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Traumatic brain injuries and workers' compensation

There are many different types of injuries that can occur in the workplace. One of the most common is the traumatic brain injury. One type of TBI is called an open head injury. That is when a foreign object, like a bullet, penetrates a person's skull. The second type of TBI is called a closed head injury. This occurs when a person receives an injury or blow to his head, such as during a fall from a roof.

TBIs can cause two distinct kinds of brain damage. The first is called primary brain damage. That damage occurs right after the accident. It can mean there is bleeding or a skull fracture, which are things that need immediate treatment. There is also secondary brain damage, which might include seizures and brain swelling. Secondary brain damage may not manifest itself immediately; symptoms tend to develop over time. A man who has a seizure two weeks after a serious fall on a construction site may be experiencing secondary brain damage.

Three of the most common types of TBI are falls, car accidents and violent assaults. A person with a TBI may be predisposed to get a second one before the symptoms of the first one have disappeared. For example, if a man suffers a TBI after a work-related car accident, he may later have a seizure that causes a second TBI.

Workers' compensation is a form of insurance that is designed to help employees pay for the costs of workplace injuries. It can cover medical expenses to diagnose and treat medical problems if the injury occurred during the course of employment. It can also cover other expenses, such as disability payments, rehabilitation and re-training. An attorney specializing in workers' compensation may be able to help injured workers pursue benefits under workers' compensation programs.

Source: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, "Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)", November 12, 2014

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