Industrial deafness is the loss of hearing as a result of working for long periods of time in extremely noisy environments. Hearing loss is a permanent impairment that affects many workers in construction, manufacturing and industrial environments, as well as those working near or with heavy machinery and equipment. Once you have damaged the hair cells in your inner ear (known as the cochlea) they can't be fixed. Never ignore hearing loss – once you have lost your hearing there is no cure. Hearing aids can help you to hear better, but they are not for everyone.
Talk with an experienced workers comp lawyer to learn more.
The claims process can be very difficult to understand and navigate on your own. This is because you will need to determine the causes of your hearing loss injury from your employment history and be able to identify the most recent employment that has caused your hearing impairment.You can still make a claim for compensation for industrial deafness if you are not employed but you usually would be, or you have recently retired from your job less than a year ago.
The legal process for lodging a claim for industrial deafness can be complex and obtaining the right evidence to ensure the claim is accepted is critical. This is because a claim for industrial deafness is worked out differently to other workers compensation claims.
As such, we recommend you speak to one of our experienced compensation lawyers which will ensure your claim to be lodged correctly and with no legal fees, under our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise.
However, in order to lodge a claim for industrial deafness with WorkCover Queensland you need to be diagnosed with industrial deafness, have a work capacity certificate from your doctor confirming this and have worked in a job for five years or more, where the noise was a factor in your hearing loss.
On receipt of a completed claim form, WorkcCover Queensland will assess your claim. Once your application has been successfully lodged with WorkCover Queensland, they will aim to make a decision within 20 days or less. If further information is required for WorkCover Queensland to reach its decision, you will be notified.
If your claim for industrial deafness is accepted, WorkCover Queensland will work our your entitlements by sending you to an audiologist. They will often rely on the results of an audiology assessment to determine the extent of work-related long-term hearing loss you have experienced. The level of permanent hearing loss you suffer is referred to as the degree of permanent impairment (DPI). Once your DPI has been determined, WorkCover Queensland will provide you with a Notice of Assessment and an offer of a lump sum for your permanent impairment.
The amount received for hearing loss claims are dependent on the severity of the hearing loss or hearing impairment.
While we would recommend seeking advice from an experienced compensation lawyer, only you can decide if the lump sum offer of compensation is sufficient to meet your future needs, when deciding to accept the lump sum compensation offer or pursue a Common Law claim for damages.
If your hearing loss has been assessed by a medical specialist as having a DPI of 20% or more, you can both accept the lump sum compensation and pursue a Common Law claim for damages.
However, if your hearing loss has been assessed by a medical specialist as having a DPI of less than 20%, you can either accept the lump sum compensation offer or pursue a Common Law claim for damages. You cannot do both and once you make that decision, you are unable to change it.
In making your decision, it is important to take into consideration the extent of the hearing loss you suffer, the degree of permanent impairment you have, if you require ongoing hearing services and how much your hearing impairment affects your life.
For these purposes, it is important to note that generally speaking, WorkCover Queensland does not pay for hearing aids separately. As such, you will need to fund any hearing aids with either your lump sum payment or through a Common Law claim for damages.
All subsequent costs for hearing aids or hearing services will also need to be covered by either the lump sum payment or a Common Law claim for damages.
You should consider making a Common Law claim for damages if you believe your hearing loss is a direct result of your employer being negligent. If you don’t agree with the assessment or your offer provided by WorkCover Queensland, you can also:
We cannot accurately predict exactly how much compensation you will receive for your workers' compensation claim. The compensation entitlements for industrial accidents usually depend on several factors including:
All in all, the full entitlements for industrial injuries in Queensland will range anywhere between $62,000 and $1,000,000 and above, depending on the factors mentioned.
If you suffer injuries whilst at work, and you are looking for further information in terms of making a claim. Here at Smith's Lawyers, we offer a free consultation for injured people looking to seek compensation. As mentioned before, we also have a "No Win. No Fee. No Catch." policy, which means you will never be out of pocket.
Get in touch with us today to give yourself the best opportunity to understand your rights.
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