Case Study: Joiner Makes a Hearing Loss Claim

JMW has secured £13,000 compensation for a joiner following his diagnosis of noise-induced hearing loss resulting from consistent exposure to loud equipment during his working years.

The Case

Mr B noticed that he was suffering from hearing loss after more than 35 years working in construction began to take its toll on his ears. In his career as a joiner, Mr B was consistently surrounded by loud equipment and, for most of his working life, he had not been offered personal protective equipment. It was only when Mr B. was 52 that he began to feel the effects of hearing loss and visited a doctor.

The Claim

Mr B approached JMW with his claim and was subsequently represented by JMW’s industrial disease team under the leadership of solicitor, Andrew Lilley. The team acted for Mr B to bring a claim against two defendants – Mr B’s previous employers.

The main difficulty faced by Mr B and the team was the fact that the client’s most recent employers had given him an audiogram four years before he visited the doctor about his hearing loss. Cases of industrial deafness have a three-year limitation period meaning that if it was proven that Mr B had known about his hearing loss more than three years prior to his claim, he would not be liable to receive damages. However, Mr B maintained that he had only begun to notice hearing loss four years after he had had the audiogram.

Obtaining Medical Evidence

In order to try and prove Mr B’s case, the industrial disease team referred it to a medical expert. The expert was to assess the situation and confirm whether or not it was possible that Mr B could have been unaware of his hearing loss until 2010. After reviewing the case, the medical expert said that as the hearing loss was the result of a combination of noise and advancing age, it would have been gradually deteriorating and, as such, not obvious to the client.

The Defendants’ Case

Of the two defendants, the first neither admitted nor denied negligence, while the other denied liability, arguing that Mr B’s working environment under their employment was not excessively loud and that personal protective equipment had been available. This defendant also claimed that use of the PPE was regularly monitored and disputed the medical evidence provided.

A judge subsequently agreed that joint engineering and medical reports should be brought forward. The resulting investigations found that although PPE had been compulsory at the second defendant for a number of years, Mr B had never been made aware of his audiogram results.

Settling the Case

After two low offers from the first defendant were rejected by the JMW team, a third offer of £8,000 was finally accepted.

The second defendant brought four witnesses forward who stated that noise levels had not been excessively high. The defendant offered Mr B the opportunity to drop the case and have them pay their own costs. JMW did not accept this but instead offered a settlement of £5,000 plus costs that was accepted with only one week to go before trial.

The total settlement was for £13,000.

Talk to Us

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), contact Andrew Lilley on 0161 828 1958 for free no obligation advice about whether you can make a claim.

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