Returning to work after suffering traumatic brain damage

Traumatic brain injuries have symptoms that can make it difficult for people to return to work.

Traumatic brain damage is one of the most common, and one of the most debilitating workplace injuries in New York. Studies show that even mild traumatic brain injuries can cause long-term damage that could make it difficult for people to return to work and engage in the activities that they once enjoyed. Not only does this present a problem for workers who are no longer able to perform the same job that they did prior to the injury, but it also impacts the employer who must adjust to the loss or the reduced work ability of the employee.

How many TBI patients return to work?

Many studies have been conducted to measure how many people suffering with traumatic brain injuries actually return to work. The U.S. National Library of Medicine evaluated 49 studies involving TBI patients and the rate at which they were able to go back to work. Researchers discovered that approximately 40 percent of people who had non-traumatic or traumatic brain damage went back to work after one or two years of recovery.

TBI and the ability to work

Depending on the severity of the brain injury and the area of the brain that is damaged, TBI can cause serious symptoms that may inhibit a person's ability to perform at his or her job. These symptoms may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Decreased ability to concentrate on a task, organize, plan and/or problem solve.
  • Decreased senses, such as vision or hearing deficiencies.
  • Muscle weakness, dizziness and/or tingling in the extremities.
  • Possible seizures or convulsions.
  • Persistent headaches and abnormal fatigue

While some signs of TBI are obvious and cause people to seek immediate medical attention, other symptoms are less definite and workers may be hesitant to go to the doctor. The sooner people receive medical treatment for their brain injuries, the quicker they can begin therapy. As damaged brain tissue is left unattended to, it can continue to swell and bleed, which could cause even greater damage.

Workers' compensation

If your brain injury occurred as a result of a workplace injury or happened while you were on the job, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. This financial help may cover your medical expenses, as well as wages you've lost from taking time off of work. A workers' compensation attorney in New York may be helpful in exploring your legal options and helping to make sure your rights are upheld.