Monday, July 20, 2015
Is Noise-induced Hearing Loss the New Whiplash?
According to the Telegraph last week the insurance sector is demanding tighter regulations for workers claiming compensation for noise-induced hearing loss, after the number of claims almost trebled in the past three years.
The Telegraph revealed that in excess of 70,000 people filed hearing claims last year surpassing the record levels seen in the 1990s, when the insurance industry agreed to pay out to certain industrial workers. Since then, health and safety rules have curtailed dangerous levels of workplace noise, yet claims have soared in recent years, the ABI said, adding that 70pc of noise-induced hearing losses claims were unsuccessful.
Recent reforms introduced in 2013 capped the fees that personal injury lawyers could charge when pursuing road traffic accident claims. Insurers have complained that whiplash compensation claims continue to put pressure on their costs, which make up about half of the claim expenses for car cover.
Aviva recently pointed out that for every £1 it was paying out in successfull noise-induced hearing loss claims, it was paying £5 in legal fees.
However, specialists involved in pursuing such cases dispute that personal injury lawyers have simply jumped from chasing fees in whiplash cases to noise claims.
“It’s important to remember that deafness is a disability with a significant impact on the ability to communicate,” said Bridget Collier, a solicitor who sits on the executive board of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. “These claims only succeed when negligence is proven. It’s far from straightforward to win them. It’s not an area that you can just dabble in.”