Did you suffer a head or brain injury on the job? Understand your workers’ compensation rights
Head and brain injuries are startlingly common in the workplace in North Carolina and across the country, and they can have a significant impact on your ability to continue working in your position. The long-term effects of a head or brain injury can last months or even years after you have reached your full capacity for recovery.
On top of impacting your job and career, you may find that the trauma you experienced from a head or brain injury impacts your ability to remember important information and carry out your normal household tasks. Depending upon the severity of your injury, you could face a lifetime of challenges that require you and your family to make major lifestyle changes and accommodations.
If you experience a head or brain injury at work, you need to know how to take immediate action to begin safeguarding your physical and financial future.
What causes workplace head injuries?
There are 3 main causes of concussions and other head injuries that occur in the workplace. These causes include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Being struck by an object
People who work in industries that require the use of heavy equipment or frequently working from extreme heights (such as tree trimmers, landscapers, loggers and construction workers) are most at risk for suffering an occupational head or brain injury.
In addition, emergency responders and factory employees are at increased risk for these types of injuries. However, even someone who works in an office could experience a blow to the head after a slip and fall accident.
Being aware of the dangers in your workplace gives you the best opportunity for preventing a head or brain injury.
What are the most common types of work-related head and brain injuries?
There are several different types of head injuries that you can experience no matter where you work.
- Concussions are fairly common after a blow to the head. If a concussion is not properly treated, a person could suffer second-impact syndrome.
- Skull fractures can cause seizures, infections and leaking cerebrospinal fluid.
- Hematoma or cerebral contusion is bleeding in the brain.
What treatments are available for brain and head injuries?
A work-related brain injury can cause a wide range of symptoms such as memory loss, headaches, nausea and sleepiness. Some head injuries may not cause any symptoms at all in the beginning, which is why it is important to have a full medical exam to determine the extent of your injury following a work accident.
Imaging tests, such as an MRI, can be used to identify and diagnose injured parts of your skull and brain. Mild concussions may simply be monitored to make sure there aren’t any lasting effects. However, severe brain injuries may require invasive surgery, medication and long-term rehabilitative therapy.
What long-term effects do survivors of head injuries face?
Appropriate workers’ compensation settlements for a head or brain injury should help you cover the full cost of your medical care and lost work time. This is especially important because brain injuries tend to cause lasting damage.
As a survivor of a head injury, you may experience issues with your cognition, thinking and reasoning abilities that alter your ability to do your job. Memory loss, foggy thinking, migraines and severe headaches can all limit what you can continue to do long after you have recovered.
Does workers’ comp cover head injuries in North Carolina?
Workers’ compensation covers many different types of workplace injuries, including those that affect your head and brain. If you are wondering how much compensation you might be owed for a head injury at work, then you should consult with an attorney near you to discuss your individual situation.
Generally, you can expect workers’ compensation to cover your medical care, along with around two-thirds of the wages that you are losing during your recovery. Keep in mind that your settlement might also need to include compensation for future health care treatments or the earnings that you’ll lose if you can never return to your job.
With mild head or brain injuries (with lower costs), you might not receive much pushback on your claim from the workers’ compensation insurance company. However, in severe cases with large claim amounts, insurers commonly dispute or deny injured workers’ claims. For this reason, you may need assistance making sure that you get all of the benefits that you are entitled to if you suffered a serious head injury that caused a disability or requires long-term treatment.
In some cases, you can work with your North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer to help you file a third-party personal injury lawsuit. This might occur in cases where there was another driver of a vehicle involved in a collision that happened while you were working, or a manufacturer might be to blame for faulty equipment that contributed to your accident.
What should you do after a workplace head injury?
The most important thing to do after a head or brain injury at work is seek medical attention immediately. Time is of the essence with these injuries, and prompt medical care increases your chances of a successful recovery. Be sure to follow your doctor’s advice about returning to work and any precautions that you need to take as you resume your position.
You will also need to notify your supervisor immediately and complete the necessary paperwork to begin filing your workers’ compensation claim.
Finally, consulting with a work injury lawyer early in the process of filing your claim helps you to navigate through a difficult time. Receiving a head injury at work can leave you feeling confused and disoriented, but it is critical to take steps to protect your rights immediately. North Carolina has certain protections in place for employees who sustain a head injury at work, but the process of filing for workers’ compensation is complicated.
After seeking medical attention and reporting your injury, reach out to a North Carolina work injury lawyer at the Wilder Law Group to make sure that you receive the benefits that you need to manage your health and improve your outlook for a strong financial future.