Our ears allow us to take in music, enjoy movies and converse with one another with ease, and we don’t often pay much attention to our hearing ability until something is wrong. Unfortunately, roughly 22 million people come in contact with damaging sounds levels each year on the job, and for many that leads to temporary or permanent hearing damage. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at work-related hearing loss claims and how Minnesota handles these payouts.
Hearing Loss Claims In Minnesota
Countless employees across a bevy of industries are exposed to dangerous and damaging levels of noise each year. Whether you’re working construction with heavy and loud equipment, running a metal fabrication shop or you’re a trucker exposed to the rumble of the vehicle and high speed winds from your window, a lot of workers can be subjected to auditory damage on the job. Sometimes this damage is evident right away as a result of significant noise exposure, while others don’t notice this damage until years later. It’s important to remember that no matter when hearing loss is noticed, if you can reasonably trace it back to your employment, you may be able to collect compensation.
If you believe that your hearing loss was caused by your job duties, one of the first things you’ll want to do is contact a workers’ compensation lawyer. As we mentioned above, a lot of hearing loss cases stem from incidents much earlier in a person’s career, and you need a professional to help prove that your job duties and your hearing loss are linked. We know the best ways to connect the two and how to build a strong case that makes the connection clear.
It’s also important that you seek out an official diagnosis from a medical professional. Not only will your hearing loss need to be specifically documented, but your doctor can also speak to the likelihood of your work duties contributing to the damage. Your lawyer may be able to determine the noise levels you were regularly exposed to and allow the doctor to use their medical background to explain how these sound levels could have affected your hearing over the years. Your doctor will also determine the extent of your hearing loss and provide you with a disability rating.
If the hearing loss is temporary, you may be able to pursue temporary partial disability benefits. Your lawyer can help you collect these TPD benefits as well, but oftentimes hearing loss is permanent. Even if you’re not totally deaf, if you’ve experienced partial hearing loss and this does not get better after three months, you’ll be able to pursue permanent partial disability benefits.
If you are considering filing for PPD benefits for hearing loss, your medical professional will provide you with what’s known as a disability rating. This is a rating of the percent of your body that has been disabled because of the injury. As it stands in Minnesota, hearing loss disability is capped at 35 percent, meaning that if your work injury renders you essentially deaf, you’ll be given a 35 percent disability rating. If you still have some hearing, your rating will fall between 0-35 percent.
Once you have your disability rating, your payout will be based on Minnesota’s Impairment Rating Chart. You can take a closer look at potential payouts by checking out the rating chart, but we’ll provide some examples below. In the event you have a 35 percent disability rating, your payout will be 0.35 x 115,500, or $42,425. If you have a 10 percent disability rating, your payout will be 0.10 x $84,000, or $8,400.
These payouts are likely smaller than you would expect for something as crucial as your hearing, and while you may be able to collect other benefits like wage loss, it’s imperative that you collect what you’re owed if you suffer hearing loss on the job. So if you are exposed to extreme levels of sound and have some hearing problems, or your hearing has become an issue recently and you suspect that old work conditions may be to blame, sync up with an injury lawyer firm and collect what’s owed to you. For more information, or to see if you might have a case, reach out to the team at Hey Workers today at (844) 439-9675.