Brain Injury in Workers Compensation Cases
In the last quarter century, significant strides have been seen in preventing deaths and restoration of quality of life in patients who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. The improved statistics are thought to be a result of better workplace safety and better medical treatment. In this article, prominent workers compensation attorneys at the Orange County office of Cantrell Green discuss various statistics and trends that have developed in terms of work related brain injuries and advances in their treatment.
Work-Related Brain Injury Statistics
Surprisingly, it was not until 2011 that a statistical study of work-related brain injuries was published. That publication studied brain injuries sustained on the job between the years of 2003 through 2008. It estimated that there was an average of approximately 1,200 work-related brain injuries each year that resulted in a fatality, which is approximately a quarter of all work-related fatalities that were reported.
The study further observed that about half of the brain injury fatalities were among workers in construction, transportation, farming, forestry and fishing. The two major causes of work related brain injuries were motor vehicle accidents and falls. Physical assaults were responsible for about 20%, and the rest of the brain injuries arose from being struck with an object.
A nationwide study that monitors brain injuries (work related and otherwise) estimated that in 2013, there were 2.8 million brain injury-related visits to emergency rooms, many of which resulted in hospitalizations and in some cases, even death. In fact, some estimates suggest that approximately 2% of the entire US population is currently suffering from the effects of a brain injury.
The vast majority of job-related brain injuries falls into a category termed “mild traumatic brain injury,” which is also referred to as concussion. A national research program, TRACK, which currently follows around 2,300 actual patients and the care given to them, estimates that 22% of concussion patients may be functionally impaired up to one year after the injury. It is not uncommon for concussions to result in short or long term disability and loss of employment. Concussions are also thought to be a contributory factor in some cases of homelessness and even incarcerations.
Brain Injury Care Advancements and Deficiencies
Studies of brain injuries sustained in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and from studies of football players have resulted in a greater understanding of brain trauma. However, there is still a long way to go in terms of understanding, and in designing protocols for treatment.
A major asset in the fight against brain injury-related fatalities is the increased availability of Level I and Level II trauma centers. These centers are staffed by physicians with advanced training and expertise in treating brain injuries, which dramatically increases the possibility of recovery and positive quality of life.
Treatment protocols are under a bit of scrutiny. It appears that both moderate and severe cases usually result in admission into intensive care units. However, despite the advances associated with trauma centers, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, less severe cases seem to receive the same type of treatment that was available in the late 1990s.
Multi-disciplinary Efforts to Improve Brain Injury Treatment
The medical community has placed considerable effort into building bridges between various disciplines of care, such as neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, and physical medicine and rehabilitation. In fact, in 2010, these various disciplines worked together to create a certification in brain injury medicine. Part of the certification includes treatment guidelines that are constantly being updated.
In this regard, injured employees, employers, workers compensation attorneys and workers’ compensation insurers all are in rare agreement: a collaborative campaign to greatly reduce fatalities and to ensure better recovery in work related brain injuries is greatly needed.
Brain Injury Workers Compensation Attorney
Our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at Cantrell Green can ensure your claim is handled promptly and efficiently. We don’t just focus on the legal aspects of your case – we see ourselves as advocates for individuals and families whose lives have been impacted by work-related brain trauma. We understand how such injuries can result in financial and emotional burdens, and we know how to help you.
Our workers compensation attorneys have secured significant settlements for brain injury victims and their families. If you or a loved one sustained a traumatic brain injury on the job, please contact us for a consultation. We will review your case and suggest the best possible course of action to ensure you receive the benefits and compensation to which you are entitled.
Call our Workers Compensation attorneys for a FREE CONSULTATION: 800-964-8047