Hearing & Vision Loss Attorney in Billings, Montana

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance program that pays the medical expenses and any lost wages for employees who are injured or fall ill on the job due to workplace conditions. Workplace illnesses must stem from exposure to a toxic substance or other environmental issues, not from contact with another worker who may have the flu or another transmittable illness.

In Montana, worker’s compensation is overseen by the Department of Labor & Industry (DLI), but employers generally contract with an independent insurance company to manage the system for them. The DLI will get involved to mediate, resolve disputes, investigate unpaid claims, and approve certain settlements. 

Some injuries on the job occur instantly because of an accident or exposure to something that causes harm, while other injuries and physical conditions can develop over time. Vision and hearing impairments can fall into either category. If the impairments become serious enough—even to the point of hearing or vision loss—then the affected worker will be eligible for long-term benefits under workers’ compensation. 

If you or a loved one has suffered hearing or vision impairment or loss while performing job duties in or near Billings, Montana, contact Gerstner Adam Law. Our workers’ compensation attorneys will help you navigate the system, file any appeals if necessary, and fight for you to obtain the just compensation and benefits due you. Our Billings firm proudly serves clients across our surrounding communities of Glendive, Miles City, and Sidney. 

Legal Guidance Backed by Experience


Causes of Workplace Hearing Loss 

Again, the cause of hearing impairment can be sudden or long-term. A blow to the head and ear, perhaps being struck by a moving or falling object, or even slipping and falling on an unsafe and unmarked-off surface, can affect one’s hearing.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, hearing loss at work is generally the result of exposure to loud noise or ototoxic chemicals. Solvents are often considered ototoxic chemicals, meaning they can damage different parts of the ear. 

The CDC defines loud noise as noise that reaches 85 A-weighted decibels (dBA) or higher. Noise that loud can cause not only hearing loss but also tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. About 22 million workers each year are exposed to hazardous noise on the job. 

Causes of Vision Loss

Again, being struck in the head, especially in the region of the eyes, can lead to vision problems, even eventual loss of vision. Scar tissue forming after such an accident can also lead to vision issues. Other causes include long-term exposure to light and chemicals getting into your eyes.  

Burns from extreme heat, fire, or hot liquids can also result in blindness. Even eye goggles sometimes prove inadequate to prevent the burns from happening. Even eyestrain from sitting and working at a computer monitor all day can eventually cause partial or full blindness. 

Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Vision and Hearing Loss?

Workers’ compensation covers all injuries and illnesses that result from workplace conditions or accidents while the employee is performing his or her scheduled duties. So, in a nutshell, vision and hearing loss should definitely be covered under workers’ compensation when resulting from job-related activities. 

How Will I Be Compensated for My Loss?

At the initial stage when you realize something is wrong with your hearing or vision, you should seek a medical professional of your choosing to evaluate your problem. If you and your physician believe the problem has resulted from workplace incidents or conditions, then you should file a workers’ compensation claim. The insurance company may then let you continue seeing that medical professional or assign you one of their choosing. 

In matters of hearing and vision impairment, the challenge is to prove that it’s a result of what you do at work and/or what you’ve been exposed to. The insurer will no doubt challenge your claim if you cannot provide fairly definite proof that your problem is work-related. They can even order you to undergo what is called an independent medical examination (IME) with a medical professional, or group, of their choosing. 

Once the cause of your loss has been determined to be work-related, you will continue to receive medical benefits and pay for any time lost from work. Lost wages, it should be noted, are paid at two-thirds of your average weekly wage, but are capped in 2022-2023 at $974 a week. 

Partial Disability & Total Disability

Once you reach the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI) and your doctor claims your vision or hearing condition is disabling, workers’ compensation can then assign you to one of two scheduled categories: permanent partial disability or permanent total disability. Partial disability means you cannot work your previous job, but you can work in other positions. Total disability means you cannot perform any job. 

If you are assigned permanent partial disability, in 2022-2023 you will be paid $487 for 400 weeks. Scheduled refers to the number of weeks you will receive your benefits, and in this case, the schedule is 400 weeks (about seven-and-a-half years).   

Permanent total disability benefits at two-thirds of your average weekly wage (up to $974) are paid until you reach retirement age. If you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), your benefits will be offset by one-half of the SSDI benefits. 

Hearing & Vision Loss Attorneys Serving Billings, Montana

Gerstner Adam Law stands ready to fight for the workers’ compensation benefits you rightfully deserve. Let us help you file your claim with the appropriate supporting documentation and then help you meet all insurer requests, and finally, if need be, file an appeal for you. We proudly serve clients not only in Billings, but also in the surrounding communities of Glendive, Miles City, and Sidney.