Workers’ Compensation Lawyer San Diego, CA

Navigating Traumatic Brain Injuries at Work

Blue and red graphic showing a human head with a traumatic brain injury.

Many workers suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) due to falls, assaults, or being struck by objects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that each day, over 150 people in the U.S. die from TBIs. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and permanent and have a profound impact on your life. If you have suffered a TBI at work in Southern California, get help from an experienced workers' compensation attorney who can help you get fairly compensated.

What causes traumatic brain injuries at work?

Workplace accidents that result in TBIs vary, with some occupations posing higher risks than others. Employees in warehouses and storage facilities face the risk of being hit by heavy items during the process of shelving or retrieving items. Occupations such as roofing, plumbing, electrical work, contracting, and dock labor are also at a heightened risk of experiencing a TBI. Similarly, emergency first responders and airline personnel also face high TBI risks due to the nature of their jobs.

Key contributors include:

  • Construction accidents: Risks of TBIs stem from high falls, being struck by tools or machinery, and vehicle collisions.
  • Slips and falls: Common in diverse settings like warehouses and restaurants, these accidents are caused by hazards such as slippery floors or uneven surfaces and result in head injuries.
  • Vehicle collisions: Impacts during accidents can lead to TBIs, whether from hitting the interior of the vehicle or due to rapid head movements.
  • Explosive environments: Workers in fields like oil and gas, as well as firefighters, face TBI risks from explosions.
  • Violent encounters: TBIs can also arise from confrontations with aggressive individuals in the workplace, including assaults on staff by customers or patients.

Common types of traumatic brain injuries at work

Work-related TBIs can be either primary (occurring at the injury moment) or secondary (emerging over time). The most common primary TBIs include:

  • Concussion
  • Intracranial hematomas (subdural, subarachnoid, intracerebral, intraventricular)
  • Skull fractures (linear, depressed, basilar)
  • Contusions/coup-contrecoup injuries
  • Diffuse axonal injuries from rotational forces.

Secondary injuries that develop from TBIs often include:

  • Hypoxia
  • Ischemia
  • Cerebral edema
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Second impact syndrome.

Signs of a traumatic brain injury

TBIs may not immediately present symptoms. However, they can emerge days, weeks, or even months after a work accident. It's important to get a medical evaluation as soon as possible so a doctor can identify your injury and begin treatment before it worsens. This also helps create a strong link between your head injury and your work accident.

The symptoms of a TBI can vary, but they typically include:

  • Physical symptoms: Headaches and fatigue, vomiting and nausea, loss of consciousness, confusion, speech difficulties, sleep disturbances, loss of balance, seizures, numbness or weakness in extremities, and pupil dilation.
  • Sensory symptoms: Blurred vision, ringing in the ears, sensitivity to light or sound, altered smell, and a persistent bad taste.
  • Cognitive and mental symptoms: Mood fluctuations and swings, depression and anxiety, concentration difficulties, and agitation or aggressiveness.

Do I need an attorney to file a workers' comp claim for a head injury?

Employers and insurers often use various tactics to challenge or minimize TBI-related workers' compensation claims. They might argue that you delayed reporting the incident or failed to file a claim within the statutory timeframe. They might also argue that you didn't seek immediate medical attention. Additionally, employers may question the injury's occurrence during work hours or suggest it resulted from a pre-existing condition.

California workers' comp attorney Robert A. McLaughlin knows the tricks employers and their insurance companies use. He can help ensure your claim gets the attention it deserves and build a strong case on your behalf. He can also represent you before the state workers' comp board if your case goes to litigation. To learn more, contact us today for a free consultation. Our offices are located in San Diego, Chula Vista, and Temecula.

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