Posted: January 20th, 2012
A former BT worker´s hearing injury claim has been heard at Cardiff County Court after BT disputed whether their former employee should be entitled to a private hearing aid.
The claimant, identified only as Mr Dew, had worked for BT from 1981 until 2010 as an engineer and jointer, and alleged in his compensation claim for BT worker´s hearing injury that his need to wear a hearing aid had been brought forward by fifteen years due to being exposed to high-pitched tones while tracing, testing and installing BT telephone lines during his employment.
The former BT worker explained to Cardiff County Court that he had used an NHS issued hearing aid since December 2009 but found that it screeched whenever he placed his hand close to his ear. As it was necessary from time to time to manually alter the settings on the hearing aid, the high-pitched screech happened frequently and caused him discomfort and embarrassment.
Testimony given by a hearing expert on behalf of the claimant informed the court that former BT worker would be able to avoid his hearing aid problems if he were to use a privately purchased hearing aid with Bluetooth technology, which cost 2,395 pounds and had a life expectancy of five years. BT disputed this claim based on historical evidence of previous BT worker´s hearing injury claims the company has faced.
In August 2010 – in Watkins v British Telecommunications – BT had acknowledged that the green and unmodified yellow testing sets supplied in the past to telephone engineers presented a risk of injury and was a breach in their duty of care. This admission led to many loss of hearing compensation claims by former BT workers.
However, whereas subsequent BT worker´s hearing injury compensation claims were settled out of court, BT argued that the claimant in this case did not require a privately purchased hearing aid as an NHS supplied hearing aid should be adequate for his loss of hearing condition.
The judge at Cardiff County Court determined that the sum claimed by the former BT worker for his hearing injury was appropriate in the circumstances and – allowing for inflation, service charges, warranty charges and batteries – added 11,422 pounds special damages to the claimant´s general compensation for BT worker´s hearing injury of 7,950 pounds.
Categories: Industrial Worker Injury Solicitor