Work-Related Hearing & Vision Loss
Workplace Injury Attorneys Serving New York City
Workers in virtually every industry face risks of potential injuries and illnesses involving hearing and vision – whether they’re caused by serious and instantaneous trauma, or the result of cumulative exposure. In many cases, those impairments are irreversible.
At The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., we know injuries and occupational diseases involving the ears, eyes, and vital sensory functions like hearing and vision can alter the lives and livelihoods of victims and their families. Because these injuries can have invasive and life-long repercussions, obtaining needed benefits and compensation becomes crucial. Our award-winning attorneys have the experience to help workers and their families explore their legal options for recovering what they deserve.
The Impact of Work-Related Hearing and Vision Loss
According to the U.S. CDC, workers in all industries can suffer injuries that impair their hearing and vision. These injuries or illnesses may be temporary or permanent, and can range in severity. Their impact on workers is also typically permanent and profound, hindering a person’s ability to:
- Work and earn wages, either because they can’t perform the work they once did or because they’re severely limited in finding any gainful employment at all.
- Safely navigate jobsites, home-life, and their environment.
- Communicate clearly and effectively with others on and off the job.
- Maintain the same relationships and companionship with loved ones.
Handle simple tasks, household chores, and the demands of daily life.
- Maintain a sense of independence and self-reliance.
These and other limitations have real physical and financial consequences – workers may require expensive medical treatment, assistive devices, surgical procedures, and daily living assistance, or be at greater risk of suffering injuries which could have been avoided had they been able to see or hear. Many victims also experience troublesome emotional and psychological effects, from lost quality and enjoyment of life to feelings of disconnect, depression, isolation, and fear of the world around them.
Causes of Workplace Hearing & Vision Loss
Hearing Loss / Occupational Noise Exposure – Hearing loss and other conditions which impact a person’s ability to hear, such as tinnitus, are among the most common work-related illnesses. Those illnesses cause millions of dollars in lost productivity, workers’ compensation and personal injury payouts to victims, and penalties against businesses that failed to protect workers, in addition to the profound and often permanent changes victims’ must endure. In many cases, they are also preventable.
The most common causes of work-related hearing loss include:
- Noise Exposure – OSHA estimates over 22 million Americans are exposed to harmful noise on the job each year, which is why there are many regulations pertaining to reducing noise exposure, protecting workers with the use of appropriate safety equipment, and ensuring certain products or worksites are free from uncontrolled harmful sounds that can degrade a person’s ability to hear. Long-term, repetitive exposure to noise is one of the leading causes of hearing loss, but so are sudden, high-decibel sounds like those produce in sudden explosions, motor vehicle wrecks, and similar accidents. Construction, mining, and industrial occupations have the highest numbers of workers with work-related hearing impairment.
- Trauma – Traumatic injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and other immediate injuries arising from workplace accidents, cause many cases of hearing loss and hearing-related difficulties. Workers in many industries can face risks of these injuries, whether in construction accidents involving falling objects or incidents involving auto accidents, workplace violence and assaults, electrical shock, fires and explosions, and more.
- Chemical Exposure – Exposure to noise is not the only cause of work-related hearing loss. Harmful chemicals known as “ototoxic” chemicals can damage the inner ear and cause severe hearing impairment or total deafness. Ototoxic chemicals are often found in organic solvents, certain metals like lead or mercury, and toxic fumes or asphyxiants such as carbon monoxide. Victims with hearing loss caused by toxic exposure may be able to pursue certain claims.
Vision Loss / Eye Injuries – OSHA statistics show work-related eye injuries blind thousands of workers each year, severely limit their vision, and / or cause other health effects, such as difficulties with coordination and balance, migraines, fatigue, and nausea. As with hearing loss, vision loss can also be caused by sudden trauma and prolonged exposure to certain hazards. Examples include:
- Debris from wood, metals, glass, and other materials injuring a worker’s eyes.
- Machinery accidents involving debris or shrapnel which cause eye injuries.
- Trauma to the eye and other essential ocular structures caused by concussions or brain injuries sustained as a result of falls from heights, falling objects, and other incidents.
- Exposure to harmful substances and toxic chemicals, including liquids that may splash into a worker’s eye, or gases and fumes.
- Prolonged exposure to bright lights or computer screens.
- Explosions, fires, and burn injuries.
Recovering Compensation After a Work-Related Injury or Illness
Workers in New York may have options when it comes to seeking the resources and compensation they need to make ends meet, treat their conditions, and repair their lives. Those options depend heavily on the nature of the injury or illness, and its underlying cause. For example, workers with hearing or vision loss may have the ability to seek needed compensation through:
Workers’ compensation, which provides medical benefits, income supplementation, rehabilitation, and other benefits based on a worker’s disability rating and regardless of who was at fault for the injuries.
Personal injury lawsuits, which are civil claims that allow workers injured as a result of negligence, such as a negligent third party or contractor on a construction site that violated Labor Laws regarding eye and ear protection and other workplace safety regulations. Personal injury suits allow victims to recover their medical expenses and lost income / future earnings, as well as compensation for their pain and suffering, emotional injuries, and other non-economic damages not available under workers’ comp. As civil claims, personal injury lawsuits must require victims to prove fault and liability. They may also involve more specific areas of law, such as:
- Product liability, which may apply to manufacturers, distributors, or retailers, responsible for defectively designed, manufactured, or marketed products. This may include faulty safety equipment, machinery or tools, and other products used by workers.
- Toxic torts, which are claims concerning illnesses caused by exposure to harmful and toxic substances or chemicals.
- Premises liability, which covers the financial responsibility of property owners that failed to ensure the safety of their properties or worksites, often because they did not address potential hazards they knew or should have known about.
Questions About Your NYC Hearing or Vision Loss Claim? Call (212) 577-9325
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., has been recognized nationally for our work protecting the rights of victims who suffered injuries and illnesses on the job. If you have a potential case involving work-related hearing or vision loss anywhere in New York City or the state, we’re here to help you learn more about your rights and potential options. Request a free case review when you contact us.