Issue: November 2016
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Hear No Evil? Liability for Hearing Disorder or Hearing Loss Injuries

Introduction

Hearing Disorder or Loss Liability Risks

Almost 50 million people in the U.S., including one in five teenagers, suffer from hearing loss, and the number is growing at an alarming rate. Noise exposure, aging, heredity, and illness are among the factors that most commonly lead to hearing loss.

 

Societal costs for persons affected by a hearing disorder or a hearing loss run into the billions of dollars.

 

Hearing disorders and hearing loss can lead to litigation, often involving claims for medical malpractice. Other types of litigation, including claims against employers for workers compensation or claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act, also frequently arise. Large awards and settlements in litigation related to hearing disorders or hearing loss have resulted.

 

Attorneys, physicians, insurers, employers, and other potential parties to litigation should be aware of the types of lawsuits and other liability issues that may arise in connection with injuries related to hearing disorders or hearing loss.


The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy

Attorneys:

What proof is needed to recover damages in an action for malpractice related to a hearing disorder or hearing loss? And, what is a potential strategy for the attorney to employ?

Physicians:

How can liability for medical malpractice be avoided for an injury related to a hearing disorder or hearing loss? And, what is a potential strategy for the physician to employ?

Insurers:

Can a payout under a medical malpractice liability policy be avoided by proof that the health provider was not negligent or there was no coverage for the patient’s injury related to a hearing disorder or hearing loss? And, what is a potential strategy for the insurer to employ? 

Employers:

Can an employer be subject to liability for an employee’s hearing disorder or hearing loss injury? And, what is a potential strategy for the employer to use?


Practice the Technique: Checklists

Attorneys:

Check this list of facts and circumstances tending to show a provider’s liability for malpractice or negligence involving a hearing disorder or loss.

Physicians:

Presented is a checklist of items a physician must consider when defending against claims of malpractice or negligence involving a hearing disorder or loss.

Insurers:

The insurer should check these “red flags” and inconsistencies when investigating a claim of injury involving a hearing disorder or loss.

Employers:

Use this checklist to determine if the employee’s hearing disorder or loss is “work related” and occurred “in the course of the employment.”

Expert Analysis

What Part Does Genetics Play in Hearing Loss?

Lawrence R. Lustig, MD

What Evidence Is Needed To Prove Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?

Robert A. Dobie, MD

What Is Auditory Processing Disorder and How Is APD Treated?

Laurie Hanin, PhD, CCC-A

What Accommodations Help Deaf or Hard of Hearing Health Care Employees Continue Working?

Howard A. Rosenblum, JD

Litigation

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Arbitration or mediation may be required by contract or statute, may be mandated by the court or, in some circumstances, may be the appropriate method for a negotiated resolution.


Reasons To Reach Settlement

The following are reasons why the attorney, physician, insurer, or employer would want to reach settlement, and not take the action to trial.


Reasons To Go To Trial

The following are reasons why the attorney, physician, insurer, or employer would want to take the action to trial.


Jury Awards and Settlements

How much have juries awarded and what settlements have been reached recently in cases involving hearing loss and hearing disorders?



Medical Examples

Hearing Disorders and Loss

This section provides a overview of hearing disorders and loss, detailed medical information on hearing disorders, the types of hearing loss, causes of hearing loss, hearing loss symptoms, and diagnosis and treatment. The section also covers the patient’s prognosis and ability to work.



Law and Medicine Resources

Law and Medicine Resources

Provided is a listing of law and medical resources for further information on hearing disorders and hearing loss.  


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Hear No Evil? Liability for Hearing Disorder or Hearing Loss Injuries

Table of Contents
Introduction

Expert Analysis
   Lawrence R. Lustig, MD
   Robert A. Dobie, MD
   Laurie Hanin, PhD, CCC-A
   Howard A. Rosenblum, JD

The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy
   Attorneys
   Physicians and Health Providers
   Insurers
   Employers and Risk Managers

Practice the Technique: Checklists
   Attorney Checklist
   Physician Checklist
   Insurer Checklist
   Employer Checklist

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Reasons To Reach Settlement

Reasons To Go To Trial

Jury Awards and Settlements

Hearing Disorders and Loss

Law and Medicine Resources