Auto Accidents & Hearing Loss
Hearing loss caused by a car crash is more common than you think. While hearing loss can be caused by a host of things, hearing loss after a car accident is most commonly caused by:
- Head trauma or skull fractures
- Airbag deployment (i.e. the impact or decibel level)
Symptoms of Hearing Loss After a Car Crash
After being involved in a car accident, you should seek medical attention no matter how minor (or nonexistent) your injuries may seem. However, it is important to note that certain ear injuries or trauma may be delayed injuries, which means you may not experience symptoms immediately.
You should see a medical professional if you experience any of the following symptoms in the days following your accident:
- Balance-related issues
- Discomfort in your ears
- Muffled hearing
- Loss of hearing (temporary or permanent)
- Ringing in your ears
- Painful burning or itching in your ears
- Feeling pressure or fullness in one or both ears
- Difficulty distinguishing voices or understanding words
Ear Injuries & Trauma Related to Hearing Loss After an Accident
Hearing loss after an accident could point to the fact that you have a more serious injury that is causing problems with your hearing. Hearing loss may indicate that you are suffering from:
- Damage to inner ear tissues, membranes, and hair cells. If any of these parts of your ear are damaged, you can suffer from hearing loss. While damage to the hair cells is typically caused by exposure to loud sounds or high decibel noises, inner ear or membrane issues are typically caused by physical trauma or injuries.
- Damage to the small bones in the middle of your ear. Ossicles are the tiny bones in the ear that transmit vibrations through the missile ear so that you can hear sound. If those small bones are damaged, you may suffer from hearing loss. Damage to these bones can be caused by high-impact crashes, head trauma, or infections.
- Deafness. Deafness is the total or partial loss of the ability to hear sounds. While deafness can be caused by a congenital defect or the result of a disease, you may suffer from hearing loss and deafness after a car accident because of the exposure to loud sounds or injuries sustained in the accident. Deafness can last for years or be lifelong.
- Disruption of blood flow to the cochlea. The cochlea is a spiral or shell-shaped bone in the inner ear that’s primary function involves transducing sound waves into electrical impulses for the brain and participating in your sense of hearing. If your cochlea or the arteries that supply it are damaged, you can suffer from permanent hearing loss.
- Ruptured eardrum. Also referred to as a perforated eardrum or tympanic membrane perforation, a ruptured eardrum is a tear or hole in the tissue between your eardrum and ear canal. You may sustain a ruptured eardrum after suffering from head trauma, an ear infection, air travel, loud noises, or having a foreign object embedded in your ear. While this injury may heal itself (without intervention), you should still consult with a doctor, because some cases require medication or surgery.
- Tinnitus. Approximately 90% of people suffering from tinnitus also experience hearing loss. Tinnitus can be caused by ear injuries, hearing loss, or problems with your circulatory system and involves hearing phantom noises in your ears like hissing, buzzing, clicking, roaring, etc. The noises can vary in pitch, intensity, and frequency.
- Vertigo. Vertigo is a symptom of a large variety of conditions, including but not limited to infections, stroke, brain tumors, problems with the inner ear, and traumatic brain injuries. When experiencing vertigo, you may feel dizzy or off-balance or have the sensation that the world around you is spinning in circles or that you’re moving (when you’re actually stationary). While vertigo typically lasts for several minutes, some people may suffer from vertigo for hours, days, or even months.
Filing a Claim to Be Compensated for Ear Injuries & Trauma
If you are suffering from tinnitus, hearing loss, or ear pain and trauma after a car accident, you can file a claim to be compensated for your damages. You may be compensated for non-economic and economic damages, including:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses (incurred and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of loss
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damages
Establishing Proof of Hearing Loss for a Claim
In personal injury claims, you must establish that the negligent party owed you a duty of care, breached that duty of care, and caused you to suffer damages. For instance, drivers owe one another a duty of care when operating a vehicle, and if the negligent driver who caused you to crash was speeding as well as texting and driving, they breached that duty of care. When they crash into you, you suffer injuries and hearing loss that results in damages such as lost wages, hospital bills, etc.
To establish liability and prove these elements, you and your attorney may showcase:
- Details concerning how the hearing loss has impacted your daily life
- Medical records
- Reports from accident reconstructionists or other experts
- Statements from medical professionals (as well as your doctor) concerning what your hearing was like before the accident and how it is now
- Testimonies or statements concerning the accident, your injuries, the treatment you need, etc.
Get Legal Help
In Georgia, lawsuits concerning car accidents must be filed within a certain time (i.e. within the statute); the statute of limitations for car accident claims in Georgia is two years. If you or a loved one have suffered hearing loss or other ear-related issues after an auto accident, the attorneys at The Dickinson Law Firm are here to help you:
- Investigate the circumstances of the accident
- Understand your legal options
- Establish liability and minimize your liability
- Collect evidence to substantiate your claim
- Negotiate a settlement or prepare for litigation
- Calculate the damages you are owed
- Achieve the best possible results and settlement award
To schedule an initial case consultation, contact our team online or by telephone (770) 766-7739.