Case Study: Paper Mill Engineer Makes a Claim After Suffering Industrial Deafness at Work

Mr M Was Awarded £5,499 Compensation

A man has received £5,499 compensation after suffering hearing loss due to continued exposure to loud noise during his working years.

The case

Mr M, a maintenance engineer, began to notice hearing loss and tinnitus at the age of 50. He had previously worked at a noisy paper mill for 13 years where he had maintained machines. During Mr M’s employ at the paper mill he had not been provided with hearing protection and he had not been made aware of the long-term dangers of working in a loud environment. Mr M approached us to take on his case when he realised that his hearing problems could be attributed to his former job. Industrial Disease solicitor and Senior Associate, Abigail Morrison took on Mr M’s case and secured Mr M £5,499.45 in damages.

The claim

Mr M started working at DS Smith Paper Limited (then Hollins Paper Mill) in 1978. He worked as a maintenance engineer at the paper mill until 1990 and was exposed to loud noise every day. The mill comprised large machines, industrial scale vacuums and other noisy equipment that ran simultaneously throughout the standard working day. Mr M was not given any hearing protection and often worked 70-hour weeks. Mr M believed that it was this long period of exposure to excessive noise levels on a daily basis that led him to suffer from tinnitus and hearing loss.

Investigating the case

Abigail obtained Mr M’s employment and medical records and was able to confirm that there was no pre-existing condition or alternative employer that was likely to have caused Mr M’s suffering. It was arranged for Mr M to see a medical specialist so that the full extent and implications of his hearing loss could be understood. After examining the client, the medical expert confirmed that Mr M had 11.1dB hearing loss and recommended digital hearing aids. He judged that noise exposure had accelerated Mr M’s need for hearing aids by 5-10 years and advocated private aids over NHS aids.

With the medical expert’s report compiled, a schedule of losses was made to list the expenses that Mr M could expect to face as a result of his hearing loss. The schedule of losses included the cost of future hearing aids and travelling to medical appointments.

Settling the case

The defendants made an offer of £3,000 which was rejected by Mr M and JMW Solicitors as being too low. The defendants did not agree with the opinion of the medical expert and felt that Mr M’s suffering was not as bad as his report suggested. As it seemed that neither side could agree on a settlement amount, Abigail issued court proceedings and began to prepare for trial.

As part of the preparations for going to court, statements were gathered from witnesses who had also worked at the paper mill. These statements corroborated Mr M’s assertion that no hearing protection or training had been provided by DS Smith Paper. With this additional support for Mr M’s claim in consideration, the defendants made the client an increased offer of £5,500 shortly before the claim was due to go to court. After careful consideration, Mr M decided to accept this offer and took home compensation to the net amount of £5,499.45.

If you or anyone you know has become aware of hearing loss within the last three years and believe this is due to your job (current or previous), feel free to contact Andrew Lilley on 0161 828 1958 or fill in our contact form for free no obligation advice.

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