Colorado Workers’ Compensation for Brain Bleeds
How to file a claim and get maximum compensation if you experience a brain bleed at work
Workplace safety is always a priority, but protecting yourself from injury can be more difficult when you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle and at the mercy of other drivers. Car accidents commonly result in head injuries due to the forces that expose your body to sudden movements.
Brain bleeds often occur when a person’s head hits the dashboard or another part of the vehicle. Since brain bleeds don’t typically leave visible markings on the outside of the body, it’s important to quickly recognize the symptoms of this medical emergency so you can receive prompt, life-saving treatment.
What is a cerebral hemorrhage?
People tend to think of a cerebral hemorrhage as an injury that only affects the brain. However, bleeding can actually occur in various areas within your skull and is categorized according to the extent of the injury:
- An epidural bleed occurs between the skull and the outermost layer of the membrane that surrounds the brain.
- A subarachnoid bleed occurs between the arachnoid membrane and the pia mater, which is the layer that’s closest to your brain.
When a brain hemorrhage occurs within the brain itself, it can be further broken down into different types:
- An intracerebral hemorrhage occurs in the actual brain tissue, including the brainstem.
- An intraventricular hemorrhage happens within the brain’s ventricles, where the spinal fluid is produced.
Common causes of a brain bleed in the workplace
Car accidents might be a common cause of brain bleeds at work, but you can also experience other situations that increase the risk of this type of injury, including:
Can whiplash cause a brain bleed?
We often think of whiplash as a neck or back injury, but the sudden jerking of the head can cause a brain injury, as well. There might not be any outward signs of injury, but the force of impact could be enough to crush or tear the soft tissue or blood vessels in the skull.
If you’ve suffered whiplash that caused a brain bleed, you could be eligible for compensation. Whiplash isn’t just from car accidents; you could suffer whiplash at work from a slip-and-fall or other type of accident. Any accident that causes your head and neck to jerk suddenly could cause whiplash.
If you’ve suffered whiplash with a brain bleed, the attorneys at the Babcock Law Firm are experienced and qualified to help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injury.
What are the signs of a brain hemorrhage?
A severe headache is the hallmark symptom of a brain bleed. Depending upon the location and severity of the bleed, you can experience stroke symptoms, including weakness or paralysis of your face, leg or arm on one side of the body.
Many people also experience the common symptoms of severe head trauma, including:
- Loss of coordination (which places workers at greater risk of subsequent injury if they continue to work or operate a vehicle)
Naturally, a loss of consciousness or changes in a person’s heart rate or ability to breathe normally represent the more severe symptoms of a brain bleed.
What treatments are available for a brain bleed injury?
Any symptoms of a brain bleed should be treated as a medical emergency, and you’ll want to seek out immediate care if you experience any degree of suspected head or neck trauma. When you arrive at a health care facility, the medical team will quickly set to work evaluating your condition.
Medical imaging tests can identify the location and severity of a brain bleed. In some cases, the images can reveal the cause, such as a ruptured aneurysm.
Once more is known about the type of brain bleed you’re experiencing, your medical team will develop a treatment plan that may include decompression techniques to reduce the pressure on your brain caused by the bleeding.
If the medical team locates an aneurysm that has not burst, they may make the decision to clip or seal it to prevent further damage.
Milder brain bleeds may not require surgery. For these, a doctor may recommend using medication to manage your blood pressure and other symptoms until the area heals.
What are the long-term effects of brain bleeds?
In the best-case scenario, a brain bleed heals without causing permanent harm. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The long-term effects of a cerebral hemorrhage depend upon the location of the brain injury.
Many people go on to experience long-term cognitive impairments that affect their memory and reasoning abilities. In severe cases, speech and movement can also be affected.
Long-term rehabilitation treatments can include the following:
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of experiencing another hemorrhage
How Colorado workers’ comp can help after an injury
Workers’ compensation is meant to help people with both their short- and long-term recoveries from injuries that occur in the workplace. Since even mild brain bleeds tend to result in costly emergency medical care and time off work, you’ll need to rely on this resource to help you manage your finances during your recovery.
The benefits you can receive from workers’ comp help cover the costs of the following:
- Medical treatments. All necessary medical care is covered by workers’ comp, including surgeries, hospital stays, doctor and emergency room visits, medications, future rehabilitation treatments, and medical equipment.
- Lost wages. Workers’ comp typically covers two-thirds of your average weekly wages while you recover from your injuries. If you’re unable to return to work, then disability coverage may also apply.
- Death benefits. If you die from your work-related injury, workers’ comp will provide benefits to certain dependents.
While applying for workers’ comp is a fairly straightforward process, you can run into trouble with getting your claim approved. Working with an experienced worker’s comp lawyer helps you have a stronger chance of receiving the compensation you need to move forward with life after a brain bleed.
Remember, you don’t need to prove fault or negligence to file a claim for workers’ compensation. You DO need to prove that the injury or illness happened as a result of conditions at your workplace or from doing tasks related to your job.
In other words, if you slip and fall at work because you tripped over a phone cord, that would be a workers’ comp-eligible injury, even if you were just heading to the break room for a snack. But if you suffer a stroke at work but it’s unrelated to conditions at your job or your work activities, that would likely not be covered by workers’ comp.
Steps to take to file a workers’ comp claim in Colorado
Take the following steps after a work accident in Colorado to ensure you remain eligible for workers’ comp benefits:
- Seek medical treatment. Any potential brain bleed requires emergency medical treatment. Seeing a physician immediately after your injury will also help tie it to your work accident, which is an essential step to collecting workers’ comp benefits.
- Report your injury. In most cases, you only have 4 days to report a work injury to your employer in writing, or you could be barred from collecting compensation. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as if you’re hospitalized during that time.
- Employer files a report. Your employer has 10 days after you report your injury to notify their insurance carrier of your injury claim. You should get a notification within 20 days after that if your claim is denied.
- Contact an attorney. If your claim is denied, contact a workers’ comp attorney to help you file an appeal and ensure your rights are protected.
How to prevent a brain injury at work
Brain bleeds from car accidents are less likely to happen if you wear a seatbelt and follow safety protocols, including sitting as far from the steering wheel as possible. If you drive an open vehicle, wearing a helmet and seatbelt can protect you from head injuries if you’re thrown from your seat in a serious crash.
When you’re not driving, remember to wear your protective gear in designated locations. You’ll also want to report hazardous conditions as soon as you note them and warn others about the dangers until they’re corrected.
Contact a Colorado workers’ compensation attorney
Workers’ comp claims can be complicated, especially when they involve serious injuries. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can help with your claim by investigating your case, filing all necessary paperwork and negotiating with your employer and their insurer to get you maximum compensation.
It’s important to understand that once you accept a settlement, you won’t be able to ask for more money later if you discover your injury is more serious than you initially thought. So it’s always best to seek the advice of an attorney before accepting a workers’ comp settlement after a brain bleed injury.
At The Babcock Law Firm, our workers’ compensation attorneys have extensive knowledge of Colorado workers’ compensation laws, and we’re committed to getting each and every one of our clients the full compensation they deserve.
Contact us today for your free consultation.