Work-Related Head Injuries: A Closer Look
Largely due to better understanding of these wounds, head injury-related hospital admissions have increased by 53 percent since 2006. Brain injuries are degenerative. Initial symptoms, like unconsciousness and vomiting, quickly give way to more advanced symptoms, like tinnitus (ringing in the ear), severe headaches, and mood swings. These symptoms make it difficult or impossible to function.
Because these injuries get so much worse so quickly, prompt medical attention from a physician who specializes in such matters is essential. Since Mississippi law allows injured victims to choose their own doctors, a Jackson workers’ compensation attorney can quickly connect these victims with good doctors, so they get the help they need. As outlined below, there is much more an attorney can do as well.
What Causes Job-Related Head Injuries?
Falls and motor vehicle collisions cause most job-related head injuries. Frequently, the sudden, violent motion, as opposed to a trauma impact, is the culprit.
Contrary to popular myth, the brain does not fit snugly inside the skull, like a head in a football helmet. Instead, the skull is basically a water tank which suspends the brain in cerebrospinal fluid. The motion of a serious fall or car crash causes the brain to slam violently against the inside of the skull.
Many diagnostic tests do not detect soft tissue injuries like these. As a result, doctors often dismiss the aforementioned initial symptoms as shock from the injury. So, the patient’s condition deteriorates.
Head Injury Treatment
Brain injuries are permanent. Once brain cells die, they never regenerate. However, a combination of surgery and physical therapy usually manages head injury symptoms.
Brain surgery usually involves procedures which reduce brain swelling and prevent the injury from getting physically worse. As the name implies, brain surgery is a very delicate and risky procedure. Not all surgeons are qualified to perform these operations, and not all victims are good candidates for these procedures.
As for physical therapy, these practitioners must train uninjured areas of the brain to assume lost functions. The process is long and progress is uneven.
Since work-related brain injuries require long term treatment, substantial compensation is usually available.
Medical bill payment is usually the biggest component of this compensation. Following a head injury, the medical bills alone often exceed $100,000. Additional physical therapy could add another tens of thousands of dollars.
Many studies connect the length of brain injury physical therapy with overall progress. However, as mentioned, that progress is often uneven. Therefore, many insurance companies try to prematurely pull the financial plug. However, even if progress temporarily stalls, most victims can still improve substantially.
During physical therapy, most victims are unable to work. So, workers’ compensation pays two-thirds of their average weekly wage for the duration of a temporary disability, at least in most cases. The average weekly wage includes not only regular cash compensation, but also irregular or non-cash compensation like performance bonuses and housing allowances.
Count on a Diligent Attorney
Work-related head wounds cause permanent, but treatable, injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Jackson workers’ compensation lawyer, contact Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.