Advocating for Victims of Debilitating Injuries
After an accident, we often check to see if we have any broken bones, joint pain, deep cuts, or mobility issues. While all of these issues should be reviewed with a doctor, an extremely common injury is often overlooked: hearing loss. We all expect to lose our hearing over time, especially with the popularity of headphones and earbuds, but a sudden drop in your hearing abilities after a collision is cause for concern. In addition, accident victims often suffer from ringing in the ears, balancing issues, and chronic pain in the ears, which can seriously impact your day-to-day life.
If you suffered hearing loss or an ear injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, reach out to the Tenge Law Firm, LLC. We can review the circumstances surrounding your accident, determine fault, collect witness statements, speak with your doctor about your injuries, and advocate for compensation from the person or group responsible for your injuries. Speak to an experienced Boulder hearing loss attorney in a free consultation by calling our firm at (303) 665-2929.
How Auto Accidents Cause Hearing Loss
Hearing and responding to sounds may seem second-nature to you, but it is a very intricate process. It is not as simple as sound passing into our ears and becoming information. In fact, our ears are made up of several unique parts that allow us to hear, ranging from the shape of our ear canals to the middle ear bones to thin hair-like cells called cilia. However, as complicated as our ears are, they can also be damaged in simple ways.
Our ears are designed to process sound at optimal levels, meaning that low sounds are hard to understand and loud ones can cause pain, headaches, and discomfort. Sadly, loud sounds are incredibly common in auto accidents. Even if you are relatively uninjured in a collision, the sound of an airbag deploying right next to your ears can be extremely loud. This sound, coupled with the explosive like sounds of two or more vehicles colliding with each other, can cause severe trauma throughout your ears. This trauma is even more common with accidents involving larger vehicles, such as a collision with a truck.
One of the most debilitating risks in an auto accident of any size is a brain injury. Our brains are extremely complex and sensitive to trauma. If damaged, even a seemingly mild injury can impair our ability to hear. In these situations, the ear itself may be relatively intact, but the brain may have issues processing sound and auditory information. Brain injuries are often the result of an accident victim banging their head against a car door, window, or steering column in a collision. Even pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists can suffer moderate to severe brain damage in a low-speed collision, especially if their heads strike the pavement.
But even something as simple as a broken bone in the jaw, face, or side of the skull can actually puncture the eardrum. There are also three bones within the middle ear called the incus, malleus, and stapes. If these bones are fractured, they could cause severe damage to your hearing. Without immediate medical intervention and surgery, an injury like this can lead to permanent deafness.
At the end of the day, hearing loss is a serious danger in auto accidents. While we expect to lose a bit of our hearing over time, catastrophic injuries and violent collisions can speed up that process and result in a devastating disability.
Identifying Hearing Loss
Hearing damage can take many forms and may not be obvious to you after a collision. You are likely dealing with more pressing injuries, such as a concussion, spinal cord injury, or whiplash, that you may cause you to dismiss your hearing loss. You just went through a loud, very traumatic experience, so you may assume your hearing loss is temporary. However, if your condition lingers, you should speak to a doctor immediately.
Symptoms of hearing damage that you should look out for after a collision include:
- Inability to hear sounds at normal levels
- Voices or sounds sounding muffled
- Inability to hear high-pitched sounds like doorbells
- Sensitivity to certain sounds
- Having to ask someone to speak louder or slower
- Vertigo or mild to intense dizziness
- Chronic pain in or around your ear
- Ringing in your ear
Ringing in your ear, or tinnitus, is a common type of ear injury after an accident. Prolonged exposure to loud noises, such as at a concert, can cause temporary ringing in the ear. Generally, our ears can heal naturally from tinnitus. However, it can be a permanent injury if the damage is extensive. Even a single pop of an airbag can cause severe trauma to your ears, leading to permanent tinnitus. This means you could be stuck with a constant ringing in your ears just because of a single accident.
How to Prove Hearing Loss in a Claim
Hearing loss is a difficult condition to contend with following a collision. It is not as obvious as a broken bone or paralysis, meaning insurance providers are quick to dismiss it as an “invisible injury” in the same way that they devalue soft tissue injuries. Accident victims are often discouraged from filing claims for hearing loss because of how difficult it is to prove, forcing them to suffer through their conditions with little financial support.
However, we at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC are here to tell you that you should never dismiss your own injuries after an accident, especially if someone else caused them. Other drivers have a responsibility to keep you safe and avoid causing serious crashes. If a driver commits some form of negligence and causes your injuries, their insurance provider is legally required to provide compensation for all of your injuries, whether they are “invisible” or not. While it is difficult to prove hearing loss in a claim, it is not impossible if you work with an experienced attorney with excellent case results.
Proving hearing loss in an accident claim requires a combination of medical records and witness testimonies. Your attorney will need to work with your doctor so that they can clearly explain how severe your hearing loss is and why the accident caused it. This will all depend on your specific injury. A traumatic brain injury that leads to hearing loss may be supported through MRIs or CT-scans, as well as hearing tests. If your injury was caused by a facial fracture or inner ear bone break, then any surgery to repair the damage may support your claim.
For conditions that are not as obvious, such as tinnitus and vertigo, your attorney may need to speak with family members, close friends, and coworkers. They can all provide credible statements about your ability to hear prior to your accident and how you have a more difficult time hearing them after the accident. If you did not regularly expose yourself to loud noises, such as frequently listening to loud music or working with loud equipment, then these statements may show that your hearing loss was sudden and not gradual. These statements, in conjunction with a tinnitus diagnosis shortly after your accident, can provide a clear description of how the accident caused your injuries. Once that link is established, your attorney can vigorously advocate for compensation under the other driver’s insurance policy.
Dedicated Legal Representation When You Need It Most
Hearing loss cases are complex, requiring a thorough understanding of the medical, financial, and legal aspects of a claim. Your attorney will need to work closely with your doctor to explain your injuries and properly calculate how your injury has affected you. Hearing loss can impact everything from your personal life by limiting your ability to interact with others to the way you perform your job. If you need hearing devices or have to learn ASL, these costs should be included in your claim.
But do get the compensation you need after a collision, your Boulder personal injury attorney must be willing to hold the at-fault insurance provider to their policy. This means thoroughly collecting evidence, reviewing insurance policies, speaking to witnesses, and staunchly advocating on your behalf in a settlement negotiation or jury trial. To get just that kind of dedicated and experienced legal aid, you should not hesitate to contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC. With over 25 years of experience and excellent case results, our lead attorney can provide the thorough legal guidance you need after an accident. To get started on your claim, call our office at (303) 665-2929 and schedule a free consultation.