Of all the ways that a Virginia worker can be hurt on the job, head injuries are some of the most concerning. Any time the head is affected in an accident, concerns about long-term effects on memory, understanding, and other issues arise.
There are a number of different kinds of head injuries that Virginia workers can experience. The danger with head injuries is that symptoms can appear immediately or they can slowly develop over several days.
When symptoms come on slowly, sometimes workers don’t realize that they were injured in a workplace accident and when they finally do they can feel as though it is too late to seek compensation. This is not the case.
Below are several different types of head injuries that Virginia workers can suffer while on the job.
Closed head injury
Workers sustain closed head injuries when their head receives a hard blow from an object and the force of the impact does not break the skull. Two common types of closed head injuries include concussions and contusions (see below for more information on both). Closed head injuries are more common than open head injuries.
Open (penetrating) head injury
If a worker has suffered an open head injury (also known as a protruding head injury) they were hit by an object that penetrated their skull. Open head injuries happen more often when a worker is moving at high speed, such as in a vehicle crash or in a fall from a building or crane.
Concussions are the most common type of head injury in the United States, with over a million people suffering from them every year. They are caused when a blow to the head (from an object or a fall) leads to a temporary loss of awareness. The victim may not remember the accident right away. The degree of memory loss with a concussion is sometimes an indication of its severity.
It is possible to recover fully from a concussion, but a victim may experience prolonged dizziness, loss of memory, irritability, headaches, and reduced mental function among other things.
A cerebral contusion is bruising of the brain. From 20 to 30 percent of severe head injuries involve a contusion. The swelling from a contusion is the worst about four to six days after the injury, so this is another example of how a worker may think they are okay but later develop symptoms of a head injury. While some contusions can heal on their own, some victims are left with lasting problems and all head accidents should be evaluated by a doctor.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
All of the above types of head injuries can also be called traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs. Any time a worker’s brain is damaged in an accident, a TBI can result. Depending on the type of injury sustained, a TBI can be mild, moderate or severe. The prognosis for a worker suffering from a TBI will also depend on the severity of the damage, and as noted above symptoms can worsen over time and even lead to Parkingson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and forms of dementia.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, make sure you get medical care and if necessary please speak to an experienced attorney. The workers’ compensation lawyers at the Warrenton and Culpeper offices of Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas can help you get the compensation you need to get back on your feet.