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Work-related head and brain injuries can end your career

Some of the best paying jobs are also the most dangerous. Many times, the reason certain jobs pay well is because they require specific skills or have an increased risk of bodily injury or even death. However, it's important to understand that workers in any industry can sustain serious injuries. Head injuries, as well as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), can happen to just about anyone at work.

In some fields, a TBI could be the result of a fall from a significant height. Construction workers or window washers, for example, could fall and strike their head, resulting in a serious injury. It's also possible for people to sustain TBIs while working on the ground, due to a slip-and-fall incident at work. TBIs can also result from getting hit with objects or a car crash while working. Both employers and injured employees should always take head injuries seriously.

Delayed onset or worsening symptoms often happen with TBIs

People who suffer head or brain injuries may not always report the incident right away. The injured worker may not have immediate symptoms or may worry about retaliation if it seems like an unnecessary incident report. The truth is that for many people, the symptoms of a TBI will not show up immediately. Therefore, it's always a good idea to report any accident that involves hitting your head or losing consciousness.

While you may think you're okay to return to work, your brain could have bruising, swelling or bleeding that you can't see. Over time, that will result in increased pressure on your brain, as there's nowhere for the blood or swollen tissue to go. This can lead to the manifestation of new or worsening symptoms.

These symptoms may include:

  • persistent or worsening headaches
  • nausea
  • dizziness or issues with balance
  • fatigue
  • issues with speech
  • memory problems
  • difficulty focusing
  • changes in mood, behavior or personality
  • weakness in the extremities
  • severe confusion

There are many other potential symptoms as well. They vary significantly depending on the location and severity of the injury. Left untreated, these symptoms could continue to get worse over time.

TBIs can leave you unable to return to work

Some people who suffer a TBI while at work will never be able to return to their career again. Issues with memory, focus and motor control, for example, could leave a TBI sufferer unable to meet the job requirements.

Thankfully, workers' compensation offers medical coverage when you seek treatment, as well as short-term and long-term disability during rehabilitation or when you realize you can't return to work. Filing an incident report after your accident, as well as seeking medical care promptly, can help protect your right to file a claim for compensation and may improve your prognosis if it results in quicker diagnosis and treatment.

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