Vision & Hearing Loss Attorneys in Wichita, Kansas
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 20,000 cases of workplace eye injuries occur every year, with a resulting cost of $300 million in time lost from work, medical treatment, and workers' compensation claims.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) further reports that 11 percent of Americans suffer from difficulty hearing, and one in four of those affected are caused by work-related exposures. In other words, both eye and ear problems can be not only affected by work conditions but in many cases even caused by workplace incidents and exposures.
If you’re suffering from job-related hearing or vision loss in or around Wichita, Kansas, or anywhere in the state, how certain can you be that your loss or injury will be covered by workers' compensation? Remember that in 2011, the Kansas Workers Compensation Act (KWCA) was enacted, making it more difficult to prove that an illness or injury suffered at work qualifies for benefits.
The workers' compensation attorneys at Wichita-based Slape & Howard have been fighting for changes to the KWCA ever since its enactment, which turned the odds in favor of employers and insurance companies in determining who gets workers' compensation benefits – and for how much and for how long.
If you or a loved one has suffered a hearing or vision loss due to a workplace condition, contact us immediately. We can help you file your claim with well-compiled medical justification, and if need be, help you mount any appeals over a denial or future reduction or cessation of your benefits.
Common Vision Loss
Problems and Their Causes
An eye injury refers to any injury to the eye or surrounding area, including tissue and bone. In addition to head injuries from slips and falls or being struck by an object, there are numerous workplace causes for eye injuries, including:
FOREIGN OBJECTS STRIKING OR SCRAPING THE EYE: These events generally happen where tools are being used or construction is taking place. Metal chips, splintered wood, grease, shards of glass, oil, and even dust can cause an injury. Worse is the penetration of the eye by nails or other flying objects, which can result in permanent loss of vision.
BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA: Being struck in the area of the eye by a flying object or another obstacle can result in bleeding inside the eye, retinal detachment, and bone injuries.
CHEMICALS OR THERMAL BURNS: The use of chemicals and even cleaning products, should they get into the eye, can cause burns and other injuries.
ULTRAVIOLET RAYS: Cancer and cataracts can result from ultraviolet rays from welding arcs, germicidal lamps, and lasers.
INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Health care workers and janitorial personnel are susceptible to exposure to substances, such as cleaning agents, blood splashes, and respiratory droplets generated during coughing, and even from contamination to their fingers, which they then rub against their eyes.
COMPUTER USAGE: Here the results may be more temporary, including migraine headaches, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness.
Problems & Their Causes
Hearing problems generally stem from two sources – chemicals and loud noises – in addition to any head trauma.
CHEMICALS: What are called ototoxic chemicals can cause hearing loss and render the ear more sensitive to noise. Ototoxic chemicals include solvents, metallic compounds, asphyxiants, and certain prescriptions. Approximately 10 million workers are exposed to solvents that can damage their hearing.
LOUD NOISE: When noise reaches 85 decibels, it is considered harmful. According to the CDC, roughly 22 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise each year.
Obtaining Workers Compensation Benefits
If you do suffer hearing or vision loss because of a condition or incident at work, your medical expenses should be covered by workers' compensation. If the condition is temporary and you lose three days or fewer from work, then the benefits will be temporary until the condition improves so you can return to work. If you miss more than three days, you may be entitled to pay replacement at two-thirds of your average weekly wage.
If you do suffer hearing or vision loss because of a condition or incident at work, your medical expenses should be covered by workers' compensation. If you miss more than seven days, you may be entitled to pay replacement at two-thirds of your average weekly wage. You may also be entitled to partial benefits if your injury limits your ability to work your regular full-time hours.
Hearing & Vision Loss Attorneys in Wichita, Kansas
If you or a loved one suffers a vision or hearing loss incident at your place of work in or around Wichita, or anywhere in the state, contact Slape & Howard immediately. Remember, the KWCA added administrative hurdles and reporting deadlines that can result in a claim being challenged or denied if you don’t move quickly and comprehensively enough. We have first-hand experience helping claimants navigate the system and then continue to fight for their rights as they recover or face permanent disability. Reach out to us immediately with your hearing or vision loss claim.