Sustaining a head injury or a traumatic brain injury can prove to be one of the most devastating experiences in your life. You may have to face the prospect of a long road of medical recovery and physical rehabilitation, all the while missing work and losing income.
When a head injury or TBI occurs at the workplace or in the course of job duties, you might be eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can get you the medical treatment and rehab that you need for your injury and help recoup some of the income you lose while missing work during your recovery.
If you are having trouble getting workers’ compensation benefits from your employer or want to know more about what kinds of compensation you may be entitled to for your head injury, a workers’ compensation attorney can help.
For more than 20 years, the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys of Calhoon & Kaminsky P.C. have fought to protect the rights of injured workers across the state. Our firm’s exclusive focus on workers’ comp claims gives us unique and deep experience in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law. Combined with our legal team’s decades of litigation experience, we know what it takes to pursue the outcome you need and deserve in your workers’ compensation claim.
We strive to help you through each stage of your recovery from a work-related head injury or TBI, including being seen by medical providers and getting the medications you need, dealing with the insurance companies on your behalf, and educating you about your rights and legal options so that you are empowered to make the best decisions in your case. We are equally prepared to help you get swift compensation through a workers’ comp settlement, or to fight your case all the way to trial if necessary.
Contact our firm today for a free case evaluation to speak with one of our knowledgeable attorneys about seeking a workers’ compensation settlement for a head injury or traumatic brain injury that you have suffered on the job.
Common Causes of Workplace Head Injuries
Unfortunately, head injuries and traumatic brain injuries seem like regular occurrences in workplaces throughout Pennsylvania.
Some of the most common causes of head injuries and TBIs in the workplace include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Trip and fall accidents
- Falls from heights
- Crush accidents and being struck by falling objects
- Forklift accidents
- Crane accidents
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Accidents involving defective tools or equipment
- Inadequate or negligent security allowing criminal or violent activity
What Is the Average Workers’ Compensation Settlement for Head Injuries?
When you suffer a head injury in a work accident, you may receive certain benefits from your employer’s workers’ compensation program.
A workers’ comp settlement for a serious head injury may extend benefits, such as:
- Medical treatment, including hospital visits, surgeries and medical procedures, medications, physical and occupational therapy, and medical equipment.
- Temporary disability benefits, which provides partial wage replacement if your injury keeps you from full duty. These benefits continue until you reach maximum medical improvement (the point where no further medical treatment will improve your condition).
- Permanent partial disability benefits, which provides an award of compensation if you suffer a loss of or loss of function in a body part but can still perform some gainful work.
- Permanent total disability benefits, which continues partial wage replacement if, after reaching maximum medical improvement for your head injuries, you still cannot perform any gainful work. You may receive these benefits for the rest of your life, although your employer may occasionally request you be examined to confirm you are still totally disabled.
If your head injuries prevent you from returning to your old job, but you still can perform some other kinds of gainful work, you may also receive vocational rehabilitation, which may include retraining and job placement assistance.
If you suffer a head injury or TBI due to a third party’s negligence, recklessness, or wanton behavior, you may also be able to recover compensation in a third-party personal injury suit separate from workers’ compensation. This compensation may include money for pain and suffering or lost quality of life – benefits not available from workers’ comp.
What Are My Options for Compensation for a Work-Related Head Injury?
Suffering a work-related head injury or traumatic brain injury normally allows you to file a claim for workers’ compensation with your employer. In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation is considered a “no-fault” system, meaning that your employer is required to provide workers’ compensation benefits so long as your head injury is determined to have occurred in the course and scope of your employment. You do not need to prove that your employer acted negligently or recklessly or otherwise prove your employer’s fault for your injury.
Workers’ compensation benefits are also usually provided relatively quickly following a work-related injury. Once you notify your employer of your head injury or TBI, your employer only has a couple of weeks to investigate your claim and either accept your injury as work-related or deny your claim. If your employer denies your claim, you can appeal to the state workers’ compensation bureau, which will hold a hearing on your claim within several weeks.
Typically, a workers’ compensation claim is the only way to seek compensation from your employer for a work-related head injury. In exchange for having guaranteed benefits under the workers’ compensation system, workers give up their right to bring personal injury claims against their employers.
However, when your work head injury was caused by a non-employer third party’s fault, such as a negligent driver or the manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment, you may also bring a third-party personal injury claim against that at-fault party. A personal injury claim brought against a third party could allow you to recover compensation for losses that typically are not compensated by the workers’ compensation system, such as pain and suffering or lost quality of life.
How Can I File a Head Injury Claim?
Filing a head injury claim after a work accident in Pennsylvania begins with reporting your injury to your employer. You have 21 days from the date of injury to make a report with your employer to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits retroactive to the date of your injury.
You must report your head injury to your employer no later than 120 days after the date of injury to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits at all, but giving notice more than 21 days after the date of your injury will limit you to receiving workers’ compensation benefits only from the date you provided notice to your employer.
Once your employer receives notice of your injury, it is required to report your injury within 48 hours to its workers’ compensation insurer and to file a first report of injury to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Your employer and its insurer then have 21 days to either accept or deny your workers’ compensation claim.
Alternatively, your employer and its insurer may issue a notice of temporary compensation, under which they begin paying workers’ compensation benefits for a period of up to 90 days, during which time they can further investigate your claim and either accept it and continue paying benefits or reject your claim and terminate your benefits.
If you timely notified your employer of your head injury, but your employer and its workers’ compensation insurer have denied your claim, you have up to three years from the date of your injury to file a claim petition with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to request a hearing before a state workers’ compensation officer.
At this hearing, both you and your employer and its workers’ compensation insurer can present evidence and testimony. The hearing officer will either accept your claim petition and order your employer and its insurer to begin paying workers’ compensation benefits or deny your petition. If you are dissatisfied with the decision, you must take an appeal to the workers’ compensation appeal board, and from there, file suit in court to challenge the decision.
Talk to an Experienced Lawyer About Your Workers’ Comp Brain Injury Claim
If you’ve suffered a head injury or traumatic brain injury on the job in Pennsylvania, contact Calhoon & Kaminsky P.C. today for a free consultation with one of our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers. We are ready to discuss your rights and legal options. Learn more about how our firm can help you pursue the compensation you need for your recovery in your workers’ comp brain injury claim.