When you work construction in California, your various worksites usually are busy, noisy and hectic places. Sometimes they also can be dangerous. Considering that you often must perform your work on ladders, scaffolding and/or roofs, you run a high risk of falling and sustaining serious, if not catastrophic, injuries. This is especially true if you hit your head and receive a traumatic brain injury.
A traumatic brain injury occurs when your head and/or neck sustains a blow of such force that it causes your brain to jerk violently back and forth in your skull. The consequent injuries to its delicate cells, nerves and tissues, plus the severity of those injuries, make your brain malfunction. Depending on precisely where the injury occurs and its severity, the effects of this dysfunction can linger for months or years. In the most severe TBI cases, you could become disabled for life.
Falls constitute the leading cause of TBIs and represent your highest risk of injury. The longer you work and the older you become, the higher your risk. You also face high risk if you work for a small construction company that employs 20 or fewer workers. In addition to falls, you likewise face TBI risk whenever a piece of falling debris strikes your head or a piece of flying glass or a sharp tool pierces your skull.
One of the most frightening aspects of a TBI is that no two are alike, so your symptoms may vary widely from others receiving a similar injury. In addition, your symptoms may or may not appear immediately after your injury. You therefore should always seek emergency medical treatment for any head injury, even the ones you believe are minor. They may not be. A head trauma specialist needs to assess your injury, run the proper tests and begin immediate treatment if you indeed suffered a TBI.
Regardless of the outcome of your initial medical examination, watch closely for any of the following in the days and weeks following your injury:
- Blurry or double vision
- Ringing in your ears
- Headaches, nausea and vomiting
- Speech problems
- Balance and coordination problems
- Problems with your ability to think, understand and remember
Also watch carefully for any emotional or personality changes such as the onset of fear, anxiety, depression, argumentativeness, hostility, etc.
Extraordinary TBI costs
Your TBI can result in massive medical costs at precisely the time when you likely cannot work and therefore have no wages coming in. Again depending on the area of your brain that became injured and the extent of those injuries, you could face any or all of the following:
- Extended hospital stay
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Rehabilitation services
- In-home or assisted living care
Given that you may be off work for a considerable length of time, or even may become permanently disabled from your TBI, your best strategy may well be a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury suit against your employer. While no amount of money can truly compensate you for your TBI and its effects, it can at least offset your catastrophic medical and other expenses to a large degree.