Compensation for Construction Workers Who Suffer Hearing Loss
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on November 6, 2019 in Workers' Compensation News
Working in construction can put you at risk for a variety of severe and potentially life-changing injuries. Work sites can be very loud, which can potentially damage your hearing and even lead to hearing loss. Sometimes all it takes is one loud noise to do permanent damage.
Fortunately, workers who suffer hearing loss may be eligible for compensation through the state workers’ compensation program. The experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys at Lynch Law Firm are here to discuss the situation in a free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront costs to you, and you are not obligated to let us handle your claim. We only get paid if we win compensation on your behalf.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Hearing Loss?
Workers’ compensation covers injuries, like hearing loss, that occur while completing activities within the scope of your job. This includes injuries that result from an accident as well as occupational diseases.
Many conditions in the workplace can contribute to hearing loss, including:
- Chemical exposure
- Power tool malfunction
- Persistent noises
- Use of loud tools
- Heavy machinery sounds
Workers who suffer from a temporary loss of hearing may qualify for temporary disability benefits that equal 70 percent of their average weekly earnings. If the incident resulted in permanent hearing loss or one ear is damaged beyond repair, you may qualify for permanent partial disability benefits. These benefits also consist of 70 percent of your average weekly earnings.
The amount of your benefits depends on the percentage of loss of hearing that you have. Your lawyer may recommend audiometric testing if he or she disagrees with the physician’s analysis of your hearing loss.
What If You Were Not Wearing Safety Equipment?
If you were not wearing safety equipment that was provided by your employer to prevent hearing loss, your workers’ compensation claim may be denied.
Under New Jersey law, your claim may be denied if your employer can establish the following:
- You were provided with proper safety guards
- You were warned to use the protective gear
- Your employer has documented your willful failure to use the protective gear
- Your employer can show a causal connection between your failure to use the protective gear and your resulting injury
Determining Your Degree of Hearing Loss
Many factors affect the severity of hearing loss, including the pitch of the noise, the source of the noise, lack of protective equipment and the length of exposure.
Under New Jersey law, the degree of hearing loss for workers’ compensation claims is determined as follows:
- Add the hearing thresholds for the three frequencies of 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000 Hertz
- Divide the sum by three
If a worker has hearing loss in both ears, the 30dB is subtracted from the average in each ear. Then, this figure is multiplied by 1.5 percent for each ear. The smaller percentage is multiplied by five and added to the larger number. This figure is then divided by six. The final number is the percentage of binaural hearing disability.
New Jersey law permits employers to require employees to undergo audiometric testing if they file a workers’ compensation claim for hearing loss. The employer is responsible for paying for this testing. The employer must give written notice to the employee of this requirement and explain if the employee does not have this testing completed within 60 days that his or her workers’ compensation claim can be denied.
All hearing tests must be performed by a certified audiometric technician. If hearing loss is determined, the employee is then referred for an audiologic evaluation completed by a certified audiologist.
An employee can also pay for his or her own audiometric testing to establish hearing loss.
Contact Lynch Law Firm for More Information
If you suspect that your hearing loss was caused by your occupation, you can contact the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Lynch Law Firm for a free consultation. There is limited time to pursue compensation, so it is important to act quickly.
Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. (800) 518-0508