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Understanding the impact of traumatic brain injuries on workers

Traumatic brain injuries can be both serious and costly to treat. In addition to the significant impact a traumatic brain injury (TBI) suffered on the job can have on the injured worker, TBIs can also place a substantial burden on the worker's family. Many TBI injuries require a prolonged recovery, which can be a burden to both the injured worker and family members tasked with the care of the injured worker.

In circumstances in which TBIs do not result in permanent disability, they can lead to other serious everyday consequences for injured workers and their families. Traumatic brain injuries can occur when a blow, bump or jolt to the head disrupts the normal function of the brain. Workers who have suffered a TBI while on the job may experience both short- and long-term memory loss, personality disorders or a loss of cognitive abilities.

In addition, the impact of a TBI can include impaired thinking or memory, movement, sensation (including vision or hearing) and emotional function such as personality changes, mood disruption and depression. The physical, emotional and financial challenges that victims of TBIs and their families can face can be immense. Because of the significant impact TBIs can have on injured workers, families and communities, workers and their families may face extensive medical expenses and costs of future care, lost wages, lost of earning capacity and pain and suffering.

In addition, because TBIs can be open or closed head injuries, they may not always be immediately recognized. Although injured workers should receive medical treatment and disability pay benefits through workers' compensation or an employer's self-insured plan, the process can sometimes be challenging. Due to the challenges that these workers may face, it is important for workers suffering from a TBI to be familiar with the legal options that may be available to them and their rights during the process.

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