How to get maximum compensation if you suffer a brain bleed at work
Many workers suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) due to accidents that happen while on the job. A worker might experience a TBI after a fall, a strike to the head, a motor vehicle accident or other causes.
Some victims recover from their brain injuries within days, while others suffer for months, years or the rest of their lives. A TBI’s effects can touch the victim and their entire family.
The following information covers a specific type of brain injury that can happen in a work-related car accident, called intracranial hemorrhage or “brain bleed.” Learn more about how this injury, including what symptoms to watch out for and how workers’ compensation coverage can help.
What is a brain bleed injury?
A brain bleed injury is a specific type of TBI. Simply put, it involves bleeding that happens inside the skull. However, doctors further define brain bleed injuries based on where in the skull they occur. Bleeding can occur inside the brain’s tissue or outside the brain in the meninges or membranes that line the inside of the skull, enclosing the brain and spinal cord.
Doctors classify brain bleed injuries according to the bleeding location.
- An intracerebral or cerebral hemorrhage involves bleeding anywhere within the brain’s tissue or the brainstem.
- An intraventricular hemorrhage refers to bleeding in the brain’s cavities, or ventricles, which are the spaces that contain cerebrospinal fluid.
Work-related causes of brain bleed injuries
Brain bleed injuries can result from a stroke or ruptured aneurysm. However, a brain bleed or other TBI occurring in the workplace often results from the following:
- Striking blows from heavy equipment or materials
- An explosion
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 22 percent of workplace fatalities occur due to car accidents. Many of the non-fatal car accidents that happen on the job involve some type of traumatic brain injury.
When a worker is involved in a motor vehicle accident, their head can hit the side of the door, the windshield, the dashboard or other passengers. Even if the victim wears a seatbelt, the violent movement or twisting from a crash could cause a brain bleed, even if no direct impact to the head occurs.
If explosives are being used in excavation, explosions may cause injuries to the buried workers’ ears and/or eyes.
Signs and symptoms of a brain bleed
A brain hemorrhage injury may not reveal itself immediately, so paying attention to any head trauma or injury after an incident is crucial. Keep a close eye out for symptoms and note that if the damage produces a slow bleed, the symptoms might not appear for days or weeks.
If you have an injury, or as soon as you notice any symptom of a brain bleed, seek emergency medical treatment immediately. More damage can occur if the injury does not receive prompt treatment.
Brain cells do not regenerate once they die, and an untreated brain bleed can result in severe mental and physical disabilities or become fatal.
Symptoms of a brain bleed depend on many factors but can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dizziness or confusion
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Difficulty seeing or loss of sight
- Sensitivity to light
- Stiff neck
- Slurred or abnormal speech
- Difficulty in writing, reading or understanding speech
- Loss of consciousness or changes in alertness
- Sleepiness, lethargy or coma
- Breathing trouble and irregular heart rate for bleeds located in the brainstem
The type and severity of symptoms depend on many factors. Generally, the more serious the brain bleed, the more symptoms will arise.
Does brain damage always show on an MRI?
Brain damage from a brain bleed (hemorrhage) is generally detectable on an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan. An MRI is a highly sensitive imaging tool that is particularly effective at differentiating between the various types of soft tissues in the brain, making it easier to identify abnormalities like bleeding.
However, the visibility of brain damage depends on the timing, type, and size of the bleed, the specific MRI technique used, and the radiologist’s expertise in interpreting the scan, so even with an imaging test as advanced as an MRI, detection is never 100% guaranteed.
Medical treatments and options for a brain bleed
Bleeding inside the skull is always a medical emergency. If you experience a blow to the head or have any symptoms indicating a possible brain bleed, call 911 for immediate help. Prompt medical treatment can potentially limit the damage to the brain and increase the chances of recovery.
Treatment focuses on recovering a patient’s physical, cognitive and emotional capabilities. The specific type and extent of treatment vary depending on the injury’s severity and location.
Emergency treatment involves, in many cases, immediate emergency surgery to reduce or prevent brain damage. The goals of surgery may include:
- Alleviating pressure on the skull due to fluid buildup
- Repairing a skull fracture
- Removing blood clots resulting from the brain bleed
Doctors also use several types of brain bleed medications to treat symptoms. The drugs treat mood instability, potential blood clots, muscle spasms, and problems with alertness or attentiveness, among others.
There are certain benefits, rights and responsibilities for workers in the event of a workplace accident or personal injury.
Potential long-term effects of brain bleed injuries
The long-term effects of a brain bleed injury depend on the area of the brain that suffered trauma and the severity of the damage. Generally, for medium or severe injuries, long-lasting effects can include:
- Visual changes
- Balance issues
- Mood swings
- Reduced language skills
- Memory loss
- Difficulty solving problems
- Disturbed sleep
According to the Mayo Clinic, some studies have shown a strong connection between brain bleeds and other TBIs with Parkinson’s disease, although the relationship is not fully understood.
Why workers’ compensation insurance is essential
Workers’ compensation insurance is a significant benefit you are entitled to receive if you have suffered from a brain bleed injury due to a car accident or any other accident while on the job.
All Georgia employers with 3 or more employees carry this mandatory insurance to cover medical treatment, lost wages and other benefits to help you recover and, if possible, return to work.
Workers’ comp is a no-fault insurance. That means that you don’t have to prove your employer was at fault for your injury to receive compensation. In most instances, you only need to prove that your injury occurred during the course of your work.
Treatment for a TBI can become very costly, especially for more severe injuries. You may not be able to return to work for an extended period.
Workers’ compensation is notoriously complex, and your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance adjuster could attempt to negate or reduce your claim in various ways. For example, an adjuster might say that you:
- Didn’t notify your employer soon enough of your injury
- Never lost consciousness
- Didn’t seek medical treatment right away
- Failed to file your claim within the statute of limitations
Our skilled Atlanta workers‘ compensation attorney understands the complexity of TBIs and their potential for long-term treatment after injuries. They can evaluate your claim and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive the monetary compensation you deserve.
Preventing on-the-job brain bleed injuries
Accidents happen for a variety of reasons in the workplace. Preventing accidents that could cause an occupational head injury, such as a brain bleed, should involve the following precautions to remove or minimize risk:
- Stay alert and cautious while working
- Be aware of potential hazards
- Follow safety rules
- Work calmly instead of rushing
- Use protective equipment
- Undergo safety training
- Inspect and maintain machinery and equipment regularly
Precautions vary based on the nature of the job and can go a long way toward preventing or minimizing brain bleeds and other workplace injuries.
How an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help
Brain bleed injuries can go unnoticed, especially when they are less severe.
Emphasizing and following workplace safety measures can reduce brain bleed incidents. However, if you suspect you’ve suffered a brain bleed injury, it’s crucial to get emergency medical care immediately.
The cost of surgery, ongoing treatments, medications and lost wages can add up to a considerable sum of money. The workers’ compensation system is also complicated to navigate. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney has seen many other cases, knows the compensation your case warrants and will be prepared for obstacles such as a denied claim.
When you work with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney, you will be able to have peace of mind and get the monetary compensation you need and deserve.
Contact an experienced Georgia workers’
If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident in Georgia, contact the experienced attorneys at Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys.
Our Georgia injury attorneys have over 75 years of combined experience helping injured workers across Georgia recover compensation after an injury.