A traumatic brain injury is a serious and life-changing injury caused by a sudden blow to the head and leaves the brain damaged. Brain injuries are extremely common in the workplace, and not just in high-risk industries such as construction and manufacturing. Suffering a traumatic brain injury could lead to physical and/or cognitive challenges that require intensive and long-term rehabilitative care. Even with such care, a traumatic brain injury may cause residual symptoms that are severe enough to cause a lifelong disability.
If you have suffered a brain injury on the job and find it impossible to continue working because of your condition, you may wish to file a long-term disability insurance claim. Many people who have been sidelined because of a brain injury count on these critical benefits to care for their health and well-being. If you take this step, it is crucial to understand the many factors that could put you in the best possible position to secure these disability benefits. To get help with your brain injury simply fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced work injury lawyers in Los Angeles.
How Brain Injuries Can Be Disabling
The health effects of a brain injury could last anywhere from a few weeks to several years, or even become permanent. Understanding the specific challenges your brain injury poses for you and how it limits or prevents you from doing your job will help you strengthen your disability claim.
Traumatic brain injuries can cause physical and/or cognitive issues. Some of the physical symptoms of brain injuries that can prove disabling include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, seizures, and abnormal sleep patterns. Some may also feel symptoms such as loss of balance and coordination, muscle weakness, blurred vision and sensitivity to light.
Many brain injury patients also experience cognitive symptoms ranging from mood swings, impaired memory and difficulty focusing to personality changes, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. These symptoms – whether they are physical or cognitive or both – can be disabling if they are severe and frequent enough.
Does Your Brain Injury Qualify as a Disability?
While it might be apparent to you and your loved ones that your brain injuries are serious and disabling, the insurance company will ask for proof of your diagnosis, details about your disabling symptoms and the course of treatment you received before approving your disability claim. The importance of having comprehensive supporting documentation to buttress your claim should never be underestimated. Never make the mistake of assuming that the insurance company will understand or be sympathetic to your struggles.
Here are some of the key pieces of evidence that will help you be successful with your disability claim:
Test results: The insurance company will review all your test results such as CT scans or MRIs to verify your statements. If you are experiencing residual cognitive symptoms or mental effects, the insurance company may also want to review results of neuropsychological testing.
Medical evidence: This might be the most important piece of documentation that can help get your claim approved. There could be benefits to having records from an independent medical examination. Medical evidence will include documentation including hospital records, test results, follow-up notes from your doctor or other specialists you saw, proof of your prescription or medications, and records of any type of rehabilitative treatment or therapy that you received.
Doctor's assessment: Another crucial piece of evidence will be your doctor's opinion as to whether you are disabled. The insurance company will look for abundant detail including a thorough assessment of your condition that analyzes the severity of your symptoms and the limitations it will pose while you attempt to do your job. If the insurance company is not satisfied with your doctor's assessment, they may ask you to be examined by one of their independent medical examiners. You will want to avoid going through that process. So, it's best to be as thorough as possible with your doctor's report.
Evidence of symptoms: It is absolutely important to properly document all of your symptoms – physical and cognitive – as well as their severity and frequency. Insurance companies tend to evaluate brain injury disability claims on a case-by-case basis to consider how the symptoms are affecting your ability to work. If the symptoms are not properly documented or explained, your insurance company may deny your claim.
Treatment: The insurance company will also examine the medical evidence to determine whether or not you received "appropriate treatment." Traumatic brain injuries are complex injuries. So, the process of determining whether the treatment you received was appropriate can be an equally challenging task. It is important that you follow your doctor's recommendations carefully and show that you are taking every possible step to improve your condition.
Contacting a Work Injury Lawyer
Disability claims involving brain injuries are challenging and complicated. You need an experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer on your side who can help you document your injury, symptoms and treatment and make sure you receive the benefits you need. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you maximize your chances of qualifying for these vital benefits.