Concussions are treated similarly to other types of injuries for the purposes of workers’ compensation. If you are an employee and you suffered a head injury on the job, you should be entitled to benefits.
As medical researchers continue to gain a better understanding of the short-term and potential long-term effects of concussions, we are learning more and more about the importance of obtaining prompt and thorough medical care following work-related head injuries. For employees in New Jersey, most concussions are covered under their employers’ workers’ compensation insurance policies. However, securing full benefits for concussions continues to pose a challenge.
When Are Concussions Covered by Workers’ Compensation in New Jersey?
While concussions are unique from other common types of job-related injuries in that they involve temporary damage to the brain, the rules regarding workers’ compensation for concussions and other injuries are the same. If you are a covered employee and you suffered your concussion on the job and within the scope of your employment, then you should be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits for your medical expenses and potentially your time missed from work. (This is the portion of workers’ compensation that is referred to as disability).
You must suffer your concussion within the scope of your employment in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation. It is possible to seek workers’ compensation for concussions resulting from accidents, such as being hit on the head by falling materials on a construction site or being involved in a car accident while driving for work. It is equally possible to obtain benefits for accidents such as falling down the stairs in your office building or slipping on a wet entryway tile floor.
In other words, regardless of what happened, if you suffer a concussion on the job, there is a very high likelihood that you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The only exceptions (assuming you are otherwise eligible as an employee, rather than an independent contractor) are for things like accidents resulting from horseplay or being drunk or high on the job.
When Should an Employee Seek Medical Treatment for a Concussion?
Due to the health risks linked to concussions and the importance of beginning recovery as soon as possible, anyone who thinks they may have suffered a concussion should seek medical attention promptly. In this regard, it is important to be aware that employers in New Jersey have the right to choose the medical providers that provide treatment for their employees’ work-related injuries. There are options for employees to see their own doctors and retain their workers’ compensation eligibility in some cases. However, in order to protect your legal rights, we recommend that you speak with an attorney before going to your primary care provider for treatment.
What should employees be looking for in terms of symptoms? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Harvard Health, concussion symptoms include:
- Loss of consciousness for any amount of time (even just a second)
- Headaches (often as a feeling of pressure inside of the skull)
- Being bothered by, or unusually sensitive to, light or noise
- Inability to recall details of events prior to or after the injury
- Difficulty concentrating or feeling abnormally confused
- Difficulty comprehending instructions or retaining new information
- Feeling dazed, stunned, moody, sluggish, or groggy
- Becoming dizzy or struggling to maintain balance when standing or walking
- Nausea, which may or may not be accompanied by vomiting
What Should an Employees Do after Hitting Their Head at Work?
If you hit your head at work, if you were hit in the head by a flying or falling object, or if your head was shaken violently in a job-related vehicle collision or other accident, the single most important thing you need to do is to seek medical treatment. Due to New Jersey’s law that allows employers to restrict their employees’ choice of medical providers, this generally means that you should report the accident to your employer and find out where you need to go to seek treatment. Reporting the accident will also start the workers’ compensation process – although reporting the accident is a separate step from filing your claim for benefits. For more information on filing your claim, you can read: Three Critical Facts to Know About Filing for Workers’ Compensation in New Jersey.
Request a Free Consultation about Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you have been injured at work and would like legal advice that is custom-tailored to your individual circumstances, we encourage you to contact Petro Cohen for a free initial consultation.
By hiring a competent New Jersey worker’s comp lawyer, you will have someone at your side who will serve as an advocate for you and help guide you through the entire process, making sure you receive all of the benefits to which you may be entitled. Regardless of which attorney you choose, you should never be asked to pay fees up front. Our attorney fees are actually set by the Workers’ Compensation Court and are ONLY paid after the lawyer is successful in obtaining benefits for you. By law, the fee cannot exceed 20% of your recovery.
There are three benefits associated with workers’ compensation, which many people do not realize. These three benefits are temporary disability benefits, medical treatment, and permanent partial disability. All too often, injured employees leave money on the table because they are not aware of the full scope of benefits. When you work with our experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys, we will work hard to be sure you receive all of the benefits that you deserve.
Although the system is designed to have the court review every case to be sure that the insurance company compensates you properly, you must retain a lawyer to file a Petition arranging for judicial review. Without a skilled New Jersey workers’ comp lawyer to file the Petition, you will receive whatever the insurance company decides to voluntarily pay; the court system will not be involved.
As many of our clients will attest, having New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys from Petro Cohen, P.C. by your side can be invaluable. We encourage you to check out the many client testimonials our clients have provided.
To speak with one of our New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Petro Cohen in confidence, call us at 888-675-7607 or request an appointment online today.