While any on-the-job injury can result in severe pain, periods of disability, and medical expenses, workplace brain injuries can have a lifelong impact on your ability to continue in your occupation, enjoy your normal daily activities, and care for your loved ones. Employees can suffer head trauma in many workplace accidents which include motor vehicle accidents, falls from ladders/roofs/scaffoldings on construction sites, or objects falling on workers on the ground. Given the devastating impact of a brain injury, injured workers need to understand their legal rights to pursue worker’s compensation benefits and damages against negligent third parties. This blog post provides information about head injuries on-the-job.
What types of traumatic brain injuries occur in worksite accidents?
The two common types of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) include closed head injuries and open head injuries. Whereas the seriousness of an open head injury typically is apparent because these accidents involve penetration of the skull and brain by an object, close head injuries can be far more insidious in nature. A blow to the head experienced during a tumble off a ladder or the sudden forward and backward jerking motion during a motor vehicle collision can cause the brain to slam off the hard boney interior of the skull. Workers sometimes exhibit few or minor symptoms in the immediate aftermath of a closed head injury.
A type of closed head injury referred to as an “epidural hematoma” occurs when there is bleeding between the dura matter (fibrous tissue between the brain and skull) and the skull. These injuries often result from a blow to the head that causes arteries to be torn. This type of injury can result in a period of complete lucidity before the subsequent appearance of neurological symptoms. Because there is no obvious penetration of the skull, this can result in delays in reporting the injury and/or seeking medical attention. Since closed brain injuries can be just as serious as an open head injury, workplace accidents that cause head trauma should be reported to your employer immediately.
What types of symptoms might indicate a potentially significant brain injury?
Serious head injuries can result in obvious reasons for concern, such as adversely impacted motor skills, impaired speech, coma, or even death. However, there are many other signs that should be noted and reported to the treating physician, which include but are not limited to the following:
- Short-term memory loss
- Loss of consciousness
- Depression (Mood changes)
What forms of compensation are available for a brain injury that occurs while an employee is working?
If you are struck in a car accident while making deliveries for your employer or you fall on a construction job, your exclusive remedy for a brain injury against your employer typically will be benefits from the worker’s compensation system. These benefits include but are not limited to temporary disability payments, free medical care, and compensation for any permanent disability based on your degree of long-term incapacity. However, many forms of compensation awarded in personal injury lawsuits are not available through a worker’s compensation claim. Damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship and/or society, and punitive damages can be sought against a third-party in a civil lawsuit. Recovery of worker’s compensation benefits does not turn on negligence by your employer, but a third party lawsuit must be based on negligent, reckless or intentional conduct by the third-party.
An on-the-job injury can have a significant adverse impact on your family. We recognize that injured employees are concerned about their health, finances, job, and family obligations. Delaware worker’s compensation lawyer Ryan Zavodnick serves as an advocate and guide through the process of pursuing worker’s compensation benefits. Call us today at (302) 364-6047 to learn how we can help.