Minnesota Brain Injury | TBI | Concussions and Work Related Head Injuries
Minnesota Traumatic Brain and Work-Related Head Injuries
One of the leading causes of death in North America for individuals between the ages of 1 and 45 are traumatic brain injuries (“TBI”). In 2000, it was estimated that the economic impact of TBIs in the United States was estimated to be $9.2 billion in lifetime medical costs and $51.2 in productivity losses. It is estimated that 1.5 million people suffer a TBI in the United States every year. Traumatic brain injuries have come to the forefront of today’s society as we begin to recognize and acknowledge the seriousness of these types of injuries. Work-related traumatic brain injuries can lead injured workers desperately needing wage loss and medical treatment. A work injury attorney can help you get the benefits you deserve.
“Traumatic Brain Injury is the most misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and underfunded public health problem our nation faces.”
—Susan Connors, President of the Brain Injury Association of America.
What does a Traumatic Brain Injury mean under Minnesota Workers’ Compensation?
Under Minnesota workers’ compensation law, there is no clear definition for a traumatic brain injury. However, Minn. R. 5223.0060 delineates certain criteria for a brain injury for permanent partial disability benefits.
If we look to other Minnesota statutes and rules there are further definitions of TBIs. Under Minn. Stat. § 144.661, Subd. 2, defines traumatic brain injury as follows:
Traumatic brain injury means a sudden insult or damage to the brain or its coverings caused by an external physical force which may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness and which results in the following disabilities:
1. Impairment of cognitive or mental abilities;
2. Impairment of physical functioning; or
3. Disturbance of behavioral or emotional functioning.
These disabilities may be temporary or permanent and may result in partial or total loss of function.
In 2008, the Minnesota Department of Health defined traumatic brain injury as caused by a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. In the same report issued in 2010, the Minnesota Department of Health reported over 100,000 lived with TBI related disabilities. They found that more than 10,000 Minnesotans sustained traumatic brain injuries each year and lead to 815 total deaths.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
The types or severity of TBIs may range from minor, mild, moderate to severe. There are multiple classifications of head injuries by the level of severity, level of consciousness, mental status following a head injury, and location of the bodily injury.
Talking with a Brain Injury Attorney
In 1999, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that many cases of mild brain injuries go undiagnosed and untreated. While often times it is easier for us to recognize open head injuries, where there is a fracture or bone which is being pressed into brain tissue, however, a closed head injury may occur when there hasn’t been any fracture. These types of injuries can include concussions, contusions, lacerations, or diffuse axonal injuries. Many times, the only indicator of these closed head injuries is the injured workers’ reported symptoms, such as headaches, agitation, depression, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, memory problems or even hearing loss.
When meeting with an attorney, it is important to discuss the mechanism of injury along with any symptoms and medical treatment. It may be necessary for the injured worker to seek out medical treatment for a possible closed head injury if they have not already sought out medical care or treatment. Things to keep in mind and look for, include:
• Speech and language
• Memory and orientation
• Executive function—i.e. can they keep their handwriting on a line, drawing objects, finding their way to the office.
Get Medical Treatment for a Traumatic Brain Injury
As with any workers’ compensation case, it is imperative to have the appropriate medical support to establish a diagnosis as well as causation for the TBI. The injured worker should see a specialist who is knowledgeable and experienced in traumatic brain injuries. A specialist can be extremely valuable when putting together the injured worker’s constellation of symptoms and to provide the requisite medical support to meet the injured worker’s burden of proof. Specialists may include a neurologist, neurosurgeon, neuro-ophthalmologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc.
Call the Law Office of Thomas Mottaz Today for Free Consultation
Following a head injury, it is important the injured worker gets sound advice from not only their medical professionals but their legal professionals. Our office has handled hundreds of traumatic brain injury cases and understands the difficulties associated with these types of injuries. It can be difficult to understand things, keep track of dates/times, speech, etc. Our attorneys and staff understand this and are willing to help. Call today to set up a free, no hassle consultation. Our attorneys will listen and give you the legal advice you need. Call today at 763.42.8226 or 1-855-354-2667.