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former employee can appeal compensation claim for work-related hearing loss

1 June 2012

Practitioners are reminded following the limitation decision in the case of Joseph Johnson that the test as to whether a claim is statute barred as a result of a claimants early date of knowledge is two-fold.

Johnson alleges exposure to excessive noise whilst working for automotive manufacturer Hobourn Eaton and later the Ministry of Defence (MoD) subsequently resulted in hearing loss.
The claimant was exposed to excessive noise in the mid-late 1970’s but did not litigate his claim until 2010. Under the 1st test he was aware that he had a significant hearing loss in 2006. However the Court of Appeal found that he did not realise until 2009 that his loss was caused by exposure to noise. Prior to that he had put the loss down to ageing and as a consequence the 2nd test, that of attributability, was not met.

The decision may be affected by the MoDs admission of liability, such that the need to show that a fair trial of issues did not arise.

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