industrial deafness claim time limit

Industrial Deafness Claim Time Limit: How Long To Make A Compensation Claim For Hearing Loss

The time limit to make an industrial deafness claim cannot be overlooked – delay too long and you will not be able to make a claim. Other important factors include – how long ago your noise exposure at work took place, the type of industry you worked in and the noise levels you were exposed to.

How long ago did your exposure to excessive noise at work occur?

How far back your exposure to noise at work can go before it is too late to make an industrial deafness claim depends on a few factors.

When was it first known by employers that loud noise could cause hearing damage?

Your exposure to noise at work claims can only go back to when it was first known by employers that excessive noise at work could cause hearing damage to workers.

Noise exposure from 1963

The date generally recognised is 1963. Exposure to excessive noise prior to 1963 cannot give rise to a claim for industrial deafness compensation, but exposure to excessive noise after 1963 could give rise to compensation depending on the type of industry in which you worked.

Mines, steelworks, weaving / spinning and heavy engineering

If you worked in the mining industry (coal miners or other form of miners – both underground and surface workers); in a steelworks factory (using for example grinding machines); in a weaving or spinning factory (operating weaving and spinning machines) or in heavy engineering (engineering of cars, generators, etc.) – it is likely you could make a successful claim for noise induced hearing loss.

Other loud employment – building sites and HGV drivers

Industrial deafness claims can be made for excessive noise exposure from 1970 in other types of employ, such as: building site workers and HGV drivers.

What are the noise levels that allow an industrial deafness claim to be made?

Presumed knowledge of noise levels changed over the years

The presumed knowledge by employers of the noise levels that can cause you hearing damage has changed as time has gone by.

90 Decibels down to 80 Decibels

From 1963 the requisite noise level believed to cause industrial deafness was 90DB (90 Decibels) or above; from 1990 – 2005 the requisite noise levels dropped to 85DB and from 2005 the noise level threshold fell still further to 80DB.

What is the time limit to make an industrial deafness claim?

If you were exposed to excessive noise in the requisite time periods – there exists a statutory limitation period to make a claim.

Three years to make a claim

For personal injury and industrial deafness generally – you have three years to commence a claim for compensation at court from the date that your employer’s negligent noise exposure caused you injury (technically the date your cause of action accrued) or the date of knowledge of injury.

Date of knowledge of injury

Typically – if you are suffering from noise induced hearing loss, you will not realize until many years later by which time you may associate hearing loss symptoms with old age.

Reasonable knowledge of hearing loss from noise exposure

The three years therefore starts to run from the date it could be presumed that a reasonable man (or woman) would have knowledge that hearing problems related to noise exposure from a past or present employer.

Watch out – the reasonable man’s knowledge is a stricter test than your actual knowledge. In other words – you may not have actually known you had hearing loss from noise exposure, but it could still be presumed that you should have had knowledge.

Earliest and latest dates of knowledge

Knowledge can be as early as when you first started to experience symptoms.

The latest date for knowledge is typically when you sort medical assistance and were referred by your GP for a hearing test. The hearing test results would show hearing loss form noise and that from age.

Be aware – it is becoming less and less common that the last date for commencement of the three year time period for your noise induced hearing loss / industrial deafness claim, is the date you sought medical treatment or you had your hearing test. In more recent times – knowledge is construed as being earlier than this date

hearing test audiogram
Hearing Test Audiogram

Hearing test audiogram

The results of the hearing test are plotted out in a diagram, known as an audiogram. See our noise induced hearing loss audiogram article for more details.

Claim is statute barred

When the three year period expires – your claim is known as being statute barred.

In other works – the Statute Of Limitations Act 1980 (UK law setting out time limits to commence a claim) has barred you from commencing your claim.

Exceptions to the usual three year period

We have described some of the exceptions to the usual interpretation of the three year limitation period in another of our articles.

What should you do if you suspect you are suffering from noise induced hearing loss?

You will need to speak to a specialist industrial deafness and noise induced hearing loss solicitor to help determine whether you are within the correct time limit to claim compensation for your hearing loss from exposure to excessive noise at work.

Summary Of Time Period To Claim For Industrial Deafness

In this article – we have set out how long ago you can have been exposed to noise at work to still have a valid industrial deafness claim; the changing noise levels that your employer must have protected you from throughout the years; how the statutory time period of date of knowledge of noise induced hearing loss is calculated; what to do if you suspect you have damaged hearing from exposure to excessive noise – with access to a free online specialist solicitor help facility.

Finding an experienced specialist industrial deafness solicitor can be difficult and finding one you can speak to free of charge about your noise exposure and potential noise induced hearing loss claim even more so.

We offer a number of free legal help options. You can phone our solicitors direct (or arrange a callback at a convenient time), have your potential claim assessed online, ask a question.