Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries are among the most serious types of injuries that occur in the workplace. Research suggests that around 25 percent of all mild traumatic brain injuries in adults occur at work. Head injuries may require costly treatment and cause permanent disabilities in some cases. An injured worker may have reduced employment options after a serious head injury.
An injured employee should receive paid medical care for treatment of a workplace head injury through the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Most employers in Georgia are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance to protect workers. But some employers may try to deny benefits or dispute a workers’ comp claim.
If you’ve sustained a head injury at work and have questions about the benefits you should receive, contact Gregory Smith Law, LLC, right away. As a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer, attorney Gregory Smith has spent more than 25 years helping injured workers claim the benefits they’re owed after a workplace injury. Contact us today for a free initial consultation with a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney.
Common Causes of Head Injuries at Work
Some of the more common causes of head injuries at work are:
- Slip-and-fall/trip-and-fall accidents – Among the most common ways that people sustain head injuries at work are slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall accidents. Someone who slips backward might slam the back of their head into the ground. A worker who trips and has forward momentum might hit their head on a piece of furniture or the floor. The result is often a severe injury to the head or brain.
- Falling objects – Large or small objects that fall can cause serious injury. Falling-object injuries are especially common at construction sites and in the manufacturing industry.
- Motor-vehicle accidents – If you’re involved in a car accident while engaged in a work-related activity, that is considered a workplace accident. (Commuting to or from your job doesn’t count.) Car accidents and truck accidents often lead to severe head injuries. These injuries can prove fatal in some circumstances.
- Defective equipment – Heavy industrial equipment that is defective or has worn parts can malfunction or explode. The blast wave of the explosion can cause a brain injury to anyone working in the vicinity.
Symptoms of Head Injuries
The symptoms of head injuries can be varied, depending on the severity. Some of the more common symptoms are:
- Mild head injuries –
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Difficulty talking
- Loss of balance or dizziness
- Sensitivity to sounds or light
- Ears ringing
- Changes in your ability to smell
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty focusing
- Mood swings
- Heightened anxiety
- Brief loss of consciousness
- Moderate to severe head injuries –
- Persistent headaches
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Convulsions or seizures
- Pupil dilation in one or both eyes
- Clear fluid draining from the nose or ears
- Numbness or weakness in your fingers or toes
- Loss of bodily coordination
- Slurred speech
- Agitation, restlessness
- Loss of consciousness from several minutes to a few hours
- Inability to awaken from sleep
If you experience these symptoms after a head injury at work, see a doctor right away, especially if you experience several symptoms at the same time.
How Can You Avoid Head Injuries During Work?
There are ways that employers and employees can reduce the chance of a head injury at work. If you’re an employer or employee, you can:
- Remove any hazards that could cause someone to slip, trip, or fall. This includes clearing both walkways and workspaces of stray cords, spilled liquids, random clutter, and other trip hazards.
- Make sure to put up warning signs if someone spills liquids in the workplace and clean up the spill as soon as possible.
- Use the handrails whenever you’re using the stairs.
- Avoid standing on desks, chairs, and tables if you need to reach a high object.
- Avoid standing on the top two steps of a ladder if you’re working from heights.
- Make sure your helmet is in good condition and fits properly if your job requires you to wear a hard hat or helmet.
- Keep any objects stored on shelves as secure as possible to keep them from falling.
- Make sure any vehicles used by employees are well-maintained.
- Keep employee fatigue to a minimum by having adequate staffing.
- Have ongoing safety training.
What Is the Average Workers’ Compensation Head Injury Settlement?
Serious head injuries can be both frightening and costly events since they carry the risk of long-term brain damage. Workers’ compensation benefits will cover the medical treatment you need until you either heal from your injury or your doctor determines that you have reached maximum medical improvement. You may also be able to receive wage-replacement benefits to help cover your living expenses while you are unable to work and under a doctor’s care.
The workers’ compensation settlement you may be entitled to may vary depending on the severity of your injury and other factors. According to data published by the National Safety Council, workers’ compensation claims involving the head or central nervous system tend to be much higher than other types of claims. They averaged close to $90,000 per claim filed in 2018 and 2019. A workers’ compensation attorney can evaluate your losses and the potential value of any brain injury settlement you might be eligible to receive.
Injured workers generally cannot sue their employer after a workplace accident. Workers’ compensation benefits are the exclusive remedy for receiving treatment and compensation for a workplace injury. However, if someone other than your employer caused your injuries (such as the driver of another car in a work-related car accident), you might be able to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party demanding compensation. Personal injury claims allow you to seek compensation for a wider range of losses than you can seek can access through a workers’ compensation claim.
In a personal injury case, you may recover compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Damaged personal property
- Lost wages
- Reduced future earning potential
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological suffering
Contact a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
If you’ve sustained a head injury at work in Georgia, you need to talk with a workers’ compensation lawyer to understand your legal options for pursuing compensation. At Gregory Smith Law, LLC, we will help you access the full benefits available to you. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.