Does workers’ compensation cover traumatic brain injury?

If you have a brain injury, you’re not alone. More than five million people in the United States have it, according to the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA). It’s also more common than you think since it affects someone every nine seconds.

Yearly, the BIAA estimates that about 3.5 million kids and adults sustain brain injuries. However, this is a conservative figure since not all cases are reported and many people, including professional athletes, never go to a doctor for treatment.

Famous people with brain injuries

Brain injuries can undeniably be devastating, but with the proper treatment, many TBIs can be overcome--take it from some famous people who accomplished some pretty amazing things after a TBI. Notable victims include Abraham Lincoln, TV journalist Bob Woodruff, and Maze Runner star Dylan O’Brien. These personalities have given brain injuries a human face.

We know Lincoln as the 16th president of the United States and for ending slavery in America. But the famous statesman and lawyer also suffered from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) when he was kicked at the back of the head by a horse. This happened when he was 10 years old while delivering corn to a neighbor’s gristmill. Some say the accident affected his vision and led to depression. In spite of that, Lincoln survived until his life was cut short by an assassin.

Woodruff was injured by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq for ABC News in 2006. To help him recover from TBI, he was kept in a medically induced coma for 36 days. Although his condition was serious, Woodruff lived through his ordeal and went back on the air in 2007 to report on the effects of TBIs on veterans.

In 2016, while working on the third and final Maze Runner film, O’Brien met an accident that left him with a concussion, a facial fracture, and a TBI. The actor confessed that this was the lowest point in his life and many felt he would never return to acting. Fortunately, he recovered months later in time to film American Assassin.

Causes and symptoms of brain injuries

The Mayo Clinic says TBIs may result from blows or penetrating wounds to the head or body. In workers, these are usually caused by the following:

  • Collisions involving vehicles
  • Explosive blasts and other construction injuries
  • Falling from a ladder, stairs, or on a slippery floor
  • Violence like gunshot wounds and assault in the workplace

Because of TBIs, victims may suffer from physical or psychological effects. The following symptoms may appear hours, days, or weeks after the injury:

  • Agitation, confusion, or other unusual behavior
  • Blurred vision, ringing in the ears, or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Coma and other disorders of consciousness
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Mood changes or mood swings
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes

Get the help you need when you need it

Due to the nature of TBIs, going back to work may be challenging — both physically and financially. Victims may find it difficult to do normal activities like eating, dressing, walking, or talking. This is the reason rehabilitation and other medical services are required, but they may cost a lot of money.

If you think you have a TBI, get medical help immediately. If your TBI was work related, consult a workers’ compensation specialist, Maggie Shankle, to know if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If your injury qualifies after a free consultation, you should be compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, and learning new skills if you can’t return to your previous job.

With the help and guidance of a Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist like Maggie Shankle of Shankle Law Firm, PA, you can get the benefits you deserve and have a brighter future. Maggie specializes in workers’ compensation cases, and also handles personal injury law and social security disability. Call her today and learn why many people in North Carolina rely on her.