Instructions were received from Insurance clients to investigate and defend a noise induced deafness claim made by the employee against the Insured employers.

Claims of this type can be extremely difficulty for an Insurer to successfully defend.  However, the appropriate investigations, including recovery of Risk Assessments, demonstrated that the employers had both appreciated the risks involved and taken the necessary steps to deal with these risks for the protection of the employees.  It was therefore considered that a full defence of the Action was possible.

On the medical side, it was established that the Pursuer had had hearing problems in childhood.  The Pursuer’s representatives argued that the Pursuer’s work environment had contributed to his deafness and offered to settle at a particular figure, taking into account the problems from childhood.  Given the view taken on the chances of a successful defence, the Pursuer’s offer was rejected and ultimately, with the Insurers holding firm on their position, the Pursuer offered to abandon the Action on the basis that both sides met their own expenses. This offer was accepted.

What happened in this case demonstrates that with suitable information from investigation, it is possible to present a strong defence and force a Pursuer to look very closely at the chances of success, particularly if the Action is proceeding on the basis that it is a speculative one, as appeared to be the case here.