For those employees who are protected by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (Longshore Act), you may be concerned that you have suffered hearing loss because of your job, but that you won’t be able to prove your hearing loss. If you are in that situation, this article is for you.
It is true that hearing loss injury is a particularly difficult injury to prove for two reasons. First, it is an “invisible injury,” in that it is simply a challenge to show others that you are actually injured. Unlike a broken arm, hearing loss is experienced only by the injured person.
Second, even if you can show that you suffer from hearing loss, it is a big challenge to prove what caused the hearing loss. While you might work alongside heavy machinery in your workday, there is a chance that you might play music in a band at night or like to exercise with headphones on. Thus, proving that your workplace was the actual cause of your hearing loss is a significant hurdle.
In this article, we will discuss how the Longshore Act deals with your hearing loss injury. You will likely be pleased to know that the Longshore Act has a few safeguards to help with the two difficulties discussed above.
If, after reading this article, you have more questions about your own circumstances, then the hearing loss work injury attorneys in Jacksonville at RITE Law are here to help. At RITE Law, we have a group of workers’ compensation lawyers who have your best interests at heart, and who have the training and resources to make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online. We provide a free case evaluation, so call today.
Does the Longshore Act Cover Hearing Loss?
First and foremost, you should feel comfortable in the knowledge that the Longshore Act does cover the hearing loss. You might be surprised to know that some workers’ compensation programs do not specifically cover certain types of hearing loss. Fortunately, that is not the case with the Longshore Act.
Accordingly, you should be sure to file a workers’ compensation claim if you are suffering from hearing loss. There is a sense among many employees in noisy workplaces that the noise is essential “just the way it is” for an employee in that industry. Accordingly, employees are not even aware that they can make a workers’ compensation claim for hearing loss as a compensable injury. Thus, a lot of employees with hearing impairments retire without filing a claim because they are unaware that they can.
A report from The Hearing Journal about work-related hearing loss claims makes clear that excessive noise in work environments causing the hearing loss is a “huge problem” in the United States. In that vein, all workers are entitled to a safe work environment. If high decibels of sound over an extended period of time is unsafe for an employee’s hearing, the employer has the obligation to provide protective gear, or the employee may seek compensation.
What About Difficulties of Proving Hearing Loss?
While an insurance company could still challenge your workers’ compensation claim for hearing loss, the Longshore Act has something that helps workers to initially making their hearing loss claim. That is Section 20(a) presumption under the Longshore Act.
The Section 20(a) presumption under the Longshore Act allows judges to make an initial assumption (i.e., presumption) that what an injured worker puts in his or her workers’ compensation claim is true. In other words, if you suffer hearing loss at work, the information that you put in your workers’ compensation claim will initially be viewed as a true statement of what happened.
The inquiry, however, does not end there. Section 20(a) presumption is a rebuttable presumption. That means that your employer, or your employer’s insurance carrier, can rebut (or refute) what you say in your workers’ compensation claim.
This type of inquiry into a workers’ compensation claim is called a burden-shifting inquiry. It follows through these steps:
1. You make a workers’ comp claim,
2. The burden shifts to your employer to rebut that claim (if it does not agree with the facts in your claim),
3. Then the burden shifts back to you to show that the employer’s response is not accurate.
Thus, you may need to gather proof of your hearing loss injury. That can begin with the medical records you obtained when you first went to the doctor for your hearing loss.
If all of these seem a little complicated, don’t worry. The smartest thing you can do is get an experienced hearing loss work injury attorney in Jacksonville to help you.
Call the Hearing Loss Work Injury Attorneys in Jacksonville At RITE Law To Help You.
At RITE Law, we started the firm for one reason – to help those in Florida and elsewhere have the resources of a firm that was “big enough to fight but small enough to care.” At Rudolph, Israel, Tucker & Ellis (RITE law), we have the resources and experience to go to trial when it is necessary, and we have the wisdom to advise you appropriately.
Without help from the hearing loss attorneys in Jacksonville on the RITE team, trying to make insurance claims can lead to a lot of frustration and time and money lost. When you turn to our firm, we spring into action, making sure every detail of your claim is addressed. We answer any questions you have and stand in your corner to give you the best opportunity to receive all the benefits you deserve.
Expect lots of attention, passionate representation, and a healthy disdain for big insurance companies. We believe that leads to the best result possible. Unlike larger firms, your case isn’t handed to a paralegal or assistant to do the heavy lifting. The attorney you meet initially is the one who will be by your side every step of the way.
We also take pride in creating an atmosphere where every client is treated like family. Family members stick up for one another no matter what. You should expect nothing less from the RITE Law maritime attorneys in Jacksonville.
Without help from the RITE team, making your own personal injury claims can be very difficult. When you turn to our firm, we spring into action, making sure that every detail of your claim is addressed. Call us for help. Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online. We provide a free case evaluation, so feel free to call us today.