Hearing loss and tinnitus after a car accident requires immediate medical attention. It can be caused by the trauma of the car crash, physical impact, noise trauma or brain injury. Symptoms can include ringing or clicking sounds. An experienced lawyer can protect your legal rights to compensation and benefits.
What is hearing loss and tinnitus after a car accident?
Hearing loss and tinnitus after a car accident occurs when the noise or a physical trauma from a crash causes an injured person to hear ringing, buzzing, roaring or pulsating sounds when there is actually no sound present to be heard. It can also result in a car crash victim losing his or her hearing or from a traumatic brain injury.
What causes hearing loss and tinnitus after a car accident?
The trauma from a motor vehicle crash can affect the ability to hear. It could be either the sheer force of the impact or actual physical contact between a person’s body and an object. It could also be loud sounds, such as the noise from airbags being deployed. Additionally, the cause may be from injury to the neck, a TMJ injury, or a traumatic brain injury.
If you experience any of the following symptoms after a crash, seek immediate medical attention:
- You hear ringing sounds that are not actually present
- You hear clicking sounds that are not actually present
- You hear humming sounds that are not actually present
- You hear hissing sounds that are not actually present
- You hear roaring sounds that are not actually present
- You hear buzzing sounds that are not actually present
- You hear pulsating sounds that are not actually present
- Loss of hearing
- Decreased hearing
- Ear pain
- Nasal congestion
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
Diagnosis of hearing loss and tinnitus after a car accident?
Your doctors will inquire about your symptoms (what they are and when they started) and then your doctor will conduct a physical examination, which will likely include an examination of your ears, nose, oral cavity, oral pharynx, and the cranial nerve function.
An audiogram, which is a hearing test, may be administered to evaluate your level of hearing in one or both ears.
In some cases, diagnostic imaging tests – such as MRIs and CT scans – may be used to assist in the diagnostic process.
Treatment may include medication, possible surgery, retraining therapy and/or relief therapy.
What to do for hearing loss and tinnitus after a car accident?
If you have suffered hearing loss and tinnitus after a car accident, follow these steps:
- Get treatment for this condition as soon as possible. When it comes to treating the ability to hear and related injuries, the sooner a person begins treatment, the better the chances are that they will make a good recovery. As a personal injury lawyer, I always advise people that the sooner they can get the necessary and appropriate medical care, the sooner they can get back on the road to good health.
- Get a referral to an otolaryngologist (i.e., an ear, nose and throat doctor) whose specialty includes evaluating, diagnosing and caring for people suffering from this condition. You may need to be referred to an otologist or neurotologist, which is a board-certified otolaryngologist, and an audiologist. A doctor cannot help treat your condition until he or she knows what is causing your symptoms.
- Early documentation of hearing loss and tinnitus after a car accident will make it easier for you to avoid future potential billing problems with your own insurance company or health care provider. Early medical documentation soon after your crash will establish a temporal connection to prove to a health insurance company or a No-Fault insurance company that your motor vehicle crash was the cause of your hearing loss tinnitus. Documenting your symptoms early on can also help you to avoid many of the problems that arise when an insurance company later might try to deny a causal relationship and refuse to pay for medical treatment. Putting it another way, if there is a large gap of time that passes before your injuries are documented, then it is easier for your insurance company to question whether the motor vehicle crash you were involved in was the cause of your condition. Early treatment helps you get better faster, and early medical documentation creates the clear temporal causal relationship that insurance companies will be looking for when they are being asked to pay for necessary medical care.
- Showing a clear temporal relationship between the motor vehicle crash and documentation of when your injuries were reported, diagnosed and treated also makes it easier for your personal injury lawyer to obtain full and fair legal compensation for your injuries. Most automobile crash injury cases do settle, eventually, but delays in treatment and long gaps in medical documentation will make it harder for your injury lawyer to be able to get a full and fair settlement for you if weeks or months have passed before there is any documentation in the medical records.
- Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney who has helped people with hearing loss and tinnitus after a car accident and who knows the medicine and what these cases are worth. A lawyer who focuses on automobile crashes and who has extensive experience litigating motor vehicle crash cases can get you the help you need, including a settlement that reflects the full value for your hearing loss tinnitus injuries. An attorney can also help you to make sure your bills are getting paid and that your settlement reflects the full measure of the future harms and losses you will face. Tinnitus is often referred to as the “suicide injury” because the effects can be so devastating for the person who suffers from it. Finding a lawyer who understands the medicine and can present these harms and damages in court with an invisible injury or an injury that is harder to objectively prove is critical to receiving a just and fair settlement.
- Tell your auto insurance company about your hearing loss and tinnitus after a car accident. If you live in Michigan, make sure to include this (and any other injuries you suffered and/or symptoms you are experiencing) in your application for No-Fault benefits, which is also referred to as your “written notice of injury” – which must be given to your No-Fault auto insurance company “within 1 year after the accident.” (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4))
- Do not sign any settlements, releases, or waivers related to your automobile crash: Until you have talked with an experienced attorney who is looking out for your interests, do not sign any settlements, releases, or waivers that are presented to you by your auto insurance company, the at-fault driver’s auto insurer or any other insurance companies or persons.
How to make a legal claim?
In Michigan, you start your claim for hearing loss and tinnitus after a car accident by filing an application for No-Fault benefits with the responsible auto insurance company, according to the No-Fault law’s “priority” rules. The No-Fault insurer will pay for your medical bills and your lost wages if you cannot return to work.
Can I file a lawsuit for hearing loss and tinnitus after a car accident?
Yes. You can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to sue for pain and suffering compensation as a result of your hearing loss and tinnitus after a car accident, but you will first have to show that the other driver was at-fault for causing the motor vehicle crash and that your injury constitutes a “serious impairment of body function” under Michigan’s auto law.
Additionally, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver for other economic damages, such as excess and future medical bills and lost wages.
Finally, if your own No-Fault auto insurance company refuses to pay for – or even tries to cut-off – your auto No-Fault insurance benefits related to your medical treatment and care or wage loss for your injury after a crash, then you can also file a lawsuit to sue for unpaid, overdue medical bills, attendant care, medical mileage, replacement services and lost wages because your injury has prevented you from returning to work.
Tinnitus after car accident compensation
Your tinnitus after car accident compensation will take several forms. If you have suffered a “serious impairment of body function,” then you can sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation. Additionally, you may be able to sue for “excess” lost wages and medical bills.
The at-fault driver who caused your automobile crash can be held liable to pay for your lost wages over and above the monthly maximum and/or beyond the three-year limit on No-Fault wage loss benefits. Additionally, the at-fault driver can be sued and forced to pay for your medical bills that exceed and, thus, are not covered by No-Fault PIP medical benefits coverage level in your auto insurance policy.
Tinnitus car accident settlement
Factors that influence a tinnitus car accident settlement include: (1) whether your injury resulted in an impairment that affects your ability to lead your normal life; (2) your medical needs; (3) your lawyer’s experience, track record and reputation; and (4) the at-fault driver’s liability insurance limits.
This is where your choice of lawyer is particularly important. Auto insurance companies keep tabs on attorneys and they know what attorneys go to trial and which ones don’t – and which ones “settle cases short.”
The bottom line is that attorneys who are known for going to trial can settle cases for more money and often much faster.
Need help finding the right lawyer? Call Michigan Auto Law first
If you have suffered the loss of the ability to hear after an automobile crash and would like to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.