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Traumatic Brain Injuries in the Workplace

June 16, 2022

A TBI, or traumatic brain injury, occurs when a bump, blow, jolt, or other head injury causes damage to the brain. There are three main types of TBI:

  • Mild TBI or concussion
  • Moderate TBI
  • Severe TBI

Is TBI a major cause of death and disability?

Yes. According to the CDC, “There were over 64,000 TBI-related deaths in the United States in 2020.” That’s about 176 TBI-related deaths every day.

According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine:

Approximately 1.7 million people sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBI) each year in the U.S. Recent estimates suggest that the annual cost burden of TBI in the U.S. is well over $75 billion. TBI is one of the most common and costly occupational injuries. A recent study of work-related TBI fatalities in the U.S. found that TBI accounted for 22% of all work-related injury fatalities between 2003 and 2008, and 46% of work-related fatal falls. The costs of acute and long-term care, long-term disability, rehabilitation, lost wages, and productivity are enormous, exacerbated by the high incidence of work-related TBI in younger workers. Beyond the financial ramifications of TBI, injured workers may experience long-term cognitive, physical, psychosocial, and emotional health consequences. Many workers with TBI never return to work. Yet few U.S.-based studies have focused on work-related TBI, and no national estimates of the incidence of nonfatal occupational TBI were identified. This deficiency is due in part to the difficulty inherent in reliably identifying work-related TBI using administrative data sources.6

What causes a TBI?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious medical condition that can have lasting effects. Though the exact cause of a TBI can vary, research shows that falls are a leading cause of TBI-related hospitalizations. In fact, studies have found that falls are responsible for nearly half of all TBI-related hospitalizations in the United States. This is likely due to the fact that falls often result in a person striking their head on a hard surface. This impact can damage the brain, causing symptoms like confusion, headaches, and memory loss. In severe cases, a TBI can even be fatal.

What groups are more susceptible to suffering from a TBI?

Adults aged 75 years and older had the highest numbers and rates of TBI-related hospitalizations and deaths. Males are nearly two times more likely to be hospitalized and three times more likely to die from a TBI than females. Children (birth to 17 years old) had 16,070 TBI-related hospitalizations in 2019 and 2,774 TBI-related deaths in 2020.

Can you recover from a TBI?

 A TBI can cause devastating and permanent injury and disability. The prognosis for mild TBI is usually better than for a moderate TBI, and the prognosis for moderate TBI is usually better than for a severe TBI.

  • Mild TBI – Most people recover most or all of their brain function within 3 months following injury, with most recovering sooner.
  • Moderate TBI – Most people recover most or all of their brain function, although neurosurgery, occupational/physical therapy, speech/language therapy, psychological services, and/or social services may be needed.
  • Severe TBI – It is difficult to predict recovery because it depends on the location of trauma, the severity of the damage, length of time in a coma, and many other factors. However, the long-term effects of the injury typically increase with the increased need for the length of recovery.

Which industry has the most traumatic brain injuries?

According to a study published in the March 2016 American Journal of Industrial Medicine, traumatic brain injuries can occur in any industry, but some industries are more prone to them than others. For example, construction workers are at a higher risk for brain injuries due to the nature of their work. They often operate heavy machinery, work at heights, and handle hazardous materials. As a result, construction workers have the highest rate of emergency room visits for traumatic brain injuries. Other industries with a high incidence of brain injuries include agriculture, mining, and transportation. These industries share many of the same risks as construction, including exposure to heavy machinery and hazardous materials. While no industry is completely safe from traumatic brain injuries, certain professions are more dangerous than others.

What should I do if I or a loved one suffered a TBI?

If you or a loved one suffered a TBI caused by someone else’s wrongdoing or negligent behavior, contact the experienced traumatic brain injury attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard, LLP today. Our lawyers are ready to fight for you to get you all the compensation you are entitled to under the law. Call us at (800) 489-2216 to discuss what happened to you.

Discuss your case with our record-setting work and catastrophic injury attorneys.

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