Claims on the rise

Industrial Deafness claims have been described as the ‘new whiplash’ by the insurance industry such has been the recent spike in hearing loss claims and the cost to insurers.

The insurance industry will say that this has been due to claims farming by unscrupulous plaintiff solicitors. They will argue that there has simply been an increased awareness by claimants of their legal rights in respect of their employment. In Northern Ireland thousands of claims have been taken against the security forces and those who worked in heavy industry.

At Millar McCall Wylie, we are in a unique position of having William McSorley, a specialist in the area to advise our clients. William has advised major insurers and government agencies in the defence of hearing loss claims and also works on behalf of a large number of claimants.

It is accepted in case law that after 1963, employers were aware that employees should not have been exposed to excessive noise without adequate hearing protection. Most employers have implemented effective health and safety measures in recent times. In the past those working in noisy environments were not protected from the damaging effects of noise and as a result many now suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus. Those who worked in a noisy environment with no hearing protection may have a claim for compensation. Even if this was a long time ago we can trace the relevant insurance company.

If you are an employer who has been notified of a new claim you may have defences to this claim or you will need advice on how you can limit your exposure. For any hearing loss claims advice contact William McSorley.