Head & Brain Injuries

Head injuries involve any trauma that occurs to the scalp, skull, and brain.  These injuries are some of the most serious that any worker can suffer and some of the most difficult for doctors to treat. Even just a “bump on the head’ can lead to long-lasting damage if the injured employee doesn’t seek medical attention quickly enough.

Types of Head & Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are typically classified as one of two types:MRI of a patient with a brain injury

Closed Head Injury: Any injury to the head which does not break the skull.

Open or Penetrating Head Injury: Any injury to the head which breaks the skull and either exposes or enters the brain.

The specific types of injuries that are most commonly diagnosed in workers’ compensation claims include:


A concussion occurs when the brain is injured due to a sudden impact. Loss of consciousness may or may not occur and the blood vessels in the brain may be stretched. It can take weeks, months, or even a few years for a concussion to heal.


A contusion is a bruise on the brain that is typically caused by an impact. If the contusion is large enough surgery may be needed to remove it before the bleeding causes more damage.


This is a type of injury that occurs when the impact to the head is so forceful that contusions occur both at the site of the impact and the opposite side of the brain. This happens because the force is so strong that it causes the brain to hit the opposite side of the skull.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

This type of injury is caused by a strong rotation and is often seen in car accident victims. There is typically an extensive tearing in the nerve tissue which disrupts how the brain communicates and the chemical processes of the brain. The damage can also cause functional impairments.

Anoxic Brain Injury

This type of injury occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen.

Second Impact Syndrome

Also known as Recurrent Traumatic Brain Injury, this happens when a second brain injury takes places before the clinical symptoms of a first brain injury have gone away.

Skull Fractureskull fracture from head injury

A skull fracture occurs when the bone which protects the brain breaks. There are several types of skull fractures including:

Depressed Skull Fracture: This means that the bone that has been broken moves in towards the brain.

Compound Skull Fracture: A compound skull fractures means that there is a scalp laceration as well as broken bone.

Symptoms That May Be Experienced

Doctors determine how severe a head and brain injury is by using the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). This breaks  injuries down into three groups: Mild, Moderate, and Severe.

Mild TBI

Symptoms that may be experienced:

  • headache
  • insomnia
  • nausea
  • difficulty with memory
  • difficulty with concentration
  • balance issues
  • mood swings

Moderate TBI

Symptoms of moderate TBI might include:

  • loss of consciousness
  • behavioral changes
  • coma
  • physical impairments
  • headaches
  • nausea

Severe TBI

Severe TBI often has the most life-changing consequences for both the patient and their loved ones. Patients are frequently diagnosed with:

  • coma
  • vegetative state
  • minimally responsive state
  • locked in syndrome
  • alkinetic mutism

The Cost Of Living With A TBI

According to the National Center for Biotechnology, head and brain injuries are the leading cause of long-term disability, with 52% of survivors moderately to severely disabled on the 1-year anniversary of their injury.

The cost of care for even just a mild TBI is around $35,954. The cost goes up as the severity of the injury worsens, making the average cost of a severe TBI around $3,837,578. That is a financial burden that the majority of hardworking Americans are unable to bear.

Industries Where Workers Are At Risk

Employees in the following industries have a higher risk of being treated for a head injury:

  • construction
  • firefighting
  • delivery services
  • police work
  • factories
  • healthcare

Applying For Workers’ Compensation

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with a brain or head injury after being involved in an accident at work, a workers’ compensation insurance claim can be made. Once approved by the insurance company, this claim can help cover medical expenses and a fraction of lost wages. The system isn’t perfect, however, and in order to get the compensation you need, you may have to consult with a workers’ comp lawyer.

I’ve Been Told I May Have A Third Party Claim – What Does This Mean?

In many cases, when a workers’ comp lawyer reviews a case, they find that the negligent decisions or acts of a third party lead to the accident which resulted in injuries. Since workers’ compensation will almost never covers all of the losses experienced by the victim, a third party lawsuit is often the only way to get full compensation. Damages that may be recovered include medical expenses, lost earnings, physical pain and suffering, and emotional trauma. If the brain injury was so severe that the victim passed away as a result, wrongful death benefits may be available for their loved ones.

The Impact Of Head And Brain Injuries-01

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They kept my best interests at heart. Updates on a regular basis of the status of the case and returning of calls was much more prompt after I started dealing with the same lawyers and support team.
Danielle Dexter, Workers Comp Client from Westchester County

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