You may have worked in a noisy environment for more than one employer and some, or all, may no longer be trading. You should aim to claim against all employers regardless of whether or not they remain in business. It is often possible to trace the insurance companies who provided employers’ liability insurance to those firms, and, once they are located, these insurers will investigate their liability to pay compensation to you. If they accept negligence, each insurer should pay compensation to you based on the number of years for which that the company exposed you to excessive noise. Compensation is therefore apportioned between each negligent employer for their share of your hearing damage.
If court proceedings are necessary, it may be that some companies that are no longer in existence have to be restored to the Companies House Register for that purpose.
How to bring a claim for compensation
There are a number of hurdles you will need to overcome in order to succeed with a claim:
1 Limitation – you must bring a claim within 3 years of the date you knew, or ought to have known, that your hearing damage could have been caused by your work
2 Causation – you must be diagnosed with a quantifiable hearing loss and/or tinnitus due to noise once any age related loss has been deducted from your overall loss. We obtain medical evidence on your behalf to prove that point and we will discuss your work & exposure history with you.
3 Foreseeability – you must prove that your employer could have foreseen that exposure to noise could have caused that damage
4 Negligence and breach of duty – you must be able to demonstrate that your employer exposed you to excessive noise in breach of the relevant laws and regulations. If they failed to provide and enforce hearing protection in excessively noisy areas, or failed to warn you about the dangers of excessive noise exposure, this will assist your case.
It is important to note that all of these hurdles must be overcome, not just one or two.
If your GP or Consultant has suggested to you that noise might have contributed to your hearing damage, please seek legal advice as soon as possible, and ideally seek that advice when you first suspect that any noticeable hearing loss might have been caused by your work. This may be before any medical consultation, so be aware of the 3 year limitation rule and don’t delay. Do make sure that any legal advice you seek comes from a specialist lawyer with expertise in dealing with your type of claim.