According to information published by the British Tinnitus Association (BTA), about 1 in 10 adults in the UK are affected by tinnitus. This is currently an incurable condition that is characterised by a persistent and annoying buzzing, humming or ringing sound in the ears. The source originates from inside the body so nobody else around can hear the sounds except for the person suffering from tinnitus.
Although the condition is not life-threatening it does lower the quality of life. At the very least it can be annoying but in its most severe form, it can be unbearable and incapacitating, often preventing the sufferer from being able to perform even their simple everyday chores.
It can also prevent the sufferer from getting a good night’s sleep, which only makes things even worse.
An injury to the head, neck or brain or an ear infection or disorder are just some of the causes of tinnitus away from the workplace. Tinnitus in the workplace can be caused by a completely different set of factors, from sudden exposure to a loud noise to working continuously in a noisy workplace without any protective gear.
Medical negligence by way of prescribing incorrect medication is yet another cause of tinnitus.
If your tinnitus was caused because of somebody else’s mistake or negligence, they would be deemed liable for your injury.
Can You File A Tinnitus Claim For Compensation?
Did the ringing in your ears start after a loud explosion of noise in your workplace?
Do you work in a high-decibel environment without using any protection for your ears?
Did you start hearing sounds in your ears after taking some kind of medication or medical treatment?
Tinnitus that results from any of the above scenarios is clearly not your fault. In all three cases you may be entitled to file a claim for compensation from your employer or medical doctor.
Doctors and employers have a ‘duty of care’ towards their patients and workers respectively. This means they have to take every precaution possible to ensure your safety. If they fail in their duty to ensure your safety, they are liable to pay compensation for your pain and suffering.
An Employer’s Responsibility To Prevent Tinnitus In The Workplace
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has put certain guidelines in place that employers are supposed to adhere to, to protect their employers from the risk of tinnitus.
These guidelines include but are not limited to:
- Performing full-risk assessments of the levels of noise in the workplace and identifying all those workers who are likely to be affected by loud noises.
- Implementing all measures possible to keep decibel levels within the safety limit by regular maintenance of older machinery, replacing noisy, outdated machines with more advanced and quieter machines, using noise-absorbent barriers or adopting new processes.
- Providing at-risk workers with proper protective gear such as earplugs.
- Providing staff with extensive training on the proper use of machinery as well as how to use the protective gear correctly and how to follow proper safety measures for their own safety and for the safety of all other employees.
If your employer failed in their duty to follow any of these procedures, and tinnitus resulted from this lack of care, they could be liable to pay you compensation for your injuries.
Starting A Tinnitus Claim
The first thing you need to do if you hear ringing sounds in your ears is to consult with a qualified doctor so that you can get the correct diagnosis and more importantly, help with managing the symptoms.
The second step is to make contact with a personal injury solicitor so you can discuss your legal options. Most personal injury solicitors (including ourselves) will give you a free first consultation so they can hear your side of the story and determine whether or not you have strong case.
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If the solicitor feels that you do not have a strong enough case, they will advise you against pursuing a claim in court. But, if you have a strong case with compelling evidence that it was caused by a third party and due to no fault of yours, the solicitor will advise you to go ahead with the claim. They will also agree to help you put the claim together and represent you in court on the basis of a Conditional Fee agreement, otherwise known as No Win No Fee.
There is a statute of limitations governing all personal injury claims. The time limit for filing a tinnitus claim is 3 years from the time the injury occurred or 3 years from the time the diagnosis is made, provided that you can prove the association between the incident and the diagnosis.
How A Conditional Fee Agreement Works
Also known as a No Win No Fee agreement, this is a contract between you and the personal injury solicitor. According to the terms of the contract, you are not required to pay any fees at any time during the procedure. You only have to agree to pay a ‘success fee’, which is a small percentage of the award if they win you the case.
Once you have agreed to the terms of the No Win No Fee clause, the solicitor will start putting together the case. For this you will need to submit whatever evidence you have to show how and where the tinnitus-causing injury occurred. This may include:
- Proof of employment.
- Medical records confirming the tinnitus diagnosis and the probable cause.
- The company’s health and safety records.
- Entry of the accident in the company log book.
- Photographs of the scene where the incident occurred.
- Contact details of other employees who witnessed the incident.
How Much Compensation For Tinnitus?
The court takes several different factors into consideration before arriving at a total amount of compensation for a tinnitus claim.
The final compensation that is awarded to you for tinnitus should ideally cover the medical expenses incurred for diagnosis and immediate treatment, projected medical expenses for long-term management of tinnitus symptoms, cost of travelling to the hospital or clinic for treatment and back, loss of earnings if you had to miss work due to the tinnitus injury and loss of perks such as promotional avenues and bonuses.
Should you wish to talk with one of our personal injury solicitors about your tinnitus compensation claim contact us today and we can go over the details and estimate what amount of compensation you could receive.