“Are you entitled to compensation for Noise Induced Hearing Loss?”
There has been a significant rise in marketing activity from firms of solicitors and claims management companies promoting a ‘no win no fee’ approach to claims for industrial deafness.
“How much for Tinnitus?” - “What’s my claim worth?” - “Can I get compensation?” are all strap lines designed to draw potential claimants towards firms who will act on their behalf and guide them through the process of claiming.
What does this mean for our clients receiving solicitors’ letters alleging
Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)?
Businesses being targeted by claims management companies and solicitors include:
- Steel Industry
It is often the case that one successful Noise Induction Hearing Loss claim will lead to others as the word spreads. A run of these could have a drastic effect on your liability insurance premiums for the future.
What advice can we offer our clients facing such claims against them?
These claims can and should be defended by your insurers.
The Supreme Court decision in Baker v Quantum Clothing Ltd (2011) is seen as having prevented the floodgates being opened to industrial deafness claims http://ukscblog.com/case-comment-baker-v-quantum-clothing-group-ltd-ors-2011-uksc-17/
In the insurance trade press recently, Aviva are quoted as saying that 85% of Noise Induction Hearing Loss claims fail. There is however a suggestion that these claims can succeed because no documentation is available or can be traced. Our clients should, at the very least:
- Question the claimant’s history of exposure to noise, particularly when they commence employment
- Challenge the results of noise testing if there is any doubt as to its reliability
- Instruct an engineer to forensically calculate noise levels if similar machinery can be inspected. Historic noise surveys can also be used to ascertain what noise levels may have been in a factory which has since closed down or where machinery has been sold or disposed of.
And of course, today’s risk management will play a major part in preventing losses and showing your client, when placed under scrutiny, as a business which takes its responsibility for the standard of care to its employees seriously.
We advise clients to:
- Assess the risk to employees
- Take action to reduce exposure
- Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees
- Provide training and information to employees
- Maintain records of training, information provided and PPE provided
- Carry out regular health checks
- Understand and manage the legal noise limits
For lots more useful information and advice, take a look at the HSE website http://www.hse.gov.uk/noise/advice.htm