Returning to work following a traumatic brain injury

People who receive traumatic brain damage may have difficulties returning to work due to long-term effects of the injury.

While there are many types of workplace accidents that can keep injured Ohio employees from returning to their jobs, traumatic brain damage may be one of the most common. At least 2.5 million people are hospitalized, visit the emergency room or are killed every year because of injuries involving brain trauma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although people who are suffering from brain damage may show marked improvement through medical treatment and therapy, there are a number of people who are unable to return to work due to the long-term deficiencies of brain trauma. Not only does this affect business productivity, but it affects the workers who are no longer able to make a living due to their inability to work.

The study

Using information gathered by the Colorado traumatic brain injury registry, researchers evaluated how many people were able to return to their jobs following an incident involving brain damage. They discovered that one year after experiencing severe TBI, approximately 50 percent of workers were not able to go back to work. At least 20 percent of people with mild to moderate brain injuries were unable to go back to their jobs. Many injured workers were not able to perform the same occupational tasks that they had before their injury occurred, and some obtained positions in other areas of employment.

Functioning at the workplace

Brain trauma can affect people in various ways, depending on the severity of the injury as well as the location of the damage. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, traumatic brain damage can cause serious deficits, including the following:

  • Affect the ability to interact with people socially and develop interpersonal relationships.
  • Ongoing physical problems, such as persistent headaches, nausea, seizures and muscle spasms.
  • Problems in performing cognitive tasks, such as organizing, planning and problem-solving.
  • Difficulties communicating with others.

In addition to these symptoms, brain trauma can cause sensory issues. This can cause workers to experience sensations differently, and may cause deficiencies in vision and hearing as well.

What does this mean?

People who are not able to go back to work after suffering from a traumatic brain injury are more likely to seek financial support from other resources, such as government aide. In addition, injured workers often have a reduced capacity to handle everyday living situations, and may require medical assistance. Lost wages can make it difficult for people to make ends meet and enjoy a good quality of life.

Obtaining legal help

If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. It is crucial that you report your injury immediately to a manager. Then, you may want to speak to an attorney in Ohio regarding your legal rights and options. You could receive benefits that may help you through this hard time.