Whether it was an unforeseen accident that resulted in vision loss or consistent exposure to loud noises that resulted in a loss of hearing, your life and your ability to earn an income have been changed by an injury that occurred at the workplace. Workers’ compensation benefits could be available to help you as you make adjustments to your life without your vision or your hearing.
However, as is the case with the majority of insurance benefits, you will need to know what benefits you could receive pursuant to Minnesota law. You will also need to know what steps you can take to protect your rights and receive the benefits you deserve.
Vision loss is a specific loss claim, and this claim will pay scheduled benefits based on a portion of your weekly wages. Specific loss will be paid in addition to your regular wages or disability payments. Benefits can be awarded for:
- Blindness or the loss of an eye
- Legal blindness
In Minnesota, Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits can be paid up to 225 to 275 weeks. Individuals with permanent disabilities can receive benefits until he or she reaches retirement age. In the past, the retirement age was 67, but now the age is 72. The causes of blindness and loss of vision have to be work-related.
Ear Loss/Hearing Loss
Hearing damage and complete loss of hearing are also specific loss claims. However, hearing damage can also be caused by years of exposure to loud sounds. Workers’ compensation coverage for hearing loss is covered by the permanent partial disability schedule. Hearing loss can also lead to wage loss as noted above.
Benefits for Vision and Hearing Losses
If you suffer a vision or hearing related injury and lose wages from it, it is possible you could receive two-thirds of your regular weekly wages up to the highest amount allowed by Minnesota law.
In addition, you may be awarded additional benefits for permanent functional loss of use. Unfortunately, the benefits you will need after the injury will not be awarded to you instantly. Your doctor will need to provide a Permanent Partial Disability rating. Oftentimes, the work compensation insurer will hire their own doctors to provide ratings and other opinions. For workers’ compensation insurers, they will set out to get you to agree to a small settlement.
Work Environments That Could Put Workers at Risk
There are several industries that have jobs that could put individuals at a higher risk of suffering blindness, vision, or hearing loss, including the following:
Factory Settings: In the majority of factories, workers will be surrounded by a variety of noises that are louder than endurable ranges for human hearing. If workers in a factory setting do not receive the right amount of protection or the proper protection to protect their hearing, their ears could become damaged.
Chemical Work Environments: Individuals who are employed in workplaces that require them to handle dangerous chemicals could suffer permanent or temporary vision damage if the chemicals land in their eyes. Some individuals can also suffer neurological damage due to the constant exposure to chemicals.
Welding: Welders are given protective equipment that should be used to protect their faces and other body parts, but what can happen if the protective equipment they are given is not good enough? If the equipment is not adequate to provide the protection individuals need, one could suffer significant vision loss.
Fighting for Your Rights
The injuries that happened to you may seem elementary. Maybe debris landed in one or both of your eyes while you were working, or maybe chemicals accidentally splashed in your eyes. Perhaps the repeated loud noises you were around on a daily basis resulted in hearing damage or a complete loss of hearing.
You are aware of what happened, your co-workers know what happened, and your employer knows what happened. The insurance company will be made aware of what happened, but they will try their best to get you to agree to amount that is less than what you are owed.
It is important to consult with a workers’ compensation law team that knows how to negotiate with insurance companies. You will need the help of a law team that knows how to protect the rights of injured workers. At Harvey & Carpenter, Attorneys at Law, we work with our clients to make sure the deadlines are met and that the application is completed in its entirety.
Every year, millions of employees suffer work-related injuries. Thousands of individuals suffer from vision and hearing injuries that will result in permanent damage. An industrial accident that involves an eye injury can certainly be devastating, especially when there are long-lasting effects. Eye damage is not easy to repair, even in the best of circumstances.
Some individuals suffer hearing damage from head injuries, explosions, and other traumatic events, and others suffer hearing and vision damages from the progressive effects of workplace sounds. In a matter of seconds, a serious injury that takes place at work can put an end to a career you loved.
If you have experienced a work-related injury to your vision or hearing, you can talk with one of our experienced lawyers. Call (507)-779-7529 or (507)-779-7202 (espanol) for a free consultation. We have over 50 years worth of experience helping people just like you protect their rights and their livelihood.
We will advocate for you ensure you receive the benefits you are eligible for throughout the entire process, and we will also advocate for you to ensure you receive any rehabilitation, vocational, and medical benefits you need to help you move forward.
At Harvey & Carpenter, our team has a broad knowledge of the law, including what benefits you are eligible for if you suffer vision and/or hearing damages while working. If you are ready to discuss your rights under workers’ compensations laws in Minnesota, call us today or request a consultation online.