Thill and Freeman PLLC won a landmark case on May 11, 2022, affirming Minnesota workers’ compensation rights. Their client, Dennis Sershen, suffered from hearing loss after working from 1986 to 2008 in extremely loud environments. Mr. Sershen worked from 2008 to 2017 with little or no exposure to dangerously loud noise.
According to Business Insurance, the Minnesota Supreme Court determined that Mr. Sershen’s last employer should pay for the medical expenses, following state law. However, the court also ruled that Mr. Sershen’s previous employer may receive reimbursements from the place of employment where he suffered the most significant hearing loss. Reimbursement is only available in cases of disablement.
Historical precedence for future workers
Thill and Freeman, PLLC believe this is a historical case because it sets a precedent for future workers who need compensation for occupational hearing loss. Previously, workers underwent an extended litigation process during a multi-party workers’ compensation case. Mr. Sershen worked for five different employers from 1986 to 2017. The option to pursue a partial settlement from one of the involved parties simplified the litigation process.
Reaffirmed rights for hearing loss
The success of this case affirms workers’ rights and creates a historical precedent for future judges to reference. It also reaffirms hearing loss as an occupational disease and protects workers from living with unpaid medical expenses such as hearing aids and surgery.
The Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision protects not only Mr. Sershen but all workers in Minnesota who suffer from hearing loss. It simplifies employees’ compensation and limits the need for a multi-party litigation case to receive fair compensation.