Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of disability. The impact of TBI upon a worker can be devastating. What’s worse is that the impact of TBI often goes untreated or unrecognized by our workers’ compensation system. Often, the insurance carriers and medical system ignore this disabling aspect of an injury and simply treat the other physical problems.
- An estimated 1.5 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury; and,
- An estimated 80,000 – 90,000 people experience the onset of long-term disability from traumatic brain injury.
Personally, I think the actual numbers are much higher. Why do I think that? Because of personal case experience. I have helped many clients after a serious accident who were suffering the impact of a traumatic head injury. When those cases involved work-related injuries, the employer (and its insurance carrier) have frequently ignored the impact of any head injury. Instead, the employer readily treated the other physical injuries not associated with the head trauma.
Traumatic brain injury can produce a number of disabling problems. These include cognitive, behavioral, and physical problems. For a lengthy article on the various problems from TBI, you can read the research titled “Minimizing the effect of TBI-related physical sequelae on vocational return” published by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Research published just a few days ago by the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) puts an emphasis on the impact by a TBI on simple decision making skills necessary to function independently in society. This is an interesting article. According to the research at UAB, traumatic brain injury can present lingering problems that impact your ability to simply manage your own checkbook or pay your own bills.
If a family member has suffered a TBI, then he or she will often need your help with basic tasks. If you or a family member has suffered a TBI in a work related accident, don’t let the workers’ compensation carrier ignore the problem. It is important that you push the carrier to treat the injury and provide the appropriate disability benefits for it.by Jeff Blackwell