Working with loud equipment can damage your ears, even if you take proper precautions. Long-term exposure to noise can harm cells and membranes in your inner ear. And sudden bursts of sound could rupture your eardrum. You may consider ear injuries minor compared with other physical pain. But they can impact your livelihood if left untreated. If you end up with one, it’s important to understand the benefits you can receive.
Am I eligible for workers’ compensation?
Your eligibility for workers’ compensation depends on your type of hearing loss. If an unexpected event caused your ear injury – like an explosion or an accident on a construction site – you have experienced traumatic hearing loss. Yet, you may work with loud machinery that has caused your hearing to deteriorate over time. In this case, your condition qualifies as occupational hearing loss. Either way, you must wait at least 90 days after you first noticed your injury before making a claim. This provision exists to consider the full scope of your injury’s impact. For both traumatic and occupational injuries, you have two years after the date of disability to file a claim. If you have occupational hearing loss, you can file beyond this window if a specialist determines your job caused it. In this case, you have a 90-day window after your discovery to do so.
What if my claim faces rejection?
Since ear loss is not a visible injury, many employers may downplay its impact. Companies have many ways of rejecting claims and may do so based on your age or preexisting hearing loss. Yet, you can still qualify for workers’ compensation if your job exacerbated your condition. In this case, you will have to appeal your employer’s rejection within 30 days of receiving it.
Ear injuries can cause significant suffering if they’re not dealt with. If yours occurred on the job, it’s crucial to pursue proper recourse. Working with an attorney with workers’ compensation experience can help you achieve it.