Employees with industrial deafness from noisy work conditions can access workers' compensation for their hearing loss, but for self-employed individuals, there are some conditions they must first satisfy.
Can I claim for industrial deafness if I am self-employed?
If you are self-employed, in order to make a claim for workers' compensation, you must be considered a'worker' under the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act.
To be considered a worker, there must be an employer and employee relationship, therefore some employment types such as sole traders, sub-contractors, and partnerships are not covered.
However, the two instances when this is different is:
- when you incorporate your business. Your company becomes a legal entity in its own right, and as the director, you become an employee of the company. This establishes the employer and employee relationship
- if you are a sub-contractor, and more than 80% of your work is from one source, they become your employer for the purpose of workers' compensation.
Can I claim against my own company?
While the idea of claiming against your own business in the world of hearing loss may seem confusing, workers' compensation is a no-fault scheme meaning you do not need to show that anyone is at fault, just that an injury has occurred.
By making a claim for industrial deafness against your own company, you are not stating that you have been negligent. In most cases, the damage will have occurred much earlier in life when hearing protection was not enforced. There are many types of employment that continue to be inherently noisy, and whilst you would protect your hearing to the best of your ability you will still have some exposure. A claim still needs to go against the most recent employer irrespective of whether you wear hearing protection or not.
What are my entitlements?
Your claim is simply to obtain hearing aids. Depending on the level of loss, you may also be entitled to a lump sum payment of compensation for your permanent impairment.
Adviceline Injury Lawyers are experts at identifying whether you may have any entitlements for hearing loss through the WorkCover scheme. Call Lachlan Hicks on (03) 9321 9782 to see how we may be able to assist you.