How Much Can I Recover for a Head Injury at Work?

If you sustain a head injury at work, you may be able to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation. The specific amount of compensation you can recover will depend on the nature of the injury and certain other factors.

A doctor putting bandages oh her patient's head.

Can You File a Claim to Recover from a Head Injury at Work?

In the event of a work-related injury, you should have the ability to file a workers’ comp claim to recover compensation for medical expenses and lost wages resulting from the injury. This includes head injuries, which are often more serious than other types of injuries, particularly when they involve traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

The total amount of recoverable compensation depends on the facts pertaining to each case. Insurance companies and employers may work to disprove that your injuries are severe or that they developed because of work, making it important to build a strong workers’ comp claim.

What Is the Average Workers’ Compensation Settlement Award for a Head Injury?

The amount of compensation you can recover for a head injury at work will differ based on the circumstances of your case. This means you may be able to receive anywhere from hundreds to millions of dollars in compensation for a head injury at work, with cases involving severe TBIs earning higher amounts of compensation.

According to data from the National Safety Council, head injuries come with some of the highest costs when it comes to medical bills. These injuries come with an average of around $60,000 in medical bills and $30,000 in other financial losses, totaling an average settlement of $93,942.

To find out how much your injury is worth, it’s important to report your injury as soon as possible and visit a medical professional to examine and diagnose your injury. A workers’ compensation lawyer may also be able to help you calculate the total amount of damages your claim is worth before filing.

What Factors Determine How Much You Can Recover for a Head Injury at Work?

When calculating the total amount of compensation for a work-related head injury, there are several key factors that you’ll need to consider. These include the following:

The Type of Head Injury Sustained

One of the main contributing factors in a workers’ comp case involving a head injury is the specific type of injury. Head injuries can range from mild to severe and may cause a wide range of symptoms, with some injuries leading to permanent disability. The severity of the head injury will also indicate when you need a workers’ comp attorney.

The specific degrees of head injuries include:

  • Mild Head Injuries — These injuries tend to require immediate care and result in a few days or more of missed work, but the effects aren’t often lasting. When a worker sustains a slight concussion or other mild head injury, he or she may not have a particularly complex case and generally will be able to file a workers’ comp claim without the help of an attorney.
  • Moderate Head Injuries — If a worker sustains a moderate head injury, he or she will likely be unable to work for a longer period during recovery. These injuries often involve more extensive damage and serious symptoms that could last for months or even years in some cases.
  • Severe Head Injuries — These head injuries are the most serious and tend to lead to lasting or permanent damage. TBIs resulting from severe head injuries could require lifelong care, resulting in mounting medical expenses and the inability to work entirely or in the same capacity. This means workers with these injuries may need to be on disability for the rest of their lives. As a result, these cases often culminate in settlements worth millions of dollars.

Medical Expenses

The main costs that workers’ compensation covers are medical expenses. There are different types of medical costs that could result from a head injury.

For example, some medical expenses may involve prescription medications, immediate care, doctors’ appointments, at-home care, and rehabilitation. Patients with more severe head injuries may require lifelong care and modifications to the home to account for their disabilities.

Lost Wages

Head injuries and other types of injuries may result in multiple days, weeks, or months off from work while the patient recovers. This causes lost wages that workers’ compensation will also help cover. In many cases, injury victims will experience a degree of disability that helps determine how much the worker will be able to recover in lost wages.

The Types of Disability Benefits

Head injury victims may suffer from temporary or permanent disability, with a workers’ comp doctor typically assigning a specific label for the disability in many cases.

There are four main types of disability that could influence the amount of compensation that an injured worker may recover:

Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)

These benefits apply to workers who are able to return to work following a head injury, whether they’re able to work part-time or perform light-duty tasks. These benefits count as two-thirds of the difference in earnings that you make after and before the injury. Like other temporary disability benefits, TPD benefits will cover workers until a doctor determines that they have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

Some workers may be unable to work at all while recovering from a head injury. TTD benefits would help cover the lost wages resulting from this inability to work. Typically, a worker will need to be unable to work for a minimum of 14 days after the injury.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

If a worker has reached maximum medical improvement but is still unable to function at the same level as he or she could before the head injury, a workers’ comp doctor may determine if the worker has PPD. Workers may still be able to perform certain tasks while on PPD, but they may experience a loss of physical or cognitive function.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

Workers who have lost the use of two sets of body parts or are otherwise unable to work will qualify for PTD benefits. Individuals on PTD will receive compensation for the rest of their lives.

Steps to Take After Sustaining a Head Injury at Work

If you want to recover for a head injury at work through workers’ comp, it’s important to know what to do after a workplace accident.

The following are some steps you can take to begin treatment and initiate a claim.

Report Your Injury as Soon as Possible

If you don’t require immediate treatment, it’s important to report your injury to your employer. This will involve completing workers’ compensation forms that your employer should provide. 

Seek Treatment

You should get on the road to recovery as soon as you can to begin treatment and generate medical bills that prove the nature of your injury. 

Workers’ compensation insurance policies may determine which doctor you should see, but you may be able to get a second opinion from an independent professional after seeing the appointed doctor. 

You should know what not to say to a workers’ comp doctor during an assessment, which could include any downplaying of injuries or exaggerating symptoms. Be honest with the doctor and explain what you’re feeling, and continue to practice this honesty in future appointments. Being clear and truthful about your injury will help you build a stronger claim while ensuring you get the treatment you need to reach MMI.

Maintain Documentation to Support Your Claim

When filing a workers’ comp claim, you should make sure you have ample documentation to build your case. This will include all medical bills and records, communication with insurers, workers’ comp claim forms, and even a journal detailing your recovery and your experience with your injuries.

The more you’re able to prove the nature of your injury and your experience with it, the more you’ll be able to secure workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp insurance companies may conduct an investigation into your claim, but sufficient evidence will help you avoid any costly mistakes during the claims process.

Depending on the circumstances of your injury, you could qualify for as much as millions of dollars in workers’ comp. Knowing the factors influencing your case could help you accurately calculate the amount it’s actually worth.

Chicago personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney Howard Ankin has a passion for justice and a relentless commitment to defending injured victims throughout the Chicagoland area. With decades of experience achieving justice on behalf of the people of Chicago, Howard has earned a reputation as a proven leader in and out of the courtroom. Respected by peers and clients alike, Howard’s multifaceted approach to the law and empathetic nature have secured him a spot as an influential figure in the Illinois legal system.

Years of Experience: More than 30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
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