Is Post-Concussion Syndrome Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
December 1, 2021
Workers who suffer head injuries on the job might develop post-concussion syndrome. This condition causes prolonged dizziness and other serious symptoms that make it impossible to return to work. Post-concussion syndrome is covered by Workers’ Compensation, however, it is not always easy to prove that it is a direct result of a work accident. One reason for this is because a minor bump on the head may not result in symptoms of post-concussion syndrome until days or weeks later.
How Can Employees Obtain Workers’ Compensation Benefits if They Suffer Post-Concussion Syndrome?
Employees who suffer post-concussion syndrome can obtain Workers’ Compensation benefits by proving that their injury is the result of a work-related accident. The steps for doing this include the following:
- Report your work injury to your supervisor when it happens or as soon as possible after the incident.
- In your report, include the date, time, and details of the accident.
- Seek medical attention quickly.
- Keep a record of any symptoms you had right after the accident and how these symptoms are changing over time.
- Also include information about any previous medical history of neck pain, headaches, or sleep disturbances.
Post-concussion syndrome is covered by Workers’ Compensation as long as you prove that the injury is a direct result of a work-related incident. However, this is not as easy as it sounds.
How Can a Lawyer Help Workers Suffering From Post-Concussion Syndrome?
Injured workers are often unaware of their rights under the law, especially when a work-related accident results in a head injury. Knowledge is power. A lawyer helps workers suffering from post-concussion syndrome by making sure that employers or insurance companies do not deny them their rights to benefits. Lawyers do this by collecting all necessary documentation, filing paperwork properly, and if needed, enlisting the help of medical experts to testify if an insurance company attempts to deny coverage.
Our lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP have decades of experience. The following case is example of how we have helped a worker who was suffering from post-concussion syndrome:
- $149,500 recovery for worker suffering from post-concussion syndrome. The employee was injured at work and suffered from back pain and severe headaches. The employee received Workers’ Compensation benefits for a period of time. However, the employer later tried to terminate benefits, even though the worker still experienced back pain and migraine headaches. We contacted the worker’s neurologist as well as an additional expert witness to support the doctor’s diagnosis of post-concussion syndrome. We obtained a six-figure settlement on behalf of this client, along with additional Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
Any type of head injury can develop into something serious and long-lasting. If you are diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome after a work accident, it can take a long time for you to fully recover. That is one reason why you should seek the help of a skilled lawyer. A lawyer will tell you if you may be able to file a third-party claim for damages.
What Other Sources of Recovery May Be Available for Injured Workers?
If someone other than your employer is responsible for your injury, you can sue a third party in addition to collecting your Workers’ Compensation benefits. The third party could be a manufacturer of unsafe equipment, a seller of dangerous chemicals, or a contractor or subcontractor working on your employer’s premises.
Making a claim against the party responsible for your accident does not affect your Workers’ Compensation claim. In fact, Workers’ Compensation insurance carriers encourage claimants to pursue third-party claims. Your third-party claim allows you to recover damages not available in a Workers’ Compensation claim, such as pain and suffering.
How Common Is Post-Concussion Syndrome?
Post-concussion syndrome is fairly common. Studies indicate that up to 30 percent of people diagnosed with concussions will develop post-concussion syndrome.
Head injuries that result in post-concussion syndrome happen in a number of ways, including the following types of work-related accidents:
Doctors make a diagnosis of post-concussion syndrome if symptoms of a person’s head injury do not disappear after one or two months.
What Are the Symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome?
The symptoms of post-concussion syndrome are grouped into four categories: sleep disturbances, cognitive problems, mood changes, and physical effects. The physical symptoms include severe headaches, neck and upper back pain, dizziness, blurry vision, fatigue, and sensitivity to noise and light. According to the Mayo Clinic, some people develop difficulty speaking.
Cognitive symptoms of post-concussion syndrome are quite debilitating as well, making it difficult to return to work. These symptoms include trouble concentrating, and short-term memory loss. Mood changes include irritability, anxiety, depression, and other mood changes. Patients may sleep more at first and develop insomnia later.
Doctors cannot predict who will develop post-concussion syndrome after a head injury. Studies indicate that the severity of a person’s head injury has little to do with symptoms they develop later. Patients who do not lose consciousness after a head injury can still develop post-concussion syndrome. Although doctors cannot predict who may develop post-concussion syndrome, they agree that it is a very real medical condition that patients must take seriously.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Post-Concussion Syndrome?
Doctors use a number of tests to diagnose a head injury, including imaging scans. If head injury symptoms do not disappear within a month or so, doctors could diagnose post-concussion syndrome by examining the patient’s balance, eye movement and vision, and their ability to move their neck. They might give them special tests to assess memory and reaction times.
If you suffer a head injury at work and later end up with post-concussion syndrome, seek the advice of an experienced lawyer to make sure you are not denied your rightful benefits. A qualified lawyer will provide advice regarding whether or not you have the right to sue third parties.
Can I File for Disability if I Have Post-Concussion Syndrome?
Post-concussion syndrome is a form of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Under certain circumstances, you can file for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits if you have post-concussion syndrome. To qualify for SSD benefits, you must be able to provide medical records that document medical conditions that have persisted for at least three months, which include the following:
- Extreme difficulty in balancing: This includes balancing while walking or standing, standing up from a seated position, or the inability to control movement of arms or legs.
- Marked imitations in memory, focus, or concentration: This includes the ability to finish tasks.
- Difficulty regulating emotions: This includes your ability to respond to demands or awareness of normal hazards.
In addition to providing medical records of your condition, workers applying for disability must also provide of all medical treatment from the date of injury, including emergency room visits, notes from doctor appointments, test results, and written statements from former employers or family members.
Whether you are applying for Workers’ Compensation or SSD benefits, it is very important to provide as much documentation as possible. Insurance companies often deny benefits for post-concussion syndrome by saying there is not enough medical evidence to support a valid claim.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Help Injured Workers Suffering From Post-Concussion Syndrome
Our Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP have championed the rights of injured workers and their families since 1947. If you have post-concussion syndrome because of a work accident, call us today at 800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online for a free consultation. We have offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Allentown and Harrisburg.