Most of the clients our workers’ comp lawyers in Orlando have represented suffered from common workplace injuries. It is not often that we meet with someone who’s experienced something as devastating as hearing loss. The good news is that this condition is a compensable injury under workers’ compensation in Florida.
Hearing Loss is a Compensable Injury Under Workers’ Compensation in Florida
For the most part, if you get hurt at work, you can apply for workers’ compensation benefits. If your claim is approved, you’ll receive weekly benefits, and your medical care will be covered by insurance.
However, there are only certain injuries that are compensable under workers’ compensation. Unless your injury is incredibly unique, there’s a good chance it’s on this list. Hearing loss is an illness that is covered by workers comp.
According to Florida Statute 440.151, hearing loss can be considered a compensable injury. As long as you meet certain criteria, there’s no reason to think your claim will be denied.
It Will Depend on What Kind of Work You Do
Some jobs are more dangerous than others. When it comes to hearing loss, certain professions are more vulnerable than others. Your Orlando workers comp attorney will have to prove that your job presented a unique risk of hearing loss.
When you think about it, there aren’t many jobs that expose workers to loud sounds on a constant basis. Some of the professions that may be at a heightened risk of hearing loss include:
- Construction workers
- Oil and gas workers
- Casino workers
- Tollbooth operators
There are certainly other jobs that fall into this category. As long as your workers’ comp lawyer in Orlando can show a link between your job and your hearing loss, you should qualify for benefits.
The Severity of Your Hearing Loss Will Also Matter
To qualify as a compensable workplace injury, you must suffer at least 10% hearing loss in both ears. If your Orlando workers comp attorney can’t demonstrate this level of hearing loss, your claim may be denied.
The reason the legislature had placed a minimum percentage of loss on your claim is simple. A person who suffers less than 10% hearing loss could have suffered that loss from nearly anything.
Normal, everyday activities could cause that level of hearing loss. Your employer will not be responsible for injuries that are not exclusively work-related.
Can your Orlando Workers Comp Attorney Prove That Your Hearing Loss Was Caused by Your Job?
You know your job better than anybody else. You’re going to have to sit down with your workers’ comp lawyer in Orlando and explain what the working conditions are at your company.
Your attorney will likely have a lot of questions for you on this topic. They need to be able to prove, with a reasonable degree of certainty, that your hearing loss was caused by your job.
Your Occupation Must Pose a Much Higher Incidence of Hearing Loss
One way of demonstrating that your hearing loss is work-related is by showing that your job poses a high risk of hearing loss. For example, if you operate a jackhammer six hours a day, you’ll be at a much higher risk than an accountant would be.
Another way your workers’ comp lawyer in Orlando can prove that your injury is work-related is by pointing to other employees’ injuries. If your company has a history of workers suffering from hearing loss, it will help your case.
What Specific Benefits Will Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Normally, if you suffered a back or knee injury at work, you would need surgery and physical therapy. You’d have to attend numerous doctor’s appointments. You may also need a lot of testing to see if you’re healing.
With hearing loss, it’s a bit different. There is no physical injury, per se. You may need surgery and there’s a good chance you’ll need hearing aids after the fact.
Workers’ Compensation May Cover Surgery
Typically, when an employee suffers hearing loss, the insurance company will cover surgery. Of course, not all cases of hearing loss can be fixed with surgery. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of other treatment options available.
It’s important to note that, if you do have surgery, you will need ample time to recover. Your employer cannot treat your case any differently than they would any other employee who needed surgery.
Your Claim Will Probably Also Cover Hearing Aids
There is also a good chance that you’ll need hearing aids. While your employer may give you a hard time about covering the cost of the hearing aids, don’t back off. Your Orlando workers comp attorney will deal with the insurance company.
It is not unreasonable to expect the insurance company to cover the cost of hearing aids. This is especially true if the hearing aids will make it possible for you to return to work.
Yes, losing 10% of your hearing is unfortunate. However, as long as it isn’t much higher than this, it shouldn’t cause you to become disabled.
We Recommend That You Reach Out to One of Our Orlando Workers’ Comp Attorneys
Most of us can’t imagine not being able to hear. Unless you’ve experienced this kind of thing, it probably isn’t fathomable. However, our Orlando workers comp attorneys have represented dozens of clients who have suffered hearing loss at work.
Some employees are lucky and there is a chance that surgery can correct their hearing loss. Others may be able to wear hearing aids. Unfortunately, this won’t change the fact that your job caused your hearing loss.
This is why we recommend that you contact one of our workers’ comp lawyers in Orlando. While we cannot do anything to fix your hearing loss, we can help make sure you receive the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.
We offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. This gives you the chance to sit down with a seasoned Orlando workers comp attorney and have them review your claim. If they think you have a valid claim for benefits, they will deal with the insurance company on your behalf.