Although concussions are common occurrences in the workplace, the dangers of them are sometimes underestimated. These head injuries are covered under Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation laws, but employers and insurance companies often resist paying benefits for concussion injuries. If you or a loved one have suffered a concussion on the job, you can count on the aggressive workers’ compensation and concussions attorneys of Nikolaus & Hohenadel.
What Is A Concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a sudden blow to the head. This violent shock can cause the brain to forcefully move back and forth against the interior of the skull. Some of the symptoms of a concussion are:
- Slurred speech
- Blurry vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Sensitivity to light
- Memory loss
A concussion often affects brain function, usually for a temporary period. However, if left untreated, long-term problems may develop. These are a few of the complications that concussion victims may suffer:
- Post-concussion syndrome. Some individuals can have symptoms such as headaches and dizziness for several weeks. Post-concussion syndrome is indicated where these and other symptoms persist longer than three months.
- Post-traumatic headaches. Headaches are a signature symptom of a concussion, and they can last for up to seven days after the head injury.
- Post-traumatic vertigo. Dizziness or a spinning sensation may be recurring problems for days, weeks, or even months after suffering a concussion.
- Second impact syndrome. It is possible to experience a second concussion before realizing you’ve suffered the first one. This may result in rapid brain swelling which in some cases can be fatal.
Studies are also being conducted to determine the effects of multiple brain injuries that do not cause concussion symptoms. Researchers say that multiple impacts could have a cumulative effect over time, leading to further complications.
Causes Of Concussions On The Job Site
Anyone working a job that involves physical labor, heavy machinery, or hazardous conditions is at heightened risk of suffering a concussion. This is especially true where there are falling or moving objects, or there’s a risk of falling down. However, no worker is immune from suffering a concussion. These types of head injuries are also common in automobile accidents, which may be suffered during the course and in the scope of any worker’s employment.
Because of the severe effects that a concussion can have on the brain, it’s critical to seek medical attention if you have suffered any kind of head injury. You may even suffer a concussion without having any noticeable symptoms. Don’t jeopardize your health; see a doctor.
Workers’ Compensation After Concussions
Most people will fully recover from a concussion. But healing requires medical attention, rest, and time away from work. Your doctor may order tests and time off for an extended period of time to ensure your condition has improved. Fortunately, victims can claim workers’ compensation benefits to help with their expenses and losses.
Workers’ compensation is available regardless of who is at fault for a workplace injury such as a concussion. But the worker does have an obligation to report the injury to his or her supervisor. Reporting creates a paper trail of the injury, and failing to give this notice within 120 days can invalidate your claim. The report has to be made within 21 days to ensure that your benefits are retroactive to the date of your injury. However, if you fail to report within 21 days, then you must do so within 120 days of the injury and your benefits will only be retroactive to the date you gave notice.
Next, get immediate medical attention. It is important to inform your doctor that the concussion you’ve sustained is work-related. The employer may also require that you see an employer-approved medical provider during those first 90 days. You may choose your own medical provider after that 90 day period.
Your employer will then submit an injury report to the state and its workers’ compensation carrier, if applicable. Within 21 days of your report of injury, the employer has to decide whether to approve the claim. If the claim is approved, you can receive the following benefits:
- Medical benefits related to your concussion, including hospital treatment and prescription medication
- Lost wages, which are generally (but not always) two-thirds of your average weekly wages
- Specific loss benefits, if applicable, for loss of extremities, vision loss, and hearing impairment
- Disfigurement benefits, if applicable, for permanent disfigurement of your face, neck, or head
Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation and Concussions Attorney?
If your concussion occurred at work you should consult a Workers Compensation attorney. If your concussion workers’ compensation claim is denied, or your employer is otherwise unwilling to adequately compensate you for your injuries, you will need to take further action and the services of a Workers Compensation attorney are essential. Be sure that your attorney is a Certified Workers Compensation Specialist. Having the right attorney in cases like these is essential to protect your legal rights. There are also strict requirements and deadlines that govern your claim, and missing those can compromise your ability to recover benefits.
At Nikolaus & Hohenadel, Jeff Mills is a Certified Workers Compensation specialist and he understands the stress you’re facing after a concussion injury. That’s why we go to work for our clients to demand the compensation they deserve. If your claim has been denied, or you simply have questions about your benefits, give us a call today.