Ohio workers who are working in industries where they are exposed to hazards such as excessive noise may want to make sure they have regular medical evaluations to keep as evidence if they ever need to pursue claims for compensation. Excessive noise can cause permanent disability, but proving that work environments caused the condition could be challenging. This is evident in a worker’s struggle to get compensation in another state.
The case involved a man who worked in a steel mill for 12 years until his retirement in 2012. He suffered deteriorated hearing and filed a workers’ compensation claim at the end of 2013. He claimed the excessive noise at his workplace caused his hearing loss. The worker said he only used hearing protection during his last five years at the company.
His employers challenged his claim and said a medical evaluation by an independent doctor showed that his hearing loss resulted from non-work-related causes. However, audiograms that were taken during medical evaluations throughout his years at the company indicated hearing loss that showed typical patterns of noise-induced damage. The claims administrator rejected the claim, and the worker appealed the denial. An appeals judge ultimately determined that the hearing loss was work-related and ordered compensation to be paid.
The employer appealed that ruling, but the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia affirmed the opinion of the previous judge. Ohio workers who are suffering a work-related permanent disability may benefit from having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to provide the necessary guidance and support. When claims are denied, an attorney can navigate the appeals process on behalf of the employee.
Source: safetynewsalert.com, “Was employee’s hearing loss caused by work or medical conditions?“, Fred Hosier, Dec. 8, 2016