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The dangers of brain injury in the workplace

Accident of a male worker at the construction site with an injured head.

A workplace accident that results in a traumatic brain injury can be devastating, as TBIs are among the most serious injuries someone can suffer while on-the-job.

Unfortunately, people sustain devastating brain injuries every day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 61,000 people die in the United States each year as a result of a traumatic brain injury. Many who survive such injuries face permanent disabilities, and they may need to give up their careers and experience a reduction in quality of life.

While not every brain injury is the result of a workplace accident, TBIs are common injuries in many occupations including construction, transportation, forestry, fishing, agriculture, and emergency medical services workers. A concussion, which many medical providers call a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), is the most common type of brain injury.

What is a brain injury and what are the symptoms?

A traumatic brain injury can be caused by a bump or blow to the head, as the force of the blow disrupts normal function of the brain. The severity can range from a concussion to severe brain damage resulting in disability or even death.

Symptoms of a brain injury may appear soon after the accident, but also may not be apparent until days later. They include:

  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Mood changes
  • Memory loss

Serious effects of a TBI include:

  • Seizures
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Slurred speech
  • Extreme nausea
  • Trouble waking from sleep
  • Pupil dilation
  • Loss of coordination

What are common workplace accidents that result in brain injuries?

A worker can hit their head and suffer a brain injury as a result of a fall, a car accident, or being struck by an object or against an object.

TBI accidents can occur when workers fall from ladders or roofs. They may also be the result of a worker walking on a slippery surface or navigating a cluttered area.

What can employers do to prevent TBIs at work?

Almost all brain injury accidents are preventable. To reduce the risk to workers, employers need to ensure workers have proper protective equipment such as:

  • Hardhats
  • Harnesses
  • Guardrails
  • Lifelines
  • Footwear with proper traction

In the transportation industry, employers should provide proper training and encourage employees who use vehicles to wear seatbelts and follow the rules of the road.

What should you do after suffering a brain injury at work?

If you or a loved one sustained a concussion or some other type of brain injury at work, seek immediate medical attention. Unfortunately, some people might dismiss a blow to the head as a minor accident. Symptoms of a brain injury may not be apparent in the minutes or even hours after the accident. But left untreated, they can become fatal.

Injured workers should file an accident report and may need to pursue a workers’ compensation claim to recover lost wages, the cost of medical bills, and any other eligible benefits.

In some cases, a person or company other than the business you work for might have been negligent and responsible for your accident. If a third party is responsible, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.

Let an experienced attorney help you through the process. At Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP, we put experience and resources to work for those who have been injured on the job in New York. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. We proudly serve clients in New York City and throughout New York State.

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