A head injury is one of the most serious types of workplace injuries.
Most work-related head injuries result from slip and fall accidents, falling objects, motor vehicle accidents, and defective and dangerous equipment. A worker who has suffered a brain concussion may experience no symptoms at all, or in worse cases, may become unconscious. Other symptoms include loss of equilibrium, abnormal behavior, nausea, confusion, and blurred vision.
Common Causes of Work-Related Head Injuries
The brain is covered by the skull which acts as a protective shell. Inside the skull there is cerebrospinal fluid that acts as a cushion between the skull bone and brain. A concussion occurs when a head trauma causes the brain to push through the layer of cerebrospinal fluid and hit the skull. Workers who are at a higher risk of head injuries are:
- fire fighters
- construction workers
- delivery personnel
- race car drivers
- loading dock workers
- professional athletes
Head Injuries and Workers’ Compensation
The first thing a worker must do after suffering a brain injury is to get medical attention and then report the injury to the employer or supervisor. Seeking medical attention is important even if there are no visible signs of injury, because the symptoms of a concussion may not appear right away and any delay may cause a serious threat to life. It also acts as proof that the injury is work-related.
Diagnosing a Concussion
File a report of injury with your employer as soon as possible after the injury. Any delays in reporting may jeopardize your workers’ compensation claim. When you report your head injury to the doctor, diagnostic tests may be ordered to evaluate the extent and type of injury. Some common tests used to diagnose concussions are:
- CT scan: An imaging technique used to identify hemorrhages, skull fractures, and hematomas.
- MRI scan: An imaging technique used to assess brain function.
If both tests show no evidence of a serious, life-threatening brain injury, a brain concussion may be diagnosed. In order to treat a concussion, several days of rest may be recommended so that the brain can return to its normal function on its own. After a few days, doctors may perform another round of tests to evaluate how well you have recovered from the injury, and once the doctor feels that you have achieved maximum medical improvement, you will be allowed to return to work.
Reaching Maximum Medical Improvement
A concussion is not a life-threatening condition and rarely leads to permanent or even temporary disability. After you have reached maximum medical improvement, you will be able to return to work and perform normal duties. However, if you feel that you have not completely recovered from your injury, immediately consult an experienced Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer. Contact The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300. We will help you get the benefits that you may be entitled to.