Go to work. Get paid. Repeat. What happens if your job is causing injury that you may not really notice or suspect, yet? There are many jobs that cause damage to our bodies, but we fail to notice them right away and they hit us a little later in life. Hearing loss is an on-the-job injury that is often overlooked, but serious nonetheless.
Hearing loss on the job
Hearing loss is a significant concern because once it's gone it cannot be restored. Medical Daily claims that it can take only one single sound to cause permanent and irreversible damage to your hearing ability. If your work environment involves exposure to loud noises, your employer should supply you with sufficient and effective safety gear that still allows you to hear other commands. These are a few high-risk and commonly overlooked positions for hearing loss:
- Carpenters or construction workers: from nail guns, jackhammers, drills
- Ambulance drivers or EMTs: from the ambulance siren
- Air traffic controllers: from jet engines
- Dentists: from drills
Receiving workers' compensation for hearing loss
In order to receive workers' compensation, you must be able to prove that your hearing loss is due to job related work. Even if you have some hearing loss before starting the job, you can still receive compensation if your injury was further aggravated by your work.
Time is of the essence
If you suspect you can receive workers' compensation, you should seek legal help quickly because there is a statute of limitations, a time limit, on your claim. In the state of California, the statute of limitations is usually one year from the date of injury. Your year can "start" for a number of reasons: missing work because of the injury, your first doctor visit to address the injury or informally mentioning the injury to your work superior.
Receiving all of your benefits
When you receive workers' compensation, you will not receive your full paycheck. Typically, you will receive a percentage of your normal pay after taxes. Insurance companies want to save money so they will try excluding things like overtime pay, bonuses or premium allowances.
Insurance companies may also not inform you about all the legal benefits you can receive. This can include skills training if you are unable to return to your job, permanent payments if you never fully recover and physical therapy.
Insurance companies want to save money, which means they may try to avoid giving you all your legal benefits. Be prepared for their investigation and know your rights. An attorney who is well practiced and understands workers' compensation law will fight to ensure you are receiving all of your fair and legal benefits.