Workers’ Comp Hearing Loss Claims in New York
Hearing loss is an important work-related disability that affects workers across New York in various fields. This includes construction workers, plant and factory workers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics. If you or someone you know is suffering from work-related hearing loss in one ear or both, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The amount and duration of your benefits will vary depending on the extent of your hearing loss.
A New York workers’ compensation lawyer at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC can offer helpful insight as you approach your workers’ comp claim. In fact, we can file your claim for you and can ensure that all pertinent information and records are included to support your claim. One of the distinct advantages provided by our firm is our secure system that can store information about your hearing loss for use in a future claim. If you work in a job where you are exposed to loud noises, keeping detailed records of your hearing loss may prove invaluable at a later date.
How Work-Related Hearing Loss Occurs
Occupational hearing loss may occur in one of two primary ways. It may occur as a result of exposure to loud noises, from heavy machinery at a construction site to the siren on a fire truck. It may also occur as a result of physical trauma, such as a blow to the head or ear or even from a strong blast of air into the ear.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have specific standards set forth regarding exposure to loud noises in the workplace. NIOSH noise standards are set at 85 decibels for an 8-hour period. OSHA’s permissible noise limit is 90 decibels for an 8-hour period. As the level of decibels increase, the length of exposure decreases. Employers are required to take proper measures to protect employees when workplace noises exceed these levels.
Medical Care, Cash Benefits and Schedule Loss of Use Award
In New York, a worker who is suffering from occupational hearing loss faces a three-month waiting period before he or she may file a claim. This waiting period begins on the date that the worker leaves employment or is removed from the environment where he or she was exposed to loud noises. It may also begin on the date that the worker is provided with sufficient protective devices to prevent further hearing loss. The last day of this three-month period is considered the day that the worker’s disablement begins.
Hearing loss coverage under the New York State Workers’ Compensation system may include medical care and cash benefits as well as a Schedule Loss of Use award for permanent hearing loss. Cash benefits will vary depending on the extent and duration of disability, to a maximum of 2/3 of the workers’ average weekly wage for life.
A Schedule Loss of Use award is paid in addition to cash benefits to a maximum of 150 weeks of compensation, or 150 weeks of 2/3 of the worker’s average weekly wage. For example, a worker who has suffered from 25% hearing loss in the left ear and 25% hearing loss in the right ear may be entitled to 50% of the total Schedule Loss of Use award for hearing loss, or 75 weeks of compensation. The formula for this worker’s award, if the worker’s average weekly wage was $900 per week, would appear as follows:
$600 (2/3 weekly wage) x 50% of 150 = $45,000
New York Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Looking for insight on how your benefits may be calculated if you have suffered from occupational hearing loss? Interested in learning more about whether you are entitled to benefits in the first place? An attorney at our firm can help. Our team handles workers’ compensation claims, hearings and appeals for clients throughout New York and is prepared to see how we can help you.
Even if your hearing loss claim has already been denied or is being disputed by your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company, we can advise you on how to request a hearing or file an appeal to seek a positive outcome. Our goal is always to seek whatever result is in your best interests, by seeking the compensation and medical care you need.
Your initial consultation with an attorney at our firm is free and confidential – contact Napoli Shkolnik today.