Industrial deafness claims gaining more notoriety
Recent media attention on the legal sector has been highlighting “industrial deafness” and the rise in these types of claims. According to the reports, industrial deafness claims have risen by two thirds over the past two years: 80,000 claims were made in the year 2013, compared to 55,000 in 2012.
There are many different reasons for the increase in the amount of industrial deafness cases, some of which are highlighted below:
Industrial Deafness on the Rise?
The rise in industrial disease cases can be related to the three following points;
- Industrial deafness cases have increased over the last two years, due to more awareness, advertising and word of mouth, meaning the condition is being promoted nationally. Roberts Jackson have seen these cases rise in volume, as people are becoming more aware of the circumstances and physical damage they must have to present a claim.
- When making an industrial deafness claim, not only does the individual have to provide a satisfactory working history in an area where there was noise, but they must also undertake a hearing test to prove the loss. At Roberts Jackson, reputable doctors, who are handpicked by our director Karen Jackson, ensure all claims we take on are quality cases. This not only benefits us, but also benefits the client by assuring their case is worth pursuing and that it is being dealt with in a professional manner.
- The majority of industrial deafness cases relate to the client’s previous working environment, where he/she was exposed to noise decades before noise induced hearing loss symptoms presented themselves. Successful claimants, such as coal miners, were sometimes not provided with any form of substantial safety equipment during their employment. This is evidenced by many claims which relate to work undertaken in the 70’s and 80’s when health and safety was not advanced as it was today. To suggest that these claims are now on the rise can be related to the way in which the symptoms of industrial deafness becomes more apparent later in life. Industrial Deafness symptoms include tinnitus, ringing and buzzing in the ears and a lack of basic hearing levels, such as problems with conversations. The rise relates more to these symptoms becoming present later in life, rather than during the individual’s employment.
Change in Market
At Roberts Jackson Solicitors we have always been a firm focused in the area of industrial disease in the workplace. This includes not only hearing loss cases, but also asthma, asbestos, vibration white finger and skin conditions. Since Roberts Jackson was established in 2009, industrial disease has always been our focus, even when industrial deafness claims were relatively unknown to the general public. Other law firms have seen the potential in these cases and have grown internal departments to undertake Industrial Disease work.
The change in the market for many law firms to start focusing on industrial deafness cases, is related more to the sheer quantity of these cases, due to the negligence of health and safety in the period of time, as opposed to the ease of bringing these claims.
The chairman of the parliamentary group for deafness, Sir Stephen Lloyd, was quoted as saying the following “Awareness of the impact of excess noise on hearing in the 1970’s and 1980’s was not as good as it is today, so it stands to reason that some people may well have been adversely affected. However, a properly trained specialist should be able to ascertain whether or not deafness was due to excess noise in the workplace or a natural part of the ageing process”.
This statement presents the true nature of these cases, noting not only the time frame in which these claims must have adhered to but also the professional nature in which these cases are investigated.
If you believe that you have been affected by your work in a noisy environment, please contact Roberts Jackson on our free phone number 0800 001 4496 or fill in an enquiry form on the right of this page.