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What if a Car Accident Caused My Hearing Loss?

July 12, 2021

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss may not come to mind when one thinks about car accident injuries, but it is a significant problem. Long-term hearing problems can happen from blunt force trauma and other types of injuries. Hearing loss can affect all aspects of a person’s life, such as work, school, social life, and family relationships. Hearing aids are expensive and may not always be effective. They are often not covered by insurance, either.

Anyone involved in a car accident should take any changes in their hearing seriously. It may take some time to experience symptoms, but a visit to a doctor or audiologist is in order the minute symptoms arise.

What Types of Hearing Problems can a Car Accident Cause?

A car accident can cause various hearing problems depending on the type of injury a person sustains. Common hearing problems after a car accident are listed below.

Trauma-Associated Tinnitus

Trauma-associated tinnitus is common after a car accident. It can be caused by blunt force trauma and neck-related injuries, such as whiplash. Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ears. Sounds include ringing, whistling, whining, whooshing noises, creaking, and more. The sounds can be continual or intermittent, and tinnitus can last from days to weeks to a lifetime.

Tinnitus can also cause hearing loss, sometimes severe. It can lead to depression, anxiety, sleeping problems, and other disturbances as well. Some people with tinnitus and hearing loss will completely withdraw from social and recreational activities. Others may find it impossible to keep a job. Hearing problems, such as tinnitus, can seriously and negatively impact a person’s life. Anyone who experiences whiplash or blunt-force trauma in a car accident should pay particular attention to their hearing after the accident.

Hearing Loss Related to Brain Injuries

When the auditory pathway to the brain is damaged in a car accident, hearing disturbances and complete hearing loss may occur. Symptoms of hearing problems related to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and other ear damage include:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Problems hearing certain tones and pitches
  • Not knowing where voices or noises are coming from
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Distorted hearing, muffled hearing
  • Sensitivity to loud noises
  • Feeling of pressure or fullness in the ears
  • Ear pain, itching in ears
  • Problems distinguishing voices
  • Difficulty distinguishing sounds and recognizing sound patterns
  • Inability to focus on single words
  • Complete hearing loss

Hearing Loss Related to Skull Fracture

A skull fracture or other head injury may damage the ear canal, inner ear, or middle ear, leading to hearing loss and other auditory problems. Common problems include a ruptured eardrum, disrupted blood flow to the cochlea, and damage to tissues, membranes, and hair cells in the inner ear or bones in the middle ear.

When these types of injuries happen, a person may experience nausea, vomiting, vertigo, and instability in standing and walking, along with hearing difficulties. See a doctor immediately if these symptoms arise.

Airbag-Related Hearing Loss

The sudden deployment of airbags in an accident, especially when close to the ear, can cause hearing loss and other ear damage. In addition, extremely loud noises, including sirens and alarms, can disturb hearing quality. Many factory workers will develop tinnitus or hearing loss after years of prolonged loud noises, for example.

Anyone who experiences tinnitus or other hearing problems after a car accident should immediately see a doctor, such as an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist or an audiologist. Sometimes, tinnitus does not show up immediately. This is known as late-onset tinnitus, so stay vigilant of hearing changes if involved in a car accident.

Can I File a Lawsuit for Hearing Loss After a Car Accident in Virginia?

Victims of hearing loss from an accident may think that the injury is minor compared to their other injuries, or they do not relate hearing loss to the accident. Some may even feel it will be too difficult to prove their hearing loss is related to the accident. In all these cases, it is worth consulting a car accident lawyer for direction.

Virginia is an at-fault insurance state. This means that a person injured in a vehicle accident can pursue compensation from the at-fault driver through their insurance company. Pursuing this compensation is best done with a car accident lawyer who can file a personal injury claim against the negligent party. While this is most often the driver that caused the accident, it can also be a third party. Vehicle makers and part manufacturers have been found negligent in some accident cases.

The at-fault driver’s insurance company will never offer compensation that covers all of a victim’s damages. That is why it is essential not to accept an insurance settlement, no matter how attractive it looks. Work with a car accident lawyer to help ensure total compensation for injuries. The lawyer can negotiate professionally with the insurer or other guilty party and take the claim to court if necessary.

What can I Sue for After an Accident in Virginia?

If an accident causes hearing loss and other medical problems or property damage, a victim can sue for some or all of the following:

  • Property damage repairs.
  • Medical expenses, such as doctor visits, surgeries, therapies, and medical equipment.
  • Lost wages, including compensation for missed work due to the accident. It can also include payment for the loss of vacation, sick days, and other paid time off.
  • Loss of earning capacity or diminished earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering, which includes compensation for the mental anguish, anxiety, depression, pain, and loss of quality of life stemming from the accident injuries.

In Virginia, an accident victim can also seek punitive damages. These are additional damages meant to punish the negligent driver. They are not appropriate in every case, so consult an experienced car accident lawyer.

What if the Negligent Driver Does Not Have Insurance?

An accident victim with hearing loss and other injuries can always file a claim with their own insurance carrier if they have personal injury protection. Recovering damages directly from an uninsured or underinsured motorist is difficult but not impossible. A car accident lawyer can help with this process.

How Do I Prove Hearing Loss After an Accident?

The first step is to hire a lawyer with experience in car accidents. The victim can help their lawyer by doing the following after an accident:

  • Seek immediate medical attention as well as medical attention later if symptoms arise.
  • Be detailed in medical appointments when describing symptoms of hearing loss and other auditory problems, such as tinnitus.
  • Discuss any prior hearing problems to help the medical professional assess any new damage.
  • Describe typical noise exposure on a typical day, such as from work, leisure, hobbies, or the neighborhood.

The goal is to discern the difference in hearing before and after the accident and to establish that the victim is not exposed to loud noises in their everyday life. This can help the lawyer in making the connection between the accident and hearing loss. The car accident lawyer will also use medical records, imaging, and other professional documentation to show that the hearing loss happened after the accident.

Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Advocate for Collision Victims Experiencing Significant Hearing Loss

Hearing loss or other ear disturbances that arise after an accident should be taken seriously, and a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer can address all of your questions. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we know how to defend your legal rights, and we will advocate for you. Call us at 757-352-2237 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.

Areas We Serve

Our law firm proudly serves clients injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina on personal injury claims, including cases with traumatic brain injury, spinal and neck injury, wrongful death, and more serious injuries. As Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys with many years experience, our team of lawyers will be ready to fight for you. If you were injured on the job, our Virginia Beach Workers Compensation lawyers are ready to serve you.

Call 757-352-2237 or fill out the online contact form for a free consultation about your personal injury, workers compensation, or other attorney services. Our firm adopts a team approach to every case, so while one primary lawyer will be assigned to your case, you have the benefit of an experienced team of lawyers, all working on your side. We are located in Virginia Beach, VA, and serve clients who were injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina.

301 Bendix Road, Suite 460
Virginia Beach VA 23452
Ph: 757-352-2237 | Fax: 757-994-8910