Injuries on the job should always be taken seriously, but some employers seem to believe that they can dictate how quickly an employee recovers after a workplace accident. This can prove especially true when the an employee suffers a mild brain injury, because there are usually no visible signs of the injury and it is tempting to assume that the employee can return to work safely before he or she finishes healing.
Very few people truly understand the scope of harm that a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) poses. Even the victims themselves often do not realize how many areas of their daily lives suffer from the symptoms.
If you or someone you love recently received a blow to the head in a workplace accident, you should make sure that you receive proper medical care and diagnosis. You may have a mild TBI, which can truly destroy not only your job but relationships with your family and friends. If you did suffer a mild TBI, be sure to take the time you need to recover rather than going back to work before you are actually ready. If you rush or ignore this process, you may pay dearly.
The general public regularly misunderstands what mild TBIs even are in the first place. To many, the word “mild” encourages them to believe that the injury is not very severe. This is, technically, true in relation to the forms of brain injury, but still misleading.
Mild TBIs refer to a specific class of brain injury that is not severe enough to cause a person to die or enter a coma. Even moderate TBIs generally mean that the victims may involuntarily lose consciousness or suffer serious effects to their mental faculties. In contrast to permanent brain damage, coma or death, mild TBIs are certainly less severe.
However, mild TBIs may bring very serious symptoms with them. While many of the symptoms seem small when isolated, it is the combination of many symptoms that often piles up to cause serious difficulties for victims. This is especially true in the workplace.
Mild TBIs can seriously affect a victim’s ability to think clearly or focus on tasks, even if the task is familiar or something that a victim performed with ease before the injury. Similarly, a victim may experience difficulty understanding the meaning of communication with colleagues and superiors. In many cases, mild TBI victims face difficulty using context to understand what another person says or writes, even if they understand the meanings of individual words that another person uses.
Furthermore, mild TBI victims often experience personality changes, becoming much more irritable. These individuals may easily lose their temper, especially when confronted with a task they feel they should easily complete but cannot. While it may seem unintuitive, these are genuinely biological results from the physical injuries the victims’ brains suffer, not some emotional issue they can easily control if they just tried harder.
You can surely see how an employee who returns to a job too soon after a mild TBI may create havoc in a workplace and endanger their own jobs. If you suffer a mild TBI on the job, be sure to communicate clearly with your employer about the nature of the injury to protect your own interests. It is also wise to enlist the assistance of an experienced attorney who can safeguard your rights and act on your behalf to protect your position with your employer while you focus on making a full recovery.