Workers' Comp Brain Injuries
Los Angeles Workers' Compensation Attorney
Head or traumatic brain injuries often involve additional complications that other injuries do not. For instance, depending on the location of the head injury, your speech may be impacted. You could have compensable consequences to your teeth, the way you walk, or your ability to sleep. Some of these consequences are compensable, and some are not. You deserve to be informed of the realistic expectations surrounding your head injury claim. I’ve handled many head-injury cases and am happy to help you with yours.
Is a concussion a permanent injury?
How long can post-concussion symptoms last?
Can an old head injury cause problems years later?
These questions are appropriate for doctors, not lawyers. I don’t care who the lawyer is or how long they’ve been practicing. They are not physicians. The appropriate way for lawyers to respond to these questions would be to point you to resources that are based on physicians’ knowledge. A quick internet search suggests that damage from a concussion is unlikely to be permanent, that post-concussion symptoms usually subside within a few months, and that an old head injury can indeed cause problems years later, depending on a variety of factors. Still, your lawyer should not be answering these questions in definitive ways. I’ll repeat: they are not doctors.
Can you file a claim for a concussion?
Now, this is a question that a lawyer can answer with certainty. Yes, you can file a claim for any injury that you sustained on the job, so long as the injury could not be resolved simply by the application of first aid. For instance, you shouldn’t file a claim for a papercut. When it comes to concussions, though, they cannot be resolved with first aid. Typically, you will need to go to a physician at least twice (once for a diagnosis and treatment plan and a final time to learn that treatment is no longer needed). Usually, you will need to go to the doctor more than two times.
As to the compensation for concussions and whiplash, and as to mild brain injury settlements, these also depend on a variety of factors. How long were you off work? Do you have permanent injuries (which only a doctor can conclude)? How much did you earn at the time of injury? What was your occupation and age at the time of injury? Did these injuries cause other compensable injuries? It’s impossible to provide a single answer to these questions. As you can see, every case is going to be different, so it’s important that you have a discussion with an attorney and not just a law office’s intake person.
How much do insurance companies pay for pain and suffering?
There is no monetary recovery that is available for “pain and suffering” in the land of workers’ compensation in California, even though damages for “pain and suffering” are available when you’re in an accident that does not involve your work. This is simply the way the work comp laws were written. “Pain and suffering” is considered to a small degree as part of the provisions put forth in the AMA Guides, but this is something that is best described over the phone or in person because this issue can get quite complicated. The main point is that there are no separate damages allowable under the workers’ compensation scheme for “pain and suffering.” This decision was a political trade-off when the laws were being developed so that workers could receive benefits more quickly while employers could avoid the risk of being sued under the “personal injury” theory. Although this might not give you the warm & fuzzies, it’s the truth.
Your attorney should be able and willing to explain all of the above to you. If you would like me to help you with your case, please feel free contact me at any time.
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I personally review every case that is submitted to me. If you have a question about your workers' comp case, let me know the details, and I'll contact you as soon as possible to discuss how I can help you.