Hearing loss can be devastating. While there are ways to cope, someone who loses hearing as the result of someone else's actions can find that the loss affects more than just the ability to hear. There are emotional consequences, too. Filing a personal injury lawsuit over hearing loss can be tricky, but it is possible.
Can You Prove the Actions Were Deliberate or Negligent?
In any personal injury case, you have to prove that the person who caused the circumstances leading to your injury was negligent or deliberate in their attempts to harm you. With hearing, you have to show that the person (or company, in the case of industrial situations) should have known better or did know better. For example, a boss at a worksite who gives you flimsy earplugs in a situation that legally requires industrial hearing protectors is, at best, negligent.
Can You Prove the Situation Was Unavoidable for You?
How easy would it have been for you to avoid the situation in a reasonable manner? For example, someone sets off an air horn near you, and you now have hearing loss in the ear closest to the noise. Sure, you could have just not gone outside that day and, thus, never encountered the person, but that's not a reasonable way to avoid the noise. You can't stay holed up in your home, so the other person can't claim that you accepted the risk when you left your house. But if you were going to a comedy troupe performance known for its loud noises, and you knew what you were in for, you can't claim that you had no choice except to subject yourself to the noise.
This ties into prior knowledge. For example, you know going into a rock concert that the noise will be loud. Or you walk into a loud work area without hearing protection but are surrounded by signs warning of noise and its potential effects on hearing. That's kind of like the "wet floor" sign in a market -- you've been warned and accept the risk.
Can You Prove You Didn't Have the Loss Before?
This is where a lot of hearing-related cases become very difficult. Sometimes the change in hearing is obvious. If you've been in an accident that injured the side of your head and resulted in a deformity to your ear or related structures, and now you claim you have a conductive loss (a loss in hearing due to damage to the structures that conduct sound), chances are that the hearing loss is related to the accident. That's an overly obvious example, but it does show how sometimes the relationship between the hearing loss and the event you're suing about isn't really in question.
Yet other times aren't so obvious. For example, you can have temporary shifts in hearing, such as when you go to a concert and can't hear anything afterward, but then you hear things just fine the next day. You can also have permanent shifts in hearing because your ears might not recover fully from the noise. Or you could have a loss that built up over time because of inadequate hearing protection at work. If you can't prove the loss is due to the events you're suing over, getting compensation for it could be difficult.
You need to work with an injury attorney who has dealt with hearing loss cases before. These can require special handling, so to speak, and you need the guidance of someone who has been through many of these cases already.
For more information on filing for personal injury, reach out to a law firm like Monro Law Firm P.S. Inc.Share