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Returning to work with a traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injuries affect many workers every year and often make it difficult for people to return to work.

While there are many dangers that workers face on the job, traumatic brain injuries may be one of the most common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 30 percent of all injury deaths involve traumatic brain injuries. In one year, approximately 2.8 million people visited the emergency room, were hospitalized or died because of traumatic brain damage. This serious type of injury affects people who work across many industries in the United States, from loading docks, warehouses and construction sites, to corporate offices and small businesses.

What are traumatic brain injuries?

When the head experiences a forceful blow, it causes the soft brain tissue to reverberate inside the skull cavity and hit against the hard bone. The impact may cause the tissue to bruise, bleed and become inflamed. In some cases, the effects of brain trauma are immediate. People may experience seizures, go into a coma or lose certain sensory abilities. In other situations, however, it may be days or weeks after the accident occurred until the worker notices that something is not quite right. In any case, getting immediate medical attention is essential for those suffering from TBI.

Occupational limitations

Traumatic brain damage can severely limit the types of activities people can perform. Depending on what area of the brain that was injured, workers may be unable to concentrate and focus on what they are doing. Furthermore, they may suffer from the inability to remember certain details. TBI can cause the following symptoms, which could make it hard for people to get the job done:

· Persistent and intense headaches or migraines.

· Tingling in the extremities, and muscle tremors.

· Inability to communicate with others.

· Sensory deficiencies, such as hearing and vision problems.

· Dizziness or loss of orientation.

Medical intervention and therapy may help to alleviate or improve some symptoms of TBI. Yet, some damage could be long-term or permanent and effect people for the rest of their lives.

Back to work

A study conducted in Colorado found that of all the people who were hospitalized with traumatic brain damage in the state, only 50 percent returned to work within the first year. Another study published in the National Institutes of Health found that 40 percent of TBI patients returned to work after one or two years. Of those patients, a significant number were unable to perform the same work duties that they did before the injury.

Getting what you deserve

If you received a traumatic brain injury while on the job, you may suffer financial and emotional struggles as you attempt to recover from your injuries. It can be difficult to pay for medical expenses while missing paychecks from being unable to work. An attorney may be helpful in exploring your legal options and ensure you get the proper financial assistance that you deserve during this time.