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I was maced with pepper spray about a year ago and since then i have lost 40% of my hearing. Do I have a case?

Los Angeles, CA |

My sister was sexually assaulted by a male individual at Alpine Village last year during Oktoberfest. I started hitting him with my hands with in seconds I inhaled what was pepper spray. I completely froze, I felt someone grabb my arms back and new it must have been security. During this time my eyes were closed because I felt the spray on the left side of my face. Witnesses that helped me say that the spray was all over my left ear. That whole night my left ear was burning. A week later I suddenly felt my left ear pop and almost instantly super nauseas. When I went to the doctor they said i had Acute sensory-neuro hearing loss and he couldn't confirm if the mace was the one that caused it but did say it was a possibility. I have 50% hearing loss and tinitis in my left ear and vertigo.

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Attorney answers 3


Wow -- what an awful event. You may have a cause of action, but you need to identify the individual or the employer of the individual that hurt you. Sit down with a personal injury attorney in California to see if you have ny remedies available to you.

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


If your doctor can't say that being maced was THE cause of your hearing loss you will have a difficult time winning a civil lawsuit. Still it's worth investigating through a personal injury attorney who probably has access to doctors who are more victim oriented.


"Despite the success of OC spray, there is growing concern about its safety, particularly when exposure is combined with positional restraint. A number of arrestees exposed to OC, which induces coughing, gagging, and shortness of breath, have died in custody - thus prompting the allegation that OC inhalation places individuals at risk for potentially fatal respiratory compromise.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), in conjunction with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), supported a study by medical researchers at the University of California-San Diego to examine the combined effects of OC exposure and positional restraint on respiratory and pulmonary function among 34 volunteer subjects recruited from a law enforcement training academy.

Research findings suggested that inhalation of OC spray does not pose a significant risk to subjects in terms of respiratory and pulmonary function, even when it occurs with positional restraint. However, OC exposure did result in a small but statistically significant increase in blood pressure, the origin of which remains unclear."

Unintended effects: effects that produce injury or death to the targeted
individuals against which whom the non-lethal weapon is employed. Injury may
refer to serious irreversible physiological effects that impact on living capabilities,
such as blindness, hearing loss, or paralysis. For bystanders or users, unintended
effects may be considered any adverse unwanted human effect, including those
that would be intended and desired for the target. (

You should:
1. Find an ear, nose and throat specialist who knows what they are talking about. Avvo has a medical side too. Ask a Doctor.

2. Find an experienced criminal litigator who also handles unlawful use of force and false arrest cases.

A good place to start is by going to the website for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers ( Clicking on this link will take you to the part of their site that links you to a map of the US where you can click on your jurisdiction to find an affiliate local organization. There is also a link to find members of NACDL near you. Meet several that offer free consultation. Hire one that you feel comfortable with and you can afford. There is no confidentiality online.
NACDL Local affiliates:

NACDL local members:
( | For confidential answers on Florida law, call 1.877.452.9457. Attorney James Regan, LL.M, Esq., is a Florida lawyer answering questions pro bono. Answering these consumer questions based on limited and unverified facts does not create an attorney-client relationship. Being posted on the internet, these questions and answers are not confidential. For confidential answers on Florida law, call 1.800.452.9357.

John M. Kaman

John M. Kaman


Great answer. I am saving it in my personal files.

James Regan

James Regan


Thanks John, I watched some of your videos on firearms rights and learned something- and I am always looking to lear more. I haven't gotten around to endorsing you yet, but will this week.

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