Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work related illnesses for transit workers. Yet it is also one of the least reported and least filed claims under Workers Compensation.
The key to filing a claim is awareness.
The New York Workers’ Compensation Law compensates workers for permanent loss of hearing in the normal conversational range of 500 to 3000 hertz. Awards are based on a percentage of hearing loss in both ears for occupational claims that develop over time.
As we get older, most of us experience some hearing loss. Usually such loss is determined to be caused solely by “old age” alone without further inquiry. The Workers’ Compensation system uses a formula to determine loss of hearing caused solely by noise exposure on the job and subtracts hearing loss due to age.
What is the claim worth?
Under the Workers Compensation Law, cash awards are made for permanent loss of hearing. The value of the award is based upon the severity of the hearing ·loss. Each percentage point of loss equals 1.5 weeks of compensation. The weekly rate of compensation is equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wage as of the date of your disablement. For more information on the weekly rate on compensation.
When can I make a claim?
You can make a claim for hearing loss only when you stop working around noise, or retire, or otherwise are removed from a noisy environment for at least 90 days. You can also file a claim if you still work around noise but only if you protect yourself from noise exposure for at least 90 days.
As you know, in work environments where there is constant noise, it is difficult, if not impossible, to wear proper ear protection all of the time. Unless you can prove adequate noise protection while still working, it may be more realistic to wait until you retire or move to a new job where there is no noise exposure before filing a claim.
Are there time limits to file?
Yes. as a general rule, before you can file a claim, you must have been away from noise for 90 days for any reason, such as retirement, illness, or transfer to a quiet job or protecting yourself from noise exposure.
You then, have an additional 2 years from the end of the 90-day noise free period in which to file a claim.
There is also another way to file a claim if you cannot meet the law’s time requirements. You can file a claim at any time even years after you last worked. If a recent ear examination or test reveals a hearing loss due to work that you did, not previously known about you then, must file a claim within 90 days from when you knew or should have known that you had an occupational loss of hearing. This is the usual way retirees file new claims. However, if you have been treated in the past for hearing loss or have had audiograms as part of employment physicals that revealed a loss of hearing in the past, it may be difficult to overcome the defense that you previously “knew or should have known” that you had an occupational loss of hearing.”
SEE HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON FILING A CLAIM FOR HEARING LOSS COMPILED BY THE RETIREES ASSOCIATION’S PREFERRED DEARIE LAW FIRM.