Head Injuries & Workers’ Compensation Claims
Workplace head injuries, including those to the eyes, face and skull, are commonly caused by trauma to the face or head from falling objects, heavy machinery accidents, and slip and fall accidents. Because of the proximity to the brain, injuries to the head are among the most serious and life-threatening workplace injuries.
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry lists workplace head injuries among the most common in the state, accounting for 12% (20,833) of total injuries in 2018 and an estimated 8.5% of injuries nationally. In total, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that workplace head injuries impact roughly 100,000 workers annually.
If you’ve suffered a workplace head injury and are in need of workers’ compensation, it is extremely important to know what types of injuries qualify for benefits, how to properly file a workers’ compensation claim, the amount of compensation you can expect, and the assistance that an attorney can provide to ensure your maximum award amount.
Can I File a Workers’ Comp Claim for a Head Injury?
Yes. Employees who suffer from workplace head injuries may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Workplace head injuries are predominantly caused by falling objects, slips and falls, vehicle accidents and other blunt trauma to the skull or face.
The most common injuries to the head are:
- Recurrent Traumatic Brain Injuries (Second Impact Syndrome)
- Skull Fractures (Depressed or Compound)
- Coup-Contrecoup (Multi-Side Contusions)
- Torn Nerve Tissue
- Anoxic Brain Injuries (Oxygen Deprivation)
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
How Can I Make a Head Injury Claim?
After suffering a workplace head injury, filing a workers’ compensation claim may pose a daunting task. While your health should be your first and foremost concern, ensuring that your claim is filed properly and within the Pennsylvania worker’s compensation filing deadlines can be the difference between receiving the benefits you need and not.
The proper steps for filing a workers’ compensation claim in Pennsylvania are as follows:
1. Report the injury to your employer.
As soon as possible following injury, employees should report their injury and impairment to their employer. Under Pennsylvania law, reports are required to be made within the first 21 days of injury to ensure retroactive benefits from the date of injury. If the injury is not reported within the first 21 days, employees have 120 days following the injury to report, yet benefits will only be provided from the date of notice.
2. Get immediate medical help and inform the doctor that your injury work-related.
While it may not seem immediately relevant to your care, informing your medical provider that the injury is work-related ensures that all medical records stay consistent with your workers’ compensation claim.
Under Pennsylvania law, medical treatment must initially be sought within the first 90 days of notice to your employer, and when applicable with an employer-approved medical provider. After the first 90 days, you may choose your own medical provider.
3. File a workers’ compensation claim.
After being notified of your injury, your employer is required to submit their First Report of Injury to the state. Then, you have a three-year deadline from the date of injury to file your worker’s comp claim (and maintain your eligibility for benefits). Consulting with a workers’ compensation attorney during this process is a good strategy for maximizing your benefits and ensuring your claim is filed properly.
How Common are Workplace Head Injuries?
Workplace head injuries are, unfortunately, very common. Today, they are responsible for roughly 1 in 8 of all workplace injuries in Pennsylvania and just under 1 in 10 nationally.
However, as shown by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) data, workplace injuries remain in a state of decline. In fact, the total incidence of workplace injuries, including workplace head injuries, has consistently declined (year over year) for most of the last two decades and each of the last 6 years.
Are Head Injuries Common in Certain Industries?
Because of their relationship to slip and fall accidents, heavy machinery operation and falling objects, industries with the highest probability of workplace head injuries are:
- Construction (Laborers and Freighters)
- Manufacturing (Stock and Material Movers)
- Trade and Transportation (Retail and Truck Drivers)
- Health Care (Nursing and Ambulatory Staff)
What Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can I Get?
Under the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act, head injuries resulting from overexertion in the workplace or workplace accidents are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in a variety of forms, including:
- Replacement of lost wages (weekly installments or in lump-sum settlements)
- Payment of medical expenses
- Specific loss benefits (loss of limb/use of limb)
- Disfigurement benefits
Workers’ compensation protections, provided under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, afford employees financial protection and security in the form of full medical treatment coverage and replacement of lost wages, in the event of a workplace injury.
Compensation and benefits afforded under the Act, are typically determined by the severity and type of the workplace injury an employee suffers, as well as the amount of lost wages and period the employee is unable to work.
How Much Compensation Should I Expect for a Workplace Head Injury?
In Pennsylvania, weekly compensation loss benefits are generally provided at between 66.6% and 90% of average weekly wage (AWW) and capped at $1,025.00 per week.
Workers’ compensation benefits are determined based on:
- Severity and classification of the injury
- Wage loss from the injury
- Medical expenses
Data from the National Safety Council (NSC) states the national average cost of a worker’s compensation claim for workplace head-injury is $58,013 (in lost wages and medical expenses). Below is a table for estimated settlement amounts based on the NSC claim cost average for head injuries.
|Severity of Head Injury||Estimated Settlement Amounts||Types of Injury|
|Mild||$1 – $38,676||Concussion, mild contusions, etc.|
|Moderate to Severe||$38,676 – $58,013||Skull fractures, severe concussions, mild TBI, etc.|
|Extremely Severe||$58,013 (+)||TBI, loss of use, etc.|
Workers’ Comp Lawyer for Head Injury Claims
After a workplace head injury, it is essential to work with a qualified and experienced workers’ compensation attorney to ensure your eligibility and maximum possible benefit award.
The highly qualified and dedicated team of attorneys at Krasno, Krasno, & Onwudinjo is here to assist you in all aspects of your head injury workers’ compensation claim. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today via email or call us at (844) 243-4849 or toll-free at 877-794-2396.