Hearing loss and tinnitus
One of our specialist areas is hearing loss and tinnitus.
We have dealt with claims for compensation for noise induced hearing loss, or NIHL, which result from exposure to very loud noise (above 90 decibels), vibration and/or percussion. We have also handled compensation claims where partial deafness was caused by physical trauma – a blow to the head.
We are familiar with audiograms, PULHHEEMS assessments and other technical aspects of audiovestibular reports and otolaryngology!
Case study one
We recently acted for a former serviceman who had driven tanks and was exposed to other noise whilst in the Army and then served as an air engineering technician (AET) in the Navy, working with Sea King and Lynx helicopters.
He was exposed to very loud noise, vibration and percussion which we said was the cause of premature hearing loss and tinnitus. We said he was entitled to compensation from the MOD for failing as employer to provide a reasonably safe system of work and, by its medical officers, for clinical negligence - not taking adequate care of our client’s health during his time in the Navy.
The claim was robustly defended over a period of more than three years until, a month before the planned date of trial, settlement was achieved when we negotiated a six figure sum for loss of earnings and compensation for pain and suffering etc.
In the course of the litigation we teamed up with specialist counsel who himself is a former Royal Navy Commander and Judge Advocate familiar with every aspect of procedure and policy, not to mention the characteristics of all the helicopters, ships and other kit our client worked on or with.
We instructed a specialist medical consultant to advise on the degree of injury and the causes of it. We also worked with another former naval commander to analyse and forecast our client’s likely career path if he had remained in the service for another ten years or more. That analysis was backed up by forensic accountancy evidence of our client’s actual business today.
It was a case also complicated by arguments about limitation periods but all these obstacles were overcome and at the end of the day our client was extremely happy with the result.
Case study two
In another case we acted for a self-employed long-distance lorry driver who, on a miserable wet night in the darkness of the haulier’s yard, slipped and fell, picking up a serious head injury.
Our client was trying to connect coiled air-brake pipes – known as suzis - from the back of his rig to a trailer. There was no checker plate fitted on the trailer and as a result he slipped and fell, banging and gashing his head on one of the girders.
Apart from a nasty, painful cut to his head, with bruising and a lump afterwards, the claimant was left with permanent symptoms of hearing loss, tinnitus and photophobia – sensitivity to light, often causing what are known as ice-pick headaches. These are like the shooting pain sensation that you may have experienced sometimes when you take too big a mouthful of very cold ice cream on a hot summer’s day.
In that case there was no serious dispute about liability but the consequences of the injury proved unusual and we had to conduct prolonged investigations to secure evidence from one of the country’s leading experts at the time to prove the link between the accident and the injuries.
Working together with a forensic accountant to calculate the past and future loss of earnings, we were able to negotiate compensation for our client worth £50,000.
Contact us if you think you may have a claim for total or partial deafness, tinnitus or related problems caused by prolonged or sudden exposure to noise or physical trauma. Email, or telephone our personal injury experts on 01460 200450