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Brain injuries and concussions can cause long absences from work

Ontario workers who have suffered head injuries may not realise how this could affect their safety at work. While concussions and traumatic brain injuries are often associated with sports injuries and vehicle accidents, many such injuries occur at work. The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board records show 1,644 Ontario workers claimed time off work after suffering head injuries in 2012.

After suffering a head injury, the worker may not even realise that a concussion occurred. Symptoms to indicate such damage often include headaches, dizziness, fatigue and memory loss. A condition called post-concussion syndrome can be severe enough to cause depression or other mental difficulties. These aftereffects of head injuries can put the lives of workers at risk and pose challenges to insurers and employers.

No medication or specific treatment other than rest can reduce the effects of concussion or other brain injuries. The fact that the victim must spend time away from computer screens or other visual stimuli, avoid multitasking and limit activities means absence from work. The time to recover could be only weeks, or it could take months. His or her return to work must be gradual, and it might even be necessary to take a less physically demanding position.

While Ontario workers can pursue claims for insurance benefits, those whose injuries were caused by the negligence of a third party may also need the help of a personal injury lawyer to pursue a separate personal injury claim in civil court. Proving the impact that brain injuries can have on the lives of workers is never easy, and professional guidance is typically necessary. Successful litigation of such a claim can lead to a monetary judgment to cover past and future financial and emotional damages.

Source: benefitscanada.com, "Concussions a growing workplace challenge", Brooke Smith, March 21, 2017

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