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In my opinion, Deafness is Not "The New Whiplash"

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I was actually approached by the writer, Alistair Gray to discuss his proposed article. I did not agree with his account, hence why I may not be quoted in the article!

The article discusses whether deafness has become "the new whiplash" following complaints from insurance groups of a rise in claims from employees seeking compensation for hearing problems arising from noisy workplaces.  Insurers are apparently alleging that many of the new claims are spurious and are linking them to injuries supposedly sustained in car accidents.

I disagree and can confirm from experience that claims for Noise Induced Hearing Loss are incredibly hard to succeed on, not less for the causation issues.   There are numerous hurdles to overcome before a claim is even submitted to the insurers.  You need to obtain the work history from the Inland Revenue to ensure an employer can be identified, then you have the issue of establishing whether they are still an active company.  Don't even get me started on reinstating a company to the company register! You need to obtain medical notes and records and check for any entries of concern and take a detailed statement from the client dealing with exposure and date of knowledge.

Finally, when you think you are almost there and able to establish a strong case you need a medical report from an ENT Consultant to establish causation and believe this is where a vast majority of cases fail.  Identifying and diagnosing noise induced hearing loss is a fine art and one that ENT Consultants take very seriously.  The calculations involved mean they have to be certain of their diagnosis so as not to leave themselves open to criticism from the Defendant. These claims are not brought lightly and the work involved in being in a position to bring a claim is tremendous.

I certainly take issue that many of the claims are spurious and my reaction to Mr Gray on being asked as such was the very professional "you are having a laugh"!!! 

Karen Thompson

Legal Executive - Personal Injury team 

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