A worker who slips and falls may not realize the extent of his or her injuries immediately. In some cases, injuries are not as obvious when compared to a broken bone or a crush injury. One type of injury that can be less obvious is a brain injury.
When a worker suffers a head injury, they may simply think it was a bump on the head and continue on with life. But in certain situations, the head injury may be something more serious. A traumatic brain injury can have a serious effect on a worker's ability to perform job functions, communicate effectively, and could even cause the worker to fall into a coma.
According to the Brain Injury Association of America, each year approximately 1.7 Americans suffer a brain injury. An even larger number of people are permanently affected by a traumatic brain injury.
Workers who suffer a head injury on the job should understand the ramifications of a possible brain injury. Often, brain injury victims find that repercussions can include:
- Financial strain - months of lost wages combined with increasing medical costs can overwhelm and worker and his or her family
- Permanent disability - an injury that is not diagnosed immediately could cause permanent damage, whether that be mentally, physically or emotionally
- Drain on resources - brain injury victims often require home care, even after being released from the hospital
The article notes that some believe early diagnosis of a head injury can help a brain injury victim get the help he or she needs. Rehabilitation can give a victim the best possible chances for recovery.
But the road to recovery is expensive. Workers who are injured on-the-job can claim workers' compensation benefits that can help financially. In addition, a head injury victim may be entitled to disability benefits. It may seem complicated, but having someone who can help walk a victim through the process could make it worth it in the end.
Source: Missoulian online, "Lack of awareness, undiagnosed victims contribute to traumatic brain injury crisis," Betsy Cohen, 19 March 2011