Wilkes Barre Hearing Loss Lawyer
Hearing loss is a tragic occupational injury that can occur to industrial and construction workers who constantly work amid high noise levels, or to any employee who suffers a head or ear injury. Unfortunately, obtaining workers’ compensation benefits for hearing loss is often a complex and complicated matter. Pennsylvania law (77 P.S. 513) sets out the level of wage loss and duration of benefits for different types of impairments, and by far the most confusing and complex section of this law deals with hearing loss.
The Figured Law Firm helps workers throughout eastern Pennsylvania who have been injured on the job recover the maximum in workers’ compensation benefits owed to them, including workers suffering hearing loss due to a work injury. Our workers’ comp attorney knows Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law inside and out, and we maintain close connections with an audiologist on staff specifically to deal with hearing loss issues in workers’ comp. If you’ve suffered hearing loss on the job and are concerned about getting the benefits and care you need, contact the Figured Law Firm for assistance.
How Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp Deals with Hearing Loss Issues
For permanent hearing loss or occupational hearing loss due to long-term exposure to hazardous occupational noise, the employee’s percentage of impairment is calculated using a binaural formula set out in the Impairment Guides. This impairment percentage is multiplied by 260 weeks to get the number of weeks that wage loss benefits will be paid. Wage loss benefits equal two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage prior to the injury.
If the hearing loss is not caused by long-term exposure at work but is instead medically established to be due to other occupational causes such as acoustic trauma or head injury, the formulas in the Impairment Guides are used to determine the percentage of impairment. This percentage is multiplied by 60 weeks for hearing loss in one ear or 260 weeks for hearing loss in both ears to determine the number of weeks of wage replacement.
No benefits are paid if the worker’s binaural hearing impairment is rated at 10% or less. However, if the impairment is rated at 75% or more, the worker is presumed to have suffered a total and complete impairment.
If an employee has previously received a workers’ comp award for hearing loss and suffers a work-related increase in impairment of more than 10%, additional compensation is available for the increased impairment, so long as the worker did not previously claim a total loss of hearing.
How Employers Try to Avoid Responsibility for Hearing Loss Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The employer is not responsible if it did not cause the impairment, and employers and their workers’ comp insurance carriers often question the source of the worker’s hearing loss. They may also question the hearing loss itself. According to Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law, hearing loss is established solely by audiogram, with audiometric testing conforming to OSHA standards. The law allows employers to require employees to undergo periodic audiometric testing.
Contact the Figured Law Firm for Help with Hearing Loss Workers’ Compensation Claims in Eastern Pennsylvania
If you have suffered hearing loss due to long-term exposure on the job, you must file a worker’s compensation claim within three years of the date of last exposure. For help pursuing a claim for benefits after a work-related hearing loss in eastern Pennsylvania, contact the Figured Law Firm to arrange a consultation with an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney who will take the time to explain your case and help you through every step of the claims process.