Head Injuries Attorneys in Wichita, Kansas
Head injuries are a serious threat. Even if the symptoms are initially minor or seemingly transitory, the effects can intensify and reappear weeks, months, or even years after the injury itself. They can ultimately lead to disability and even death.
Employees suffering head injuries at work are by definition covered by the state’s mandated workers’ compensation system, but does the system take into account the long-term needs of those who face the possibility of a life-threatening head injury?
If you or a loved one has suffered a head injury on the job anywhere in Kansas, contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at Wichita-based Slape & Howard. We know the system and can help you document your claim to receive the benefits you deserve. We can also help you launch reviews and file appeals when the system tries to shortchange you.
Causes and Consequences of Head Injuries
An injury to the head can result from a slip and fall, a collision with another object, being struck by a vehicle, and even from the consequences of a chemical or other workplace explosion. A concussion is usually the most immediate result of a head injury. A concussion may not develop into anything more serious, or it may be the first sign of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as it reveals itself and its costly physical and mental consequences over time.
While most workers in everyday jobs don’t face repetitive head trauma, the consequences of any head injury can nonetheless pose lifetime risks and consequences. One head injury can lead to physical, cognitive, behavioral, mood, and addictive changes in the sufferer.
The Cost of Head Injuries
The National Safety Council (NSC) lists head injuries as the costliest of all workers’ compensation claims. A study of workers’ compensation injury claims from 2019 to 2020 showed that head injuries averaged $93,942 per claim. The next costliest type of claim was for injuries involving multiple body parts, which was $30,000 less at $62,859.
Signs Your Head Injury Could Be Worsening
You may shrug off the initial effects of a head injury as just a concussion that will soon play out its course and disappear, but this is not always the case. New symptoms may start appearing in the course of time, after weeks and even months have passed.
A mild traumatic brain injury is defined as an incident in which the initial loss of consciousness is 30 minutes or less. Symptoms that sufferers of a mild TBI may experience include:
Problems with coordination
Excessive sleep or bouts of depression
Changes in mood, even violent outbursts
Difficulty formulating thoughts or sentences, even memory loss
Sensory issues such as loss of smell or taste
Nausea and even seizures
Most sufferers of a mild TBI will experience a full recovery, but those exposed to a moderate to severe head injury – defined as a loss of consciousness for an hour or more – may not be so lucky. Their initial symptoms, which can appear within days, include:
Clear fluid draining from the nose or ears
Dilated pupils in one or both eyes
Changes in mood, even violent outbursts
Nausea and vomiting
Confusion and difficulty walking and/or speaking
Irritability, combative behavior
What to Do If You Suffer a Head Injury
Your most foremost concern if you suffer a head injury at work is to seek medical attention immediately. Later when you feel up to it, you should write down or somehow document the incident to the best of your recollection, which you can use in filing your claim and in answering any follow-up questions that the workers’ compensation representatives or your employer may ask of you.
Though the workers’ compensation system is built as one of “no fault,” this doesn’t prevent insurers from questioning the cause and severity of your injury. Be advised that, according to the KWCA, your accident at work must be the “prevailing factor” in causing your injury. If the cause can be traced to a pre-existing condition, your workers’ compensation benefits might be reduced or even denied.
Therefore, if there were witnesses to your head injury event, try to get their statements if they’re willing. You need to show that the accident indeed was the prevailing factor.
Kansas Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation should cover your medical expenses and at least two-thirds of any lost wages so long as you are unable to perform the duties of your job because of a head injury you suffered. This doesn’t mean that the workers’ compensation insurer won’t challenge your claim or try to downplay it. After all, insurance companies are in the business of making money, and saving outlays on benefits means money in the bank for the insurer.
Unfortunately, the laws that evaluate workplace injuries in Kansas have tilted the odds in favor of employers and their insurance providers when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. To be successful, you have to provide thorough and comprehensive documentation of your injury or illness, and its cause and effects. This is best done under the guidance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney
Head Injuries Attorneys Serving Wichita, Kansas
The attorneys at Slape & Howard understand the ins and outs of the Kansas workers’ compensation system. We can help you navigate the administrative and other hurdles inherent in the claims process, so you can receive the full benefits due you. If you or a loved one has suffered a head injury at work, contact us immediately.