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Basic facts about brain injury

One of the most serious and hardest to treat injuries that American workers face is traumatic brain injury. That's because brain injuries often go undetected at first, and their full effects are rarely known until the body has had time to process the trauma and begin healing. Only then, after the brain has had a chance to rebalance itself, does it become clear exactly which long-term effects individuals are dealing with.

This slow and evolving nature of the injury also makes brain trauma a common cause for workers' compensation claims. As more is being learned about the prognosis for brain injury patients and their medical needs, the law is evolving to provide for those who receive brain injuries in the workplace.

Common symptoms of TBIs

The Mayo Clinic website spells out an extensive list of symptoms that can be caused by brain injuries. They are categorized according to symptom type, so that you can peruse physical, cognitive, and sensory issues separately for each level of brain injury severity. When first approaching the topic, though, it is important to know which symptoms are most common, so that you know to talk to a doctor about brain injury if you or a loved one begins to experience the following:

  • Loss of consciousness at the time of injury
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo or other sensory distortions
  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Mood swings

While there are a variety of other symptoms and the severity can vary quite a bit, these are the core issues that most brain injury patients deal with in the short- to medium-term. If you or someone you know has recently experienced a head injury and three or more of these symptoms present mildly, it is worth talking to a doctor. It is also worth getting a medical opinion if any of them present severely after an injury, even if you are only experiencing one symptom.

Prognosis and recovery

Brain injuries vary quite a bit in their long-term effects. Sometimes patients with seemingly equivalent levels of impairment or injury in the early stages of the trauma wind up with drastically different outcomes. This is partially due to the speed with which doctors respond to the brain injury, and partly due to the fact that much about the brain and its healing processes has yet to be understood.

If you or a loved one is dealing with a brain injury caused by a workplace accident, make sure you have both the medical and the legal advice you need to prepare for your future. Don't forget that impairment from brain injury can be a valid reason to claim workers' compensation.

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