As most of us in Eastern Kentucky coal country are well aware, work can be a dangerous place. A recent report by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC) has confirmed that, in particular, on-the-job traumatic brain injuries (or TBIs) are a problem in the state — prompting the organization to issue a hazard alert to educate employers and employees about the issue.
In Kentucky in 2016:
- 405 people had work-related TBIs requiring a visit to the emergency room.
- 63 TBIs acquired on the job resulted in a hospital stay, with an average duration of 6.1 days.
- Three workers died as a result of their TBI.
- These injuries cost employers over $5.2 million.
TBIs Are Not Always Visible, but They Are Dangerous
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines a TBI as “a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.” According to the KIPRC alert, the leading causes of TBIs at work are falls, being struck by or pinned against something, and motor vehicle accidents.
Traumatic brain injuries vary widely in severity. If you experience a mild concussion, you may be fully recovered in a matter of days. More serious TBIs may cause lifelong problems and even death. The CDC says that TBIs are a factor in about 30% of injury deaths.
TBIs are tricky, because they are not usually obvious like an injury to the outside of your body. You may look completely healthy to the people around you. And while some symptoms manifest immediately, others may not appear for days or even months after the original incident.
Symptoms of a mild TBI may include:
- Short loss of consciousness
- A feeling of confusion or disorientation
- Sleep problems, from sleeping more than usual to insomnia
- Speech problems
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Mood changes
- Problems with memory or concentration
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Sensitivity to sensory stimulation
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth.
Symptoms of a moderate or severe TBI may include:
- Loss of consciousness, from minutes to hours
- Headache that increases in severity or won’t go away
- Continuous vomiting or nausea
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty waking up
- Lack of coordination
- Enlarged pupil in one or both eyes
- Weakness or tingling sensation in arms, legs, fingers, or toes
- A state of confusion or agitation
- Uncharacteristic behavior, such as combativeness
- Drainage of clear fluid from nose or ears.
If You’ve Suffered a TBI on the Job, Billy Johnson Can Help
Depending on how you acquired your work-related traumatic brain injury, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation or you may have a case for a work-injury lawsuit. Either way, you don’t want to navigate the law on your own.
The attorneys at the Johnson Law Firm have years of experience helping workers receive the maximum possible compensation for their injuries — and they can help you, too.
To schedule a free initial consultation, call our Pikeville office today.