BT has announced that the company will be applying limits to BT worker´s loss of hearing compensation claims with effect from 1st January 2013 in accordance with the Statute of Limitations.
This announcement reverses a decision made following the Watkins v British Telecommunications court case in August 2010, in which the company acknowledged that it had exposed engineers to excessive levels of noise likely to cause injury by supplying them with inappropriate oscillating and amplifying equipment to trace, install and repair BT telephone lines.
At the time of the court case, BT said that it would honour all BT workers and former BT workers loss of hearing compensation hearing claims without limitation where the engineer had been provided with green and unmodified yellow testing sets, and this paved the way for many former employees who had suffered a loss of hearing to recover compensation.
Currently, BT workers and former employees of British Telecommunications who have been diagnosed with a loss of hearing injury are able to settle their BT loss of hearing claims for compensation out of court irrespective of when their injury was diagnosed – with most compensation claims for BT worker´s loss of hearing being settled for between 5,000 pounds and 20,000 pounds.
However, from the end of the year, BT intends to apply a three-year time limit on BT workers loss of hearing compensation claims from the date on which a BT engineer or former BT worker is diagnosed with hearing loss problem; after which time, should a period of more than three years elapse, the company will challenge their liability for the injury.
Although the announcement will make little difference to former employees who have recently been diagnosed with a loss of hearing injury due to the negligence of BT, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has advised any BT worker or former employee suffering from a loss of hearing to seek legal advice at the first practical opportunity.
Please note: Not all BT workers loss of hearing compensation claims are settled out of court. In January 2012, a claim for compensation for BT worker´s loss of hearing was heard in Cardiff County Court (Dew v British Telecommunications) after BT disputed the former employee´s claim which included the cost of a privately purchased hearing aid. The judge upheld the claim and the former BT worker received a total of 19,372 pounds in settlement of his BT worker´s loss of hearing compensation claim.