Workers’ Compensation for Post-Concussion Syndrome
Workers who develop post-concussion syndrome after suffering a work-related head injury may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
What is Post-Concussion Syndrome?
Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a complication that sometimes develops after a head injury. Symptoms are similar to those of a concussion including nausea, vomiting, headaches, mental confusion, mood changes, sensitivity to light, and fatigue.
PCS usually starts to develop right after a concussion and they persist beyond the normal course of recovery. Health studies show that 50% of people who sustain a concussion develop PCS symptoms within 30 days of the initial head injury. About 15% of people with post-concussion syndrome will continue to experience symptoms for one year or more. For some people, symptoms never go away.
Post-Concussion Syndrome Treatment
Although most concussions are mild, proper treatment and healing are essential to prevent further damage. Workers who suffer concussions must get a proper diagnosis from a licensed physician who handles workers’ comp cases. If symptoms last longer than two weeks, a worker may be diagnosed with PCS and required to follow a specific treatment plan that impacts his/her work duties and normal wages. Common PCS treatment includes the following work restrictions:
- Avoid driving a motor vehicle
- Avoid operating machinery with moving parts
- Avoid lifting heavy objects or working from heights
- Avoid working on a computer
- Avoid direct sunlight and bright interior lighting
- Rest frequently in a quiet, low-stress environment
Depending on the severity of the concussion, normal work activities may be restricted for several days, several weeks, or several months. After treatment and a physical assessment, some workers with PCS may be able to return to work with limited hours and modified work duties, while others may not be allowed to return at all.
A workers’ comp lawyer can explain wage loss compensation for a worker that is forced to accept a modified work schedule with limited hours and a lower pay rate. In general, workers’ compensation benefits pay for medical expenses for injuries and a portion of lost wages. Most workers receive a weekly benefit check that totals about two-thirds of their regular pay up to the maximum amount that is allowed by the state.