking if you worked in mining, steel, weaving and spinning and no hearing protection was provided you will be able to make a claim
If you worked in other industries (such as building site workers and HGV drivers) then the more likely date is 1970.
How Loud Does the Noise Need to Have Been at My Workplace?
From 1963 the noise that was believed to trigger industrial deafness was 90DB (decibels
From 1990 to 2005 the level was reduced to 85 DB
From 2005 the necessary level was 80 DB
These figures are for initial guidance only- another factor is for how long during the day the exposure occurred and if hearing protection was provided.
If I Was Exposed to These Levels at that time Can I Claim Now?
Generally speaking you have three years from the date that you became aware that your hearing was affected by noise at work to be bring a claim.
The date you became aware is generally accepted to be the time that it was reasonable for you to have knowledge that your hearing problems was the fault of a past or present employer.
How Do I Prove the Date I Became Aware of My Deafness to bring a Claim For Hearing Loss?
This varies from person to person but the latest date for knowledge is when you sought medical attention for your hearing loss and you were told by the GP that it was caused by industrial deafness. The GP might also have sent you for a hearing test.
How Long After This Date Can I Claim For Deafness Caused at Work?
You generally will have 3 years from the date that you became aware of the problem to bring a claim.
What Should I do Now If I think I may Have Deafness caused by my Employer?
The key thing is not to delay. Three years is a very limited time from the date of knowledge to bring a claim and it is vital that you seek legal advice to bring a claim
Do I Need a Solicitor to Bring a Claim?
Yes. Industrial Deafness Claims are not ones that you can bring without a Solicitor to help you. They are complicated and difficult and the insurers for your employer will not pay anything unless you prove all aspects of your case.