Workers Compensation (WC) provides monetary support to employees who are injured on the job, in order to pay for both related medical expenses and to provide income in the event the employee is not able to work due to his or her injuries. In most instances, employers are required to provide WC insurance or the equivalent for employees.
For injured employees to receive worker’s compensation for any type of injury, they must have sustained an injury while carrying out their job duties. Those who suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI) on the job face special challenges in navigating the complicated WC system.
If you are injured at work in any way, your employer should be notified immediately. Brain injuries are unpredictable. What seems like mild bump on the head today can become a major problem in the future. The first step to protecting your rights is reporting the injury.
For someone who suffers from a mild TBI, there are a number of potential consequences. Those who survive the injury may experience changes in personality, slurred speech, vision problems, memory loss, lack of coordination, aphasia, irritability, reduced concentration, and vertigo.
People who suffer from severe TBI often incur astronomic costs in order to recover, including lengthy hospital stays that are frequently longer than a week, extensive rehabilitation costs, medication costs, and at times a personal caregiver or nurse and vocational re-training.
The total cost of a serious brain injury can exceed six figures in the first year. Your physician will provide a diagnosis and document your potential for recovery and expected course of treatment.
The employer’s WC insurance company may require you to undergo an Independent Medical Examination (IME). This is a routine examination used by insurance companies to screen for maligning workers and to be certain the treatment given by the patient’s doctor is appropriate and effective.
If the insurance company orders an IME, you must go, or face losing benefits. Those with TBI can easily forget dates, have difficulty driving or misplace medical records needed for the IME. It’s a good idea to have a friend or family member who can help you make your appointments and keep track of your records.
Because insurance companies must be suspect of every WC claim, you may find it difficult to secure compensation for your injuries, despite having a valid claim. Even if your physician documents your disability, the IME doctor may offer a differing opinion. If you are denied treatment or disability payments from your WC insurer, you should talk to an experienced attorney that knows both the complexity of TBI and the WC system.
If you were seriously injured at work and suffer from TBI, do not hesitate to contact our office for help. We can make sure you have all of the appropriate paperwork, forms and medical records, minimizing problems with your WC claim. We will also advocate for you with the insurance company, making sure you receive all of the compensation to which you are entitled.