Ear Injury Compensation

Hearing loss is reportedly the second most common health condition experienced by Australians and is more common than asthma, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. It is believed that 37% of hearing loss is noise related and preventable. Ear injuries can affect hearing and can have significant effects on a person’s lifestyle and ability to earn income.

Can I claim ear injury compensation?

You may be able to claim compensation for an ear injury if it resulted from someone else’s negligence or carelessness. Negligence may arise in a variety of settings.

Injured? Get expert advice now: Smith's are Queensland's only 100% risk-free injury compensation lawyers. Insist on our 'No Win. No Fee. No Catch' ® promise. Check your rights with no risk or obligations now and talk direct to our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith. Call 1800 266 801 OR  check if you can claim

Ear injury at work compensation?

If you are injured at work, you may be able to claim workers compensation from your employer. Employers must provide proper and adequate means for employees to carry out their work. This includes:

  • providing safe systems of work
  • maintaining safe machinery and equipment
  • maintaining a safe workplace; and
  • providing employees with adequate facilities, training, supervision and instruction.

If you are injured because your employer neglects to provide safe systems of work, equipment or a safe environment, you may be able to sue for personal injury compensation. This includes injuries incurred over a long period of time, late onset injuries, and aggravations of pre-existing injuries. 

Note however that, weekly WorkCover payments operate under a separate ‘no fault’ scheme, meaning that you can receive weekly payments to cover lost income even if your injury was not because of your employer’s negligence.

Professions at risk for ear injuries and hearing loss

Jobs that pose the highest risk for ear injuries and loss of hearing include those that involve high contact, loud machinery, loud music and risk of falls. This may include musicians, construction workers, farmers, airline ground workers, members of the military, divers and professional sports people.

Examples: Jeff sustains instant and permanent deafness when an unexpected explosion occurs at work due to faulty equipment. Jeff may be able to claim compensation for his ear injuries as they occurred as a result of his employer’s failure to properly maintain its equipment. 
Rick sustains noise related earring loss over a period of time from performing work with a jack hammer without wearing the ear protection his employer provided. Rick may not be able to claim compensation for his injuries as they were due to his own negligence. However, he could apply for Workers Compensation payments if he requires time off work.

See also: WorkCover Claims

Ear injury from car accident - can I claim compensation?

If you sustain an ear injury due to a car or road accident and the collision was totally or partially due to the fault of another driver or vehicle owner you can claim compensation from the owner of the vehicle that caused the accident through their Compulsory Third Party insurer.

Examples: Jeff sustains a temporal skull bone fracture when his head hits the window of his vehicle during  a collision. The collision is caused by a speeding vehicle changing lanes. Jeff can claim compensation from the owner of the speeding car through its CTP insurer. 
Rick is looking out the window while driving and fails to notice that all of the cars in front of him are stopped. He collides with the rear of a car in front of him at speed and sustains an inner ear injury when the side of his head impacts the steering wheel. Rick is unable to claim compensation for his injuries because the accident was totally his fault (although exceptions may apply for catastrophic accidents). If the accident occurred after July 1, 2016 he may be able to seek necessary and reasonable medical and rehabilitation services through the National Injury Insurance Scheme of Queensland (NIISQ).

See Also: Motor vehicle injury claims

Ear injury sustained on someone else’s property - can I claim compensation?

Occupiers (including owners of private property and public authorities), have a duty of care toward people coming onto their land. They must take reasonable care to make sure entrants are not exposed to risks that are likely to cause injury.  This means if there is something that is potentially dangerous on their property they must rectify it or warn people of the danger.

Common scenarios include someone slipping on a floor surface, tripping over an unexpected obstacle on the ground, falling into an unmarked hole in the pavement, or being hit by falling debris from a building site.

Examples: Johnny is walking across the school oval when he is struck hard in the ear by a rouge cricket ball. The cricket nets were being repaired so cricket practice was being conducted at one end of the oval without any nets or fences to stop stray balls.  Johnny may be able to seek compensation for his injuries from the school.

Rachel is playing golf with three friends at a golf course, when she is struck in the ear by a golf ball at close range. Rachel may not be able to claim compensation since there is no negligent action on the part of the owners of the golf course that caused her injury.

Common Ear Injuries

The ear is made up of delicate structures designed to maximise vibration of the eardrum for hearing. These can be easily damaged due to trauma. The outer ear is made up of three layers of soft tissue: a cartilage skeleton, the perichondrium and an outer layer of skin.

Damage to your ears may occur in a variety of ways:

  • Ear injury from loud noise - noise induced hearing loss occurs as a result of damage to the ear drum or ear bones from exposure to a single loud burst of sound or prolonged exposure to loud noise
  • Ear pulling injury - pulling the ears intentionally or earrings getting caught may result in a split or torn earlobe and may even effect the ear canal and hearing ability
  • Ear injury from fall - impacts and trauma to the ear can rupture the eardrum or fracture the delicate ear bones responsible for hearing causing permanent deafness
  • Barotrauma -injury from pressure in the middle ear not being equal to the outside environment, common to underwater divers
  • Ruptured eardrum - occurs when a hole or opening forms in the thin tympanic membrane separating the outer ear and middle ear
  • Contusions, lacerations and hematoma - bruises, cuts and swelling from impact or trauma
  • Auricular hematoma -  (aka Cauliflower ear) is caused by pooled blood under the skin, can lead to permanent disfigurement and is particularly common in contact sports
  • Tinnitus - continuous ringing sound in the ears caused by a fault in the hearing system and may be caused by exposure to excessive noise, ear tutors or otosclerosis
  • Vertigo - condition causing dizziness, nausea and loss of balance

Common Causes of Ear Injuries

Ear injuries may arise in a broad range of situations. For example:

  • Impacts by moving objects: impacts to the side off the head is common in the workplace and in cases of physical assault.
  • Sports: impacts from contact sports, and balls and other sporting equipment can cause serious trauma to the ear
  • Car Accidents: trauma to the side of the head or ear is common in road accidents
  • Loud Noises: sudden loud noises such as explosions or long term exposure to loud noises are common workplace hazards
  • Falls: falls while playing sport, riding a horse or bicycle or from a height is a common cause of ear injuries, especially in children
Strict time limits apply - seek legal advice ASAP - In most circumstances, the time limit to start a compensation claim is 3 years from the date of incident. Some processes need to be started much sooner. Seek expert legal advice ASAP. Call us on 1800 266 801 or start a live chat

Next steps - get advice now

It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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Last update on:
May 29, 2018
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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