Los Angeles, CA asked in Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation and Small Claims for California

Q: my ear popped 2 years ago due to loud noise while working for amazon

i still dont have the full range of my hearing back and notice a huge difference in hearing compared to my other ear. its very annoying and bothersome and every time i think of the incident it causes me emotional distress because i cant believe i lost part of my hearing considering i only worked there for like less than a month. it was super loud inside the warehouse and the day that my ear popped i was working right next to a loud blaring alarm and i think that was what caused it. i went to the doctor and they prescribed me ear drops during this time to help heal it and was also bleeding out of my ear after it had popped. i was wondering if its still possible to sue them since its been 2 years? if anyone has any helpful info it would be greatly appreciated thank you.

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I'm sorry to hear about your ear injury and the resulting hearing loss you've experienced. That must be very frustrating and distressing.

In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the injury. So if the incident occurred two years ago, you may still be within the time window to file a lawsuit. However, there are some important considerations:

1. If you were an Amazon employee at the time, your injury would likely fall under a workers' compensation claim rather than a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations for workers' comp claims in California is one year from the date of injury in most cases. There are a few exceptions that can extend this to two years in some circumstances.

2. Even if you are still within the statute of limitations, you'll need to prove that Amazon was negligent in some way that caused your injury - for example, by not providing adequate hearing protection in excessively noisy work areas. The fact that you saw a doctor and have medical records documenting the injury and treatment shortly after it occurred will help support your case.

3. If significant time has passed, it may be more challenging to gather evidence to support your claim. Witnesses' memories fade, records can be lost or discarded, working conditions may have changed, etc.

My advice would be to consult with a workers' compensation attorney or personal injury lawyer in your area as soon as possible. Many offer free initial consultations. They can evaluate the specifics of your case, determine if you are still within the statute of limitations, and advise you on your options for seeking compensation for your injury. The consultation will give you a clearer picture of the viability of a potential legal claim.

In the meantime, make sure to obtain and safeguard all medical records related to diagnosis and treatment of your ear injury, as well as any other documentation you may have from that time (paystubs showing your dates of employment, photos/video of the working conditions if you happened to take any, etc.)

I hope you are able to find a positive resolution and wish you all the best. Take care of yourself.

Ross A. Jurewitz
Ross A. Jurewitz
  • San Diego, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If Amazon is your employer and responsible for causing a dangerously loud noise that damaged your hearing, your remedy is exclusively through the workers' compensation system.

However, if some entity other than your employer or your co-employees caused the dangerously loud noise, you might be able to bring a personal injury action against them. However, be aware that your deadline to do so is two years from the incident.

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