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Are workers' compensation benefits for head trauma adequate?

If a worker suffers a head injury on the job, he or she may receive a workers' compensation package tailored to any visible symptoms. That package may include paid leave and medical expenses.

Unfortunately, doctors have not always accurately diagnosed the severity of individuals with a traumatic brain injury. The problem lies in that bleeding in the brain has been a common benchmark for diagnosing TBIs. However, brain cell damage does not always result in bleeding. As a result, some patients may escape detection until symptoms of TBI emerge weeks or even moths after the incident. 

A new test offers hope. Using a blood test that measures levels of a protein associated with brain cell activity, researchers found a pattern. Patients with a diagnosed TBI had lower levels of the protein, compared to a control group of healthy patients. Depending on the level, severe deficiencies in levels of that protein might enable doctors to predict long-term TBI symptoms. 

Although fault is not required to claim workers' compensation benefits, an attorney may nevertheless be needed to protect workers' rights. In the case of head trauma, especially, an employer may underestimate the amount of recovery time and length of treatments needed to restore a worker.

An attorney can represent an injured worker in appeals to the Division of Workers' Compensation. In fact, there may be various procedural options available, such as a requesting a formal hearing or a more expedited, informal hearing. An attorney can explain the different approaches and help an injured worker fight for his or her rights. Sometimes simply filing a claim petition may prompt an employer to make a settlement offer.

Related Post: "What happens when another's negligence results in head trauma?" Lieberman, Ryan, Forrest & Voorhees, L.L.C., Aug. 7, 2015

Source: Claims Journal, "New Blood Test Could Predict Brain Injury Outcomes," July 31, 2015

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