From the beginning days of workers’ compensation law, people who have suffered hearing loss due to their job have been making injury claims with their employers insurance carriers. If you believe you are a victim of workplace-induced hearing loss, this blog is for you. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about making a workers’ compensation claim for hearing loss in Indiana, including who to trust to represent you and your case and how to get started.
Defining Hearing Loss
Workers’ compensation claims for hearing loss are complex since the technical definitions, methods of evaluating its severity, and approaches to compensate for it, differ among states. It is important to meet with a licensed Indiana personal injury lawyer for professional and accurate legal advice regarding your hearing loss injuries. It is also wise to learn what you can about making a workers’ compensation claim for hearing loss, what the laws say about such workplace injuries, and more.
Standard sound is measured in decibels (dB). For a better understanding of decibels, consider these examples: A pin dropping is 10 decibels; conversational speech is around 60dB; flushing a toilet is 75dB; a lawn mower is 90dB; a table saw is 105 dB; a jackhammer is around 110dB; the sound of an emergency siren is 115dB; peak stadium crowd noise is around 130dB; a shotgun is 160dB. As you can gather, many of these noises are part of everyday jobs, like construction workers, landscapers, first responders, stadium staff, factory workers, subway workers, and more.
Types of Noise Exposure
Depending on the type of vocation, the level of noise can vary, thus resulting in varying effects. A person can suffer injuries from common noises, whether exposed just one time or over a long period of time. Both long-term low noise levels and short-term high noise levels can cause damage to the inner ear where the hair cells are found. The trouble is, once these inner ear hair cells are damaged, they cannot be restored.
Because of the real potential damage to hearing, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets limits for employee noise exposure. These limits are 90dB for 8 hours a day, and 2 hours of exposure to 100dB. Think back to the examples of noise levels discussed before; a police siren is 115 decibels, while a jackhammer averages around 110 decibels. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also requires employers to equip their staff with the proper protective gear, ear damage can still occur.
Recovering Compensation for Workplace Hearing Loss
Different states have different formulas and procedures for compensating injured workers for hearing loss. Furthermore, various factors influence eligibility and max limits for compensation. For instance, states like Pennsylvania and Delaware commonly compensate injured victims with Temporary Total Disability, Partial Disability, or Permanent and Total Disability benefits, but they use different formulas for providing such benefits. See our blog, “A Brief Explanation of Temporary Total, Temporary Partial, and Permanent Total Disability Benefits” to understand these types of benefits.
Here in Indiana, injured workplace victims may be awarded Temporary Total Disability (TTD), Temporary Partial Disability (TPD), Permanent Total Disability (PTD), and even Permanent Partial Impairment (PPI) benefits, which is when an injured person will not attain 100% recovery. As for hearing loss, it may help to know that, according to Worker’s Compensation Act, “An injury “arises out of the employment” when there is some causal relationship between the injury sustained and the duties or services performed by the employee. This causal relationship is established when a reasonably prudent person considers an injury incidental to employment at the time of entering into it or when the facts indicate a connection between the condition under which the employee works and the injury.”
Keep in mind, your rights to compensation for workplace hearing loss will be dependent on various specific factors, which is why it is necessary to consult with a reputable personal injury lawyer who is well-versed in Indiana workers’ compensation law.
Did You Suffer Hearing Loss at Work?
Hearing loss is one of several occupational conditions that can be sustained by employees here in Indiana. If you believe you are a victim of workplace-induced hearing loss or ear damage, contact the Law Office of Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to learn you rights and eligibility for compensation. We offer free initial consultations so you can discuss your workplace injuries with a seasoned Indiana personal injury lawyer, in person.