Head and Brain injuries occur on the job when an object impacts an employee’s head. Some examples would be building materials falling from a higher level of construction site down onto a worker, materials or products making impact with an employee’s head as a result of being misguided by a crane, construction equipment, or forklift, materials or supplies falling from shelves down onto an employee. Employees of well – drilling companies are at risk for head injuries due to the types of drills used in reaching a water source. Another common manner in which a work related injury impacts an employee’s head or brain could occur after a fall from a higher level; such as a roof, tree that was being trimmed in a landscaping job, extended ladder, etc.
Work related head and brain injuries fall into the category of what are called Traumatic brain injuries (TBI). A TBI occurs when there has been an alteration to brain function. Such loss involves loss of conscious, memory loss, and neurologic defects due to an external force. TBI is indeed a major concern because a severe head or brain injury represents one of the most significant types of injuries for the suffering individual to deal with. Furthermore, they are not uncommon at work, or otherwise. On a global scale, such traumatic brain injuries affect 10 million people annually.
Some head and brain injury symptoms include:
- Paralysis of one side of the body (Hemiplegia)
- Affected gait
- Reduced or compromised fine motor skills
- Headaches associated with other health problems.
Cognitive Impairments (Brain Function):
- Short – term memory loss
- Diminished executive, or thought process, function.
- Reduced attention span.
- Visual impairment
- Hearing impairment
- Loss of sense of touch, smell, and taste.
- Hypersensitivity to noise, heat, etc.
- Reduced impulse control
- Loss of social and interpersonal skills
- Reduced self – awareness
- Mood disorders
Levels of injury range from mild to severe, determined by measures such as duration of coma or post-traumatic amnesia or Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) scores. Other similar testing measures exist, but are beyond the scope of this article.
For work related injuries of this type, a particularly significant consideration are the nature and extent of functional impairments following the injury. Such impairments are largely determined by the severity of the impact and the location of the impact.
Typically, the more severe the injury to the head or brain, the greater the degree of post injury impairment. The majority of individuals who experience a work related head or brain injury undergo a period of recovery. The individual’s recovery will eventually plateau in that they will reach a point from which no further curative treatment is available. In Florida Worker’s Compensation Claims, this point is known as reaching Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). Unfortunately, in cases where the head or brain injury was moderate to severe, the individual will plateau at a point below his or her pre-injury functional capacity.
Individuals with TBI often experience difficulties in becoming competitive in the job market, in becoming employed, or maintaining employment. The difficulties manifest themselves as a result of the post-injury difficulties they exhibit. Although returning to work has been associated with that individual having a better quality of life, there are numerous factors to be considered in terms of whether or not that individual will be capable of returning to gainful employment. The prediction of whether an injured employee is capable of returning to work involves a number of variables. Factors such as an employee’s age, education, education, transferable skills, and prior employment history are all considered.
We have experience in handling not only TBI cases, but also in handling cases in which the person was considered to be permanently and totally disabled (PTD) as a result of a work accident. In the process of establishing and supporting that determination, we generally employ the services of vocational rehabilitation expert to meet with our client, and perform a full functional capacity evaluation that includes evaluating any cognitive impairments the individual may be dealing with.
Every individual we represent has the benefit of our handling each case as though we are going to trial. Doing so results in our building the best and strongest case for each of Dolman Law Group’s clients right from the very beginning. Not months or years later when a resolution with the insurance carrier has not been possible.
Regardless of whether the injury has been to your brain or head, simply suffering an on the job injury or accident that makes your return to gainful employment a particularly difficult burden is reason enough to contact us for a free consultation. Doing so will provide you with answers as to what your options are.
If you’re suffering from an on the job head or brain injury, please contact us for a free consultation to discuss your options. (727) 451-6900 or email us by clicking here.