People often assume that losing their hearing is part of getting older as it deteriorates slowly and sufferers put up with it, however if you worked in a noisy environment you may consider it to be Industrial Deafness. Consult a solicitor as soon as you can or you could lose out on any chance of compensation. A recent Court of Appeal ruling emphasised the time limits and its repercussions.
In the 1970s into the 80s a man worked in a factory as a machine operator. The company produced flat-pack furniture. The workplace was extremely busy and noisy, he was unable to communicate with colleagues and they developed a form of sign language. The claimant stated that he was not offered ear defenders to protect his hearing, this was challenged.
The closure of the factory in 1981 and his redundancy he believed that he suffered hearing loss bit by bit and he had difficulty understanding people who talked to him, so much so people called him ‘what’s that?’. It took him 32 years to make his claim via a solicitor in 2013.
The judge dismissed the claim because of the time that had lapsed since he had realised that his hearing loss may have been caused by his previous work at the factory, a connection he made in 2007 or 2008. Given those facts the claim is beyond the three year time limit for personal injury claims and the deadline would have been 2011.
Due to the late claim most of the evidence that man wished to rely on no longer existed, such as machinery and it would be impossible to track down witnesses. There was nothing to substantiate or deny his claim so the judge decided that the company would not be able to provide any supporting evidence in their defence. By delaying his claim the man had made it impossible to have a balanced view from both sides.
The Court dismissed the man’s appeal as the dates were a matter of fact and that the judge chose not to use his discretion was correct. They also noticed that the man failed to act on his hearing loss by visiting his doctor because he didn’t relish the idea of being given hearing aids.
If you are affected by hearing loss and you believe it is a result of exposure to extreme noises whilst working then please contact us by telephone at our Corby office on 01536 276300 or call our Kettering office on 01536 311690 or simply get in touch online by clicking here.