Not all dangers in the workplace are obvious. Sometimes dangers like loud noises may pose the greatest risk of harm to our health. This type of harm may occur gradually, taking the form of hearing loss, so that we do not fully become aware of the risk until it is too late.
Whether caused by loud machinery, power tools, or sounds at high decibels, hearing loss is a common workplace injury in Boston and one that can have a lasting negative impact. If you are suffering from a loss of auditory function due to the conditions of your job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
The process of obtaining workers’ compensation is not always easy since insurers frequently deny these types of claims. As such, a dedicated attorney could help you file a claim or appeal a denial so that you can obtain the benefits you deserve. A Boston hearing loss lawyer could help you gather and present the facts of your case within the framework of state laws.
Overview of Workers’ Compensation in Boston
Massachusetts lawmakers established the workers’ compensation system to protect employees who suffer on-the-job injuries or illnesses related to work. Laws require all employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance for all employees to pay for their medical treatment and provide compensation for wages lost while unable to work.
Workers’ compensation law is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA). The workers’ compensation scheme is a no-fault system, so it is not necessary for an employee to argue that the injury was caused by negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the employer. The fact that an injury or illness was caused by conditions in the workplace is sufficient to entitle the employee to benefits.
While this rule should make the claims process relatively simple, there are often obstacles to obtaining benefits when insurers deny claims so that workers must file appeals to obtain benefits.
Filing a Claim for Hearing Loss
In most workers’ compensation cases, employees are advised to report the incident to their employer right away and seek prompt medical attention. In the case of hearing loss and other conditions that develop over time, the timeframe for reporting and seeking medical attention for an injury is not as clear-cut.
Generally, a worker should seek medical attention for the problem when it is known and keep records of all test results. He or she should report the condition to the employer and it is the employer’s job to then file a workers’ compensation claim with the insurance company. An attorney in Boston who is familiar with workers’ comp hearing loss cases can provide clarity on this matter if a worker is uncertain about their situation.
If the employer refuses to file a claim or the insurance company denies the claim, the worker’s next step is to file a Form 110 Employee Claim with the DIA and the insurer. Documentation in the form of medical bills, doctor’s reports, and witness statements should be attached to the claim form.
Hearing Loss is Caused by Multiple Factors
Insurers frequently deny claims because they believe the employee is suffering from a pre-existing condition. This can be especially true for hearing loss claims because hearing loss is often caused by a combination of factors.
Fortunately, state laws require employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits in situations where the working environment combines with or aggravates a pre-existing condition if it results in the need for substantial medical care. According to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 152, §1(7A), workplace conditions or a workplace accident must be a major cause of the hearing loss, but it need not be the only cause for a worker to obtain compensation. Get in touch with a Boston hearing loss lawyer for more details on how to recoupe compensation.
Consult a Boston Attorney Who Understands Hearing Loss Claims
Claims for hearing loss may differ from other types of workers’ compensation claims because there is often no single incident causing the injury. Since these claims can be more difficult to prove, employees may find it helpful to work with a Boston hearing loss lawyer right from the start of the claims process.
If you are suffering from a loss of hearing due to work conditions, schedule a free consultation to learn about your rights as a worker under the law and how you can pursue the benefits you need.