What is Industrial Deafness?

Industrial deafness is the loss of hearing which consequently damages the hair cells in the inner ear and cannot be repaired or fixed. A person suffering with a hearing loss injury may then be required to wear hearing aids for the remainder of their life and/or unable to return to their employment.   

If you have sustained a hearing loss injury whilst in the course of your employment duties in Queensland, you may be entitled to a claim a lump sum payout under Queensland’s Workers’ Compensation system. Additionally, if you believe that your employer could be at fault (negligent) for the injury sustained, you may be entitled to pursue a common law claim which allows you to claim additional damages outside the lump sum payouts.  

Criteria for an Industrial Deafness Claim:

To be eligible to make an industrial deafness workers compensation claim, the following must be satisfied:  

  • Provide a workers’ compensation medical certificate that diagnoses the injured persons industrial deafness and make the claim while you’re either:  
    1. Considered a worker under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003; 
    2. Temporarily unemployed, but would normally be considered a worker; or  
    3. Within 12 months of formal retirement.  
  • Have been employed for at least five (5) years in an employment where the noise level was a significant contributing factor to your industrial deafness.  

Process for Industrial Deafness Compensation Claims:

The claims process for an industrial deafness claim can be complex to understand and navigate on your own.   

If your claim is accepted by WorkCover Queensland, you will be entitled to claim a lump sum payment by way of compensation based on the degree of permanent impairment (‘DPI’). WorkCover Queensland will then send you (the injured person) to attend upon an audiologist to have your hearing assessed. The purpose of the appointment is to diagnose the extent of the long-term hearing loss you have experienced as a result of employment.  The audiologist will then decide the level of permanent damage you have sustained also known as DPI.   

Following this appointment, you will receive a Notice of Assessment from WorkCover Queensland which will outline the extent of the hearing loss and how much you are entitled to as a Lump Sum Statutory Payment in accordance with the workers’ compensation legislation based on the DPI percentage.  

Seek Legal Advice:

It is important to seek legal advice particularly in respect to the Notice of Assessment document. This is because if your hearing loss injury is lower than 20% degree of permanent impairment you cannot take the lump sum payment as well as pursue a common law claim for damages against your employer for causing your hearing loss. Therefore, you could miss out on claiming significant damages you are entitled to, if you believe your employer was at fault (negligent) for your hearing loss. If you believe that your employer may be at fault for the injuries, then pursuing a common law claim may be viable. A common law claim will allow you to claim damages such as past and future economic loss, past and future medicals as well as pain and suffering and loss of amenities.  

If you believe you have an industrial deafness claim which was caused during the course of your employment, you should seek legal advice from one of our specialists who specialise in workplace accidents. Our team will be able to provide you with a free initial consultation to provide advice on prospects of your claim, which claim is suitable to your circumstances and the amount of damages by way of compensation we believe you are entitled to claim.  

In addition to providing a free initial consultation, we will run your claim on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis. If you think you may have a claim, contact Ellie White for a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your accident and injuries.  

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