Hearing loss workers' compensation cases are complicated.
Let's cut to the chase: Yes. In California, construction employees with hearing impairment or hearing loss due to work are usually eligible for workers' compensation. Carpenters and boilermakers are among the construction workers most likely to acquire work-related hearing loss.
However, just because a person is eligible does not mean their benefits application will be successful. Unless there was a catastrophic event, like an explosion, proving that your hearing loss is due to work conditions and not something else is a complex and controversial undertaking.
We frequently recommend that injured workers consult with an experienced San Diego workers' compensation lawyer before filing a claim. For one thing, the consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose. Secondly, your lawyer will know how to find and present hard-to-deny evidence that your hearing loss is because of work.
The right help for injured workers
At McLaughlin & Sanchez, we take on the California workers' compensation system while you focus on healing. Our workers' comp attorneys are aggressive about getting the right results for injured workers.
Contact us for a free case consultation if you have suffered hearing loss or impairment due to work. Tell us what happened, and we'll let you know how strong your case is.
How to prove work-related hearing loss
To collect benefits, you must prove that you have reduced or no hearing. The adjuster may try to deflect the damage done at work by claiming your hearing loss is due to age, pre-existing conditions, drugs, hobbies, or another employer.
Excuses won't stand up to our thorough hearing loss investigations. For example, we know that construction workers are 40 percent more likely than other industry workers to develop job-related hearing impairment.
Our workers' compensation hearing loss attorneys understand how to obtain the right documentation to show that your hearing damage is due to work. Evidence types we may use include:
- Medical report, audiometric report.
- Hearing examination by a specialist like an otolaryngologist (ENT) or audiologist.
- Doctor confirmation that you have lost or reduced hearing abilities because of work.
- Decibel measurements.
- Witness statements.
- Expert testimony.
- Your own powerful story about how hearing loss has lowered your ability to communicate and relate to others.
Types of construction work-related hearing loss
In general, there are three or four types of work-related hearing loss:
- Traumatic hearing loss - Caused by a sudden event like an explosion, gunshot, or direct ear injury.
- Exposure to loud noises - This is the most common type of work-related hearing loss. Exposure to loud noise over an extended period builds up and can cause hearing loss, deafness, or tinnitus (ringing in the ears). In construction, loud noise can come from many sources, including belt sanders, chainsaws, jackhammers, road graders, scrapers, concrete saws, bulldozers, and generators.
- Ototoxic substances - These are substances that can damage your ears, such as carbon disulfide, ethylbenzene, styrene, toluene, trichloroethylene, lead, mercury, and carbon dioxide.
- Dual exposure - Workers who are exposed to repeated bouts of loud noise and ototoxic substances are at a higher risk of developing hearing loss.
Once your hearing is damaged, there is no getting it back. Although you may be able to improve your situation with hearing-assist technology, hearing impairment is a lifelong disability. Those who suffer hearing loss because of work deserve full workers' comp benefits. This includes compensation for work-injury-related medical care, temporary and/or permanent disability, and supplemental job displacement (lost wages).
We know how to prove work-related hearing loss.
If you have suffered hearing loss due to work conditions in construction, mining, oil and gas extraction, or any other industry in the San Diego area, contact McLaughlin & Sanchez for a free case consultation.
A member of our team is available to hear from you anytime, day or night. Don't wait. There are strict deadlines that must be met to get workers' comp. Contact us to schedule your free case consultation today.