49-ee. Liability of employer; preplacement examinations and notice to prior employers; apportionment of liability between employers. 1. The last employer in whose employment the employee was exposed to harmful noise shall, except as herein provided, be liable for the payment of the total compensation due the employee for his loss of hearing caused by all of his employments in which he was exposed to harmful noise and the employee shall not be required to give notice to, or to file any claim against, any of his prior employers in whose employment he was exposed to harmful noise.
2. If an employer makes a pre-placement examination which shows that the employee has a pre-existing loss of hearing which may be due to a prior employment or employments in which he was exposed to harmful noise, such employer shall promptly, and in any event within ninety days after such preplacement examination, give notice to the prior employer or employers in writing of the result of such pre-placement examination. Such notice shall advise the prior employer or employers that they may be required, if a claim is filed and an award to the employee is subsequently made, to reimburse the succeeding employer for that portion of the award which was due to the loss caused by their prior employment, provided, however, that no liability shall attach to any prior employer in whose employment the last preceding harmful exposure shall have occurred more than three years prior to the date of mailing such notice to the prior employer or employers, and provided further that in no event shall any employer, including the last employer, be liable for the payment of any claim that would otherwise, and regardless of the date of disablement fixed herein, be barred by any of the limitations contained in sections twenty-eight and forty of this chapter. A copy of this notice shall also be sent to the employee. Upon receipt of such notice the prior employer or employers shall have the right to a competent examination as to the nature and extent of the employee's loss of hearing, and such examination shall not be invalid because the employee has not been removed from harmful exposure for a period of at least three consecutive months.
3. All issues as to the nature and extent of the employee's ultimate loss of hearing due to his occupation, the total amount of compensation, if any, due the employee, the liability for contribution, if any, of the prior employer or employers who were given notice by the last employer as hereinbefore provided, the amount of the contribution, if any, to be paid by such prior employer or employers, and the liability, if any, of the last employer and the amount of compensation, if any, to be paid by such last employer, shall be determined only after the employee shall have been removed from harmful exposure for a period of at least three consecutive months, whether working for one or more employers, and after his disablement as set forth in section forty-nine-bb of this article. If, upon the filing of any claim, the last employer decides to controvert the right to compensation upon any ground he shall file a notice of controversy with the chairman as provided in section twenty-five of this chapter. If, upon the filing of any claim, any prior employer who was given notice as hereinbefore provided decides to controvert the liability for contribution he shall promptly inform the last employer and the workers' compensation board in writing so that such issue may be determined together with, and at the same time as, the employee's claim for compensation against the last employer. If the last employer in whose employment there was an exposure to harmful noise does not give the employee a replacement examination, or does not give notice as provided herein to the prior employer or employers, then such last employer, except as herein provided, shall be liable for the employee's entire occupational loss of hearing without the right to reimbursement from the prior employer or employers.
Last modified: February 3, 2019