Workplace injuries are often sudden. You may not have expected to ever get hurt at work, but then you slipped and fell, striking your head. It's also possible that a piece of equipment or supplies fell, hitting you on the way down. There are really countless ways how people in all kinds of positions, from construction and manufacturing to office work, could end up suffering a serious head injury that causes lasting symptoms.
Your brain is a delicate organ that controls everything about who you are and what you do. It only takes a few seconds for a traumatic injury to damage parts of your brain that regulate motor function and balance, or memory and personality. After a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you could be out of work for weeks. In some cases, those who suffer a work-related TBI may not ever be able to return to work.
People often overlook the initial symptoms of a TBI
Unless you have a severe injury, it is possible for you to overlook the symptoms and signs of a TBI in the wake of a work accident. You may feel embarrassed about the circumstances of your accident, which makes you just want to move on and get back to work. However, any time you get hurt at work, especially if you hit your head, you should report the incident to your supervisor or manager.
Without an incident report, you could be left in a difficult position if you develop symptoms of a TBI down the road. In the days or weeks after your injury, you could experience:
- issues with balance or coordination
- trouble falling asleep
- sleeping too much
- blurry vision
- ringing in your ears
- irritability or mood changes
- difficulty with memory
- persistent or worsening heacaches
- nausea or vomiting
- slurred speech
These and many other symptoms can provide critical warning of a worsening TBI. Seeking medical care long after an injury isn't uncommon. There can be complications related to insurance and workers' compensation if you fail to report the initial injury, however.
Any time you hit your head, report it and seek evaluation
If you strike your head, get hit on the head or lose consciousness in a work accident, you should always report the incident to management. Afterward, you should also seek a thorough medical evaluation. If you aren't seriously hurt, that's great news. If you did sustain a TBI, however, these steps could make all the difference for your future.
The ability to connect a serious TBI to a workplace injury could help you obtain medical coverage for treatment and short-term disability compensation while you recover. Workers' compensation can also provide permanent disability benefits if you simply can not return to work.