Brain Injuries & Workers’ Comp Claims
A brain injury at work can lead to severe impairment and even death. If you suspect a loved one or co-worker has suffered a brain injury, help them get medical attention immediately. Acting quickly can prevent some brain damage from being fatal.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) make up about 20% of all reported work-related injuries in the United States. Although you may not hear about these instances very often, they are surprisingly common.
Motor vehicle accidents and falls in the workplace are the leading cause of brain injuries, which means that the transportation and construction industries see the most TBIs. However, you can easily suffer from brain damage by falling or being hit in the head by a blunt object.
Can I File a Workers’ Comp Claim for a Brain Injury?
If you suffered a brain injury at work or while completing a work-related duty, then you may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim for your brain injury.
You need to report the injury to your employer to get the workers’ compensation process started. That should help get you the treatment that you need as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that the term “brain injury” is a relatively broad because it encompasses all head injuries as well.
Most brain injuries that are work-related are caused by some kind of blunt trauma to the head. The following types of trauma can cause brain injuries:
- Hematoma: Collection or clotting of blood outside of blood vessels
- Hemorrhage: Uncontrolled bleeding
- Concussion: Generally caused by the brain hitting the hard walls of the skull
- Edema: Swelling of the brain
- Skull fracture: The skull bone becomes broken or cracked, damaging the brain
- Diffuse axonal injury: Injury to the brain that destroys brain cells but does not cause bleeding
Any time you suffer a brain injury, it is a good idea to seek medical treatment. It can sometimes be difficult to spot damage to the brain, but going without treatment can lead to long-term and even fatal problems.
How Can I File a Brain Injury Claim?
You should get medical care right away if you suspect a brain injury. Do not wait to get permission from your employer—immediate treatment is the key to decreasing the likelihood that your injury causes permanent damage.
Follow these general steps to start the claim process.
- Report the injury to your employer.
- Fill out an incident report if requested by your employer.
- Pick a provider from a list of approved doctors that your employer gives to you.
- Seek treatment with that doctor and follow all medical recommendations closely.
- Wait to receive the decision from your employer or its insurance company about whether it will deny or accept your claim. This decision must be provided to you within 21 days of the date of your injury.
- If your claim is denied, speak with a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney to dispute the denial.
- If your claim is accepted, continue getting medical care and benefits as permitted under the law.
Even if your claim is accepted, it is still a good idea to do at least a quick consultation with an experienced work comp attorney. He or she will be able to give you an idea of whether you are getting all of the benefits that you should be entitled to receive.
How Common is a Brain Injury at Work?
You may be surprised to learn just how common a brain injury caused by work activities truly is. In 2014, for example, there were roughly 80,000 brain injuries that resulted in time away from work according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Are Brain Injuries Common in Certain Industries?
Work-related falls are frequently caused by slippery, cluttered, or unsafe walkways. Uneven floors, unprotected edges, and wall openings also cause falls.
Any of these types of calls may result in a workplace brain injury. However, brain injuries are more common in the construction industry or in workplaces where an employee must work at a significant height. In fact, between 2003 to 2010, there were a reported 2,200 work fatalities due to traumatic brain injuries in the construction industry.
Examples of other industries where brain injuries are more likely include:
- Warehouse work
- General industrial settings
- Window washers
- Traveling sales or services
What Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can I Get?
In general, you may be entitled to the following work comp benefits after a brain injury.
- Weekly compensation as you heal
- Payment of medical care, prescriptions, and devices
- Compensation for lost wages for your permanent partial or total disability
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits
While workers’ compensation benefits are limited, the seriousness of brain injuries may warrant payment of weekly benefits for the rest of your life if you are unable to go back to work.
How Much Compensation Should I Expect for a Brain Injury?
It is difficult to estimate the value of a workers’ compensation case in Pennsylvania because they are based on the average weekly wage that you earned before the accident. Your average weekly wage starts as the baseline for your benefits, and you will then generally get two-thirds of that number per week as you heal from your injury.
If there is any permanent brain damage, you may be eligible for additional benefits. Specifically, if you are determined to be partially or totally disabled, then you will get other benefits based on your average weekly wage, even after you can go back to work.
Of course, your total benefits will also include payment of your medical bills and travel expenses related to attending medical appointments.
Workers’ Comp Lawyers For Your Brain Injury Claim
If you or a loved one has suffered from a brain injury at work, then you need to speak with an experienced PA workers’ compensation attorney.
We can explain what benefits you should be receiving from your employer based on your injury and prognosis. We can also fight to ensure that you get the benefits you deserve.
Call 800-952-9640 today or use the form for a free consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney.