Did you or a loved one suffer a serious head or brain injury at work?
Our Macon, GA injury lawyers can help secure your workers’ compensation benefits.
577 Mulberry St, Suite 600
Macon, GA 31201-8242
8:30am – 5:30pm (M-F)
Closed Saturday & Sunday
Attorneys available on weekends by appointment
Every year, thousands of Americans are killed or disabled due to traumatic brain and head injuries. A life-changing accident can happen anywhere — at home, while driving and even in the workplace. Far too many hardworking Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury in the workplace, often requiring the injured worker to take days or weeks off in order to recover.
While personal protective equipment (PPE) and preventative safety measures can go a long way towards reducing the risk of traumatic injury in the workplace, statistics show that certain dangerous occupations and professions are especially prone to head and brain injuries. These include construction workers, first responders, loading dock workers, warehouse workers, professional athletes and people who drive for a living.
If you get hurt at work in Georgia, you likely qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Injured workers are eligible for these no-fault benefits regardless of whether the accident was their fault or not.
However, in order to receive compensation, workers must meet certain requirements and deadlines, as well as complete the right forms. This process can be confusing and frustrating, especially if you’re dealing with a traumatic brain injury and trying to focus on your recovery at the same time.
If you take one thing away, let it be this:
At the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson, our Macon workers’ compensation attorneys have represented hundreds of injured workers throughout the state for over 50 years. We can help you take the right steps and negotiate on your behalf. We have the experience, knowledge and commitment to see your claim through to the end and secure the best possible outcome.
What is a traumatic brain injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.”
Damage from a TBI can affect just 1 area of the brain (a focal injury), or its impact may be more widespread (a diffuse injury).
Although your skull bone is a hard shell that protects your brain, it’s not impervious. Inside of your skull, the soft tissue of the brain and the thin layer of fluid that surrounds it are fragile and vulnerable.
If a blow to your head or the force of an impact is strong enough, it can cause your brain to smash against the inside of your skull. When your brain swells or bleeds due to this impact, this is known as a traumatic brain injury.
Some of the most common examples of mild to severe traumatic brain injury include:
- Diffuse axonal injuries (DAI)
- Contusions and hemorrhagic progression of a contusion (HPC)
- Skull fractures
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
- Breakdown in the blood-brain barrier
- Hydrocephalus (a buildup of fluid in the brain that can increase pressure on brain tissue)
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines 2 categories of TBI:
Also known as open TBI, a penetrating TBI happens when an object pierces the skull (for example, a bullet, shrapnel, bone fragment, or by a weapon such as a hammer or knife) and enters the brain tissue. A penetrating TBI typically damages only part of the brain.
Also known as closed head injury or blunt TBI, a non-penetrating TBI is caused by an external force strong enough to move the brain within the skull. Common causes include falls, motor vehicle crashes, sports injuries, blasts and explosions, or being struck by an object.
A mild traumatic brain injury (concussion) may heal over time and only temporarily affect a person’s brain cells. However, moderate to severe TBI is a long-term and often permanent condition that results in irreversible and debilitating brain damage, or even a coma. Researchers have found that repeated or severe traumatic brain injuries might increase the risk of degenerative brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
Common causes of brain injury in the workplace
- Falls. Falls are the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death according to the National Safety Council. About 9.2 million people were treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries in 2016, many for head trauma. Construction workers are perhaps most at risk of falling (falls are among the “Fatal Four” in the construction industry), but fall-related injuries and deaths are common in many other professions, too — including in manufacturing, retail, transportation, education, healthcare, government and office work.
- Violence. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 18,400 private industry workers experienced trauma from nonfatal workplace violence in 2017, and 458 U.S. workers were killed as a result of workplace homicide. A majority of victims were women, age 25 to 54, and employed in the healthcare and social assistance industries. However, workplace violence can happen to anyone, and victims often suffer a TBI when they are struck in the head.
- Falling objects. The BLS reported that dropped objects led to 255 worker fatalities and 47,920 injuries in 2016. In fact, dropped and falling objects are the third-leading cause of injuries on job sites, often leading to serious head or brain injuries. These fatalities and injuries aren’t just tragic, they’re also expensive — resulting in billions of dollars in workers’ compensation claims.
- Motor vehicle accidents. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S. According to the CDC, the highest proportion of roadway fatalities involved semis, tractor-trailers and tanker trucks (38 percent), followed by pickup trucks (14 percent), delivery trucks/vans (11 percent) and then automobiles (9 percent). In 2017, Georgia ranked 4th for having the highest number of large-truck occupant deaths. When combined with the top 3 states (Texas, California and Florida), these 4 states accounted for almost 1/3 of all deaths. Even if you are lucky to have survived a crash, you may be dealing with traumatic injuries as a result.
- Explosions. Work-related fires and explosions accounted for 2 percent of total workplace deaths in 2019. Although this proportion seems relatively small compared to motor vehicle accidents and falls, the force of explosions and blasts commonly cause traumatic brain injuries for workers who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Signs and symptoms of TBI
Traumatic brain injuries can vary greatly in their severity and longevity. In mild cases, a TBI may temporarily affect a person’s normal brain function such as memory loss, difficulty communicating and behavior changes. However, moderate or severe TBI can result in permanent disability or even death.
Injuries to the brain and head are generally categorized as either primary or secondary. Primary TBI means that the damage is immediate and sudden. Secondary TBI occurs gradually, sometimes not appearing until hours, days or weeks afterward.
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following symptoms after a traumatic brain injury (especially if it has been less than 24 hours since the accident), you should seek immediate medical attention:
- Convulsions or seizures
- Blurred or double vision
- Eye pupil size or dilation changes
- Clear fluid coming from the nose or ears
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weakness of limbs or face
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of balance
- Blind spots
- Ringing in ear
- Mild to profound confusion or disorientation
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Changes in sleep patterns (i.e. insomnia)
- Difficult waking from sleep
- Increased frustration or irritability
- Slurred speech
- Depression and anxiety
Are head injuries covered by workers’ compensation in Georgia?
As with all other workplace injuries and illnesses in Georgia, traumatic brain injuries that happen while you are working in the “course and scope” of your job are generally covered by workers’ compensation. This means that you should receive compensation from your employer or their insurance company to reimburse you for the following expenses:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Travel expenses (to/from doctors’ appointments)
- Death benefits (if your loved one was killed)
What makes a TBI work injury claim different from other workers’ compensation cases, however, is the severity of the injury and the length of time required for treatment and recovery. Treating moderate to severe TBI often requires extensive surgery, as well as a substantial period of ongoing rehabilitation, therapy and medical care. Even if treatment and recovery go well, a person suffering from a TBI might never be the same again due to a number of factors including their age, genes, overall health as well as the location and severity of the injury.
While recovery from a minor bump on the head or mild concussion might be relatively straightforward and simple, a severe TBI is different. It’s often in the best interests of the insurance companies to convince an injured worker to settle early for a lower offer before the person fully understands the severity of their injury and how much it will cost them.
In addition, a third-party individual or business (such as another driver, a contractor or a property owner) may be responsible for your traumatic brain injury. If so, we can help you file a personal injury lawsuit against them for additional reimbursement beyond the limits of what is offered by workers’ compensation.
Additional resources and links
Workers’ compensation resources
“Great staff. Very professional and knowledgeable. Staff went out of their way to accommodate us in every way possible. Made the whole process less painful. They made sure we understood everything that was going on and would answer any questions a hundred times over if needed.”
The resources needed to win
Unlike some work injury attorneys who settle all of their cases, we are not afraid to appeal a denied claim if needed. Our firm has the resources needed to thoroughly prepare, try and win complicated cases.
We are dedicated to doing everything legally and ethically possible to obtain the best results for our injured clients. Hard work and dedication have allowed us to recover millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients in workers’ compensation and personal injury claims.
Let our Macon workers’ compensation lawyers calculate the FULL value of your claim
At the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson, we have the knowledge, experience and passion to help get you the compensation you deserve. We can help you calculate the full value of your claim by considering both past and future costs. Our Georgia attorneys have assisted hundreds of injured workers with their workers’ compensation claims, including complex traumatic brain injuries.
During your free consultation, we’ll discuss your case and offer advice on what to do next. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you don’t have to pay us a penny until we win your case. If we aren’t successful, you owe us nothing. It’s that simple. You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain by seeking legal representation from our top-rated attorneys.
If you have questions, give us a call or contact us online to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer. From offices in Macon, Albany and Warner Robins, we help injured workers throughout Georgia. Don’t settle for less, get more.