What You Need to Know About Workplace Head Injuries
On-the-job illnesses and injuries are among the leading causes of head injuries. These wounds send over a million Americans to hospital emergency rooms every year. Rather disturbingly, doctors treat and release the vast majority of these victims. So, many of them do not get the medical care they need.
Brain injuries are degenerative. Initial symptoms, like unconscious and nausea, give way to more advanced symptoms, such as sleeplessness and personality changes. As damage progresses, it often proves fatal.
Furthermore, brain injuries are permanent. Stem cell treatments might be able to reverse these injuries one day, but that day is still far away. For now, a combination of surgery and therapy can reduce the symptoms, but doctors can do no better.
Surgery and physical therapy is costly and lengthy. Fortunately, a New Orleans workers’ compensation attorney can obtain money for medical bills. In most cases, the medical payment benefit lasts up to ten years.
What Causes Head Injuries?
One reason head injuries are so difficult to treat is that they have several different causes. The leading causes are:
- Trauma: Sudden, strong blows to the head cause most Traumatic Brain Injuries. However, these blows are certainly not the only cause. The cumulative effects of smaller blows often trigger TBIs as well.
- Motion: Many people think the brain fits snugly against the skull, like a head in a helmet. But the reality is more like a child’s head in an adult’s helmet. So, when people fall, their brains repeatedly slam against the insides of their skulls.
- Noise: Sudden, loud noises, like crashing tools or explosive demolition blasts, trigger shockwaves which disrupt brain functions. Noise-related injuries particularly affect Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
Falls are usually the leading cause of job-related head injuries. Motor vehicle collisions are a close second.
Acquired Brain Injuries (ABIs) are sometimes a problem as well. Certain medical conditions cause hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain). If the sickness is work-related, workers’ compensation might provide a no-fault remedy, as outlined below.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Head injuries are among the most commonly misdiagnosed injuries. Not all victims suffer signature symptoms. Additionally, the brain often conceals its own injuries. So, many of these victims do not realize the extent of their injuries.
Louisiana workers’ compensation victims have the right to choose their own doctors. It’s important for victims to exercise this right and see doctors who specialize in workplace injuries and brain injuries.
As mentioned, brain injury treatment usually means surgery and physical therapy. Brain surgery is a very delicate procedure which must be done quickly.
Brain injury physical therapy is nothing like broken bone physical therapy. Brain injury therapists must train uninjured areas of the brain to assume lost functions. This process is often long and frustrating for everyone involved. But there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel, because these efforts usually pay off in the long term.
In court, victims must prove fault or negligence to obtain brain injury compensation. But workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance. Victims only need to prove an occupational connection to receive money for:
- Lost Wages: Most victims have temporary disabilities. Workers’ compensation usually pays two-thirds of the victim’s average weekly wage for the duration of their temporary disabilities.
- Medical Bills: Workers’ compensation insurance companies usually pay reasonably necessary medical bills directly. Most victims never see a medical bill, and they are not financially responsible for any unpaid charges.
Once upon a time, the workers’ compensation system sped financial relief to injured victims. That’s no longer the case. The process is often long and frustrating. So, claimants must be prepared to wait for their benefits. The good news is that benefits are usually retroactive to the date of illness or injury.
Contact a Hard-Hitting Attorney
Head injuries are among the most serious kinds of job injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced New Orleans workers’ compensation lawyer, contact Lunsford Baskin & Priebe, PLLC. After-hours visits are available.