Payouts on claims made by miners for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) are rising steeply, according to the government.
Litigation Futures has reported that a Freedom of Information request has found that the Department of Energy & Climate Change has seen £3m paid out for 1,393 claims during the 2013/14 financial year. It has also revealed that £961,005 was paid out on 435 claims over the first four months of the 2014/15.
In 2012/2013, £2.2m was paid out on 953 claims and £827,065 on 366 claims the year before that. It also said that the number of claims received fell by 12% between 2012/13 and 2013/14.
The numbers follow on from comments made in September by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) when James Dalton, the ABI’s head of motor and liability, said that industrial deafness claims were fast becoming the new cash cow for claimant lawyers.
“With lawyers typically pocketing three times the amount of compensation paid to the claimant, the rise in industrial deafness claims shows that claimant lawyers are keeping the compensation culture alive and well,” he said.
Responding to criticism from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) on the rise in NIHL claims,
APIL executive committee member Bridget Collier said that insurers had to think about reasonable answers to why claims have increased.
“Insurers say that three years ago the number of fraudulent noise-induced hearing loss investigations was less than half the number it is now,” she said on a blog on APIL’s website.
“The fact is, in the last three years more information about the right to claim for hearing loss has become widely available,” she wrote.
“I myself am driven mad listening to the radio advertisements and on social media that tell me what the symptoms are and that there might be a claim. But all this amounts to education. Without it, you might just carry on thinking that deafness is something that’s crept up and you cannot do anything about it. But on learning that it might be someone’s fault and not an unfortunate consequence of age, of course it’s fair to make enquiries.”
“Fraud is intolerable to all. But the insurers’ accusations make us wonder if they are simply trying to avoid paying out by shaming people out of claiming, as they know full well that the tests can prove their case.”