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Returning to work after suffering from a brain injury

By Michael Shelton on June 04, 2017

People who receive traumatic brain injuries in workplace accidents may not be able to return to work due to the effects of their injuries.

Brain injuries impact the lives of American workers each year. According to Brainline.org, more than 1.7 million people receive traumatic brain injuries every year in the U.S., and more cases go undiagnosed and/or unreported. A number of traumatic brain injury cases occur when people are injured in workplace accidents involving falls, falling objects and other incidents where employees receive a forceful impact to their heads. Construction workers in Houston and across Texas are not strangers to these types of injuries, and studies show, that many are unable to return to work after obtaining serious brain trauma.

The effects of traumatic brain injury

The effects of brain trauma may differ from person to person, depending on the severity of the injury, as well as what part of the brain was injured. However, there are many similarities between worker injuries and the effects these injuries have on peoples' ability to function. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, traumatic brain injury can alter a person's ability to problem-solve, concentrate, make decisions or remember certain facts and/or events. Sensory deficiencies, such as difficulties hearing, seeing, smelling and tasting, have also been reported. People with TBI may become easily aggravated, experience high levels of stress and fall into depression as well. All of these effects can have a serious impact on a person's ability to function at the workplace.

Returning to work

More than 5.3 million people in the U.S. require long-term assistance with their brain injuries, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This can make it hard for people to return to work. In a study published by the National Institutes of Health, researchers evaluated cases of brain injuries over time to determine the rate at which people were able to return to their former jobs. They found that only 40 percent of people with brain trauma were able to return to work one to two years following the incident.

Providing accommodations

Studies show that employers who provide support and accommodations for employees suffering from TBI may have a better return-to-work rate. Brainline.org reported that employers who do the following can often assist workers at their job post-brain injury:

  • Offer counseling, guidance and retraining services.
  • Supply additional and/or modified equipment, such as hearing devices or visual aids.
  • Create a work environment that is supportive of worker disabilities.
  • Modify workers' positions to accommodate their skillsets.

Although employers may not be able to modify all positions, they can increase the likelihood that workers' will return to their jobs by accommodating their employees.

Seeking legal assistance

If you received brain trauma or another type of injury stemming from a workplace accident, you may want to seek the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney in Houston. You have certain legal rights, and a lawyer may be able to answer any questions you may have regarding your options.

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