Is expert evidence crucial to a claim for acoustic shock?
The claimant/appellant (a litigant in person) brought a claim against the defendant/respondent (BT) for damages and financial loss arising from personal injuries suffered in consequence of an accident at work. The injuries concerned were permanent bilateral multi-tonal tinnitus, hyperacusis (intolerance of loud noise), and psychological injury due to acoustic shock. At the time, the claimant was employed as a customer sales advisor in a BT call centre. His monoaural headset was connected to the turret via the handset, with its own power supply. He was wearing it against his right ear. He took an incoming call. Whilst he was speaking to the customer, the claimant was exposed to a sudden intense high-pitched crackling sound through the headset, which he described as "feeling like someone had put a knitting needle through my ear." This caused him to remove the headset and throw it down on the desk. He reported the matter to his acting line manager, who was present at the time.Download