Head and Brain Injuries on the Job
Head and brain injuries can be debilitating, both to the victim and his or her family. The weight of such an injury is often shared, with family becoming caregivers and helping to bear the significant economic burdens of lost wages and the ongoing costs of medical care and rehabilitation.
If you or a family member has suffered a head or brain injury due to an accident on the job, you have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical costs and a portion of your lost wages.
At the Kenton Koszdin Law Office, our compassionate legal team has helped countless victims of head and traumatic brain injuries to secure the workers’ compensation and Social Security disability benefits they need to get through this difficult time in their lives. For more than a decade, we have been fighting for injured and disabled workers. Schedule a free consultation today to talk about the specifics of your case and learn about your options for moving forward.
Common Types of Head and Brain Injuries
The brain is a complex machine, and it can be injured in a variety of ways. “Acquired brain injury,” or ABI, is the all-encompassing label for this type of injury. An ABI can be classified as either:
- A traumatic brain injury, which results from external forces and scenarios such as falls, workplace accidents, car crashes, assaults, sports and recreation accidents, and abuse.
- Nontraumatic brain injury, which can be caused by a stroke, infectious disease, seizure, electrical shock, tumors, exposure to toxins, metabolic disorders, neurotoxin poisoning, oxygen deprivation, and drug overdoses.
In addition to these two broad categories, a brain injury may be further defined as:
- A focal injury, which is limited to one area of the brain.
- A diffuse injury, which affects a larger area of the brain.
- A primary injury, which is the immediate consequence of an incident.
- A secondary injury, which arises gradually, in hours, days, weeks, or longer. An example of a secondary brain injury would be when there is insufficient blood flow, depriving the brain of oxygen.
- A diffuse axonal injury, which comes from a savage blow to the head that leaves lesions on brain tissue. This type of injury is among the most common and damaging, and its effects may not be reversible.
- A concussion, which can be mild or moderate and can take hours or months to heal.
- A hematoma, which is pooled blood in brain tissue. There are several types of hematomas, and consequences range from minor to death.
- Contusions, which are bruising/swelling from bleeding and are more localized than concussions, with effects ranging from minor to fatal.
- Coup-contrecoup injuries, which are contusions at the point of impact (coup) and on the opposite side of the brain (contrecoup). The latter comes from the brain’s violent whiplash motion in the skull.
- Skull fractures, which result from traumatic force that typically causes severe underlying damage.
The financial effects of head and brain injuries can be catastrophic. However, that cost seems inconsequential when compared with the physical and mental costs of dealing with an injury that can disfigure, cripple, and change the essence of who a person is.
Symptoms of Head and Brain Injuries
The scope and range of head and traumatic brain injury (TBI) symptoms are breathtaking. Victims may wake up from a workplace injury in excruciating pain, unable to move, essentially a different person. They may be unable to recognize loved ones, unable to speak, and suffer from diminished mental capacity. On the other hand, the symptoms may be so slight at first that an injury is not detected right away.
Mild traumatic head and brain injuries are the most prevalent and may be missed in the initial assessment of a workplace accident victim. An example is a concussion that yields a loss of consciousness and/or disorientation lasting less than 30 minutes. Symptoms, which can take days or weeks to manifest, include:
- Vision problems
- Memory loss
- Problems concentrating
- Issues with sleep
- Mood swings
- Olfactory (sense of smell) problems
- Sensitivity to light and/or sound
Moderate to severe traumatic head and brain injuries’ initial defining characteristic is a loss of consciousness lasting 20 minutes to six hours (moderate), or loss of consciousness longer than six hours (severe), with some degree of physiological and mental damage lasting a lifetime. Symptoms include:
- Diminished or total loss of mental capacity, memory, and language skills
- Partial to complete loss of personality traits
- Partial or total sensory loss (touch, smell, etc.)
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Partial to total loss of hearing and/or sight
- Physical challenges such as chronic pain, bowel/bladder dysfunction, sleep disorders, fatigue, appetite shifts, menstrual problems, psychological disorders, and partial to full paralysis
Just as the scope and scale of a bran injury’s effects run the gamut from mild to severe, the necessary medical treatments and costs range from mildly intrusive to life shattering.
Treatments for Head and Brain Injuries
Care for a TBI is tailored to each victim. Phases and options can be boiled down to initial treatment (save lives, minimize damage), acute treatment (head off secondary injuries, life support), surgical solutions, and rehabilitation.
Mild brain and head injuries can require little more than an aspirin and ice pack, but persistent and new symptoms can occur.
Moderate to severe injuries may require emergency care for the wound(s). Stabilizing the patient can mean medication for pain, to reduce the buildup of fluids, to prevent seizures, or even to induce a coma. Emergency surgery might be needed for issues such as blood clots and fractures or to ease pressure on the brain.
Rehabilitation usually starts at the hospital and can evolve into care at specialized rehab centers. Care varies, and specialists can include physiatrists, occupational and physical therapists, speech pathologists, neuropsychologists, social workers, rehabilitation nurses, nurse specialists, recreational therapists, and vocational counselors.
The goal from day one is to preserve life and ease physical and emotional suffering. Ultimately, treatment aims to return the victim to some semblance of normal life.
Our Dedicated Workers’ Compensation Attorney Is Here to Help
If you or a loved one has suffered a brain or head injury on the job, you need to learn about your right to workers’ compensation and Social Security disability benefits. At the Kenton Koszdin Law Office, we understand the needs of workplace accident victims and the pressures they are under. Our knowledgeable legal team can answer any questions you may have and handle every aspect of your claim for benefits.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation, including a free in-home consultation if necessary.