Head injuries in the workplace can have serious consequences. In fact, 24 percent of all traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are work-related. Compared to other workplace injuries, concussions are complex and can involve time off from work to recover properly.
Sometimes it is all too easy to shrug off a head injury when there are no immediate effects – no cuts, bruises, or overt symptoms, but the damage to the brain can have lasting impacts.
Look at what happened to National Football League (NFL) players years after leaving the sport and suffering multiple blows to the head. Many subsequently suffered a degenerative brain condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (or CTE). Some died from it.
While workplace head injuries aren’t likely to be as repetitive as what NFL players experience, the danger is still real, even from one slip-and-fall or blow to the head by an external object.
If you’ve suffered a head injury at work and are seeking workers’ compensation in or around Beaverton, Oregon, contact the Law Office of Michael J. Orlando. Workers’ compensation claims are all we handle, so you can rely on us to represent you and your claim aggressively.
We represent injured workers not only in Beaverton, but elsewhere in Oregon, including Eugene, Salem, Portland, and throughout the state.
Head Injuries at Work
The three leading causes for head injuries at work are slip-and-falls, being struck by an external object, or being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Concussions can result from tripping on clutter, slipping on a wet surface, falling from an elevated surface, being struck by falling objects, or suffering from whiplash in an auto accident.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes a concussion as “a type of traumatic brain injury – or TBI – caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.”
Though concussions are usually mild and not life-threatening, the CDC warns that: “This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.” In other words, damage can be long-lasting and symptoms may not appear until long after the accident.
Whenever you’re injured at work, you are covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system for resolving injury and illness claims at work. Neither you nor your employer is presumed to be at fault. Workers’ compensation will pay for your medical expenses and for time lost from work.
The first thing to do after being injured at work is to notify your employer, who may require you to fill out what is generically known as an “801 form.” You can also go to the physician of your choice to be evaluated and file a claim through the doctor’s office using what is called an “827 form.”
The workers’ compensation insurer has 60 days to accept or deny your claim. If it is denied, you can file an appeal with the state Workers’ Compensation Board.
If you need to take time off from work to recover, your physician must provide a note specifying why and for how long. After you’ve missed work for three days, the insurer will be obligated to begin paying for what is called “temporary disability.” Your physician may alternately specify that you return to work with “light duty.” If your employer cannot provide you with light duty, then you can stay at home and be paid.
The compensation for time off is calculated at two-thirds of the weekly average of all compensation you received in the 52 weeks prior to your injury.
Your claim will remain in effect until the time your physician declares that you are “medically stationary,” meaning that you have reached the point of maximum recovery. This does not mean that you are 100 percent recovered, but only that medical intervention will no longer improve your condition. At that point, your claim will be closed and your insurer will stop paying.
A workers’ compensation insurer is like any other insurance company facing a claim. They’re going to try to lowball or deny any payment or settlement. While the state workers’ compensation system is designed so that the average worker can navigate it, this doesn’t mean the insurance company and its agents won’t do everything in their power to reduce or deny you the benefits you deserve.
Call us at the Law Offices of Michael J. Orlando to help you file and press your claim forward. We can deal with the agents and their questions and file appeals if you face any denial of benefits. We’ll represent you aggressively to seek the compensation you deserve. We serve clients in Beaverton, Portland, Salem, Eugene, and everywhere in Oregon.