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Traumatic Brain Injury and Workers Compensation in Virginia


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a frequent cause of death and disability in the workplace. According to a nationwide study, work-related TBIs are much more likely to cause hospitalization than other kinds of work injury in the United States.

If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in Virginia. At Slominski Law, our experienced Virginia work injury attorney has been helping injured workers get the compensation they deserve for over 30 years.

In this general guide, we talk about qualifying for workers’ compensation after sustaining a work-related traumatic brain injury in Virginia. Don’t hesitate to consult for free with us at Slominski Law for advice specific to your case.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury refers to damage to the brain resulting from an external physical force. Some examples are:

  • Direct blows to the head from falling objects or workplace accidents
  • Violent shaking or spinning of the head
  • Penetration of the skull by a foreign object.

Common symptoms of TBI include headaches, dizziness, confusion, memory loss, and loss of consciousness. Even mild TBIs can result in long-term complications.

What Causes Work-Related TBIs?

Some of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries on the job include:

  • Falls – Falls from ladders, scaffolds, and rooftops often result in head injuries.
  • Struck by or against objects – Being hit on the head by falling debris, tools, vehicles, or other objects is another major cause of TBIs at work.
  • Motor vehicle accidents – Transport incidents like truck, forklift, or car crashes frequently involve head trauma.
  • Workplace violence – Physical assaults or altercations can lead to blows to the head.

In Virginia, construction workers, electricians, truck drivers, firefighters, police officers and healthcare staff are at high risk for sustaining traumatic brain injuries while working. However, any employee in any industry may claim compensation for getting a head injury at work.

TBI and Virginia Workers’ Compensation

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act provides cash benefits, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation services to employees who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses.To qualify for workers comp benefits after a TBI in Virginia, you must show that:

  • You suffered a traumatic brain injury
  • The injury occurred in the course of employment
  • It arose out of the scope of employment.

As long as your brain trauma resulted from an accident at work, you may be eligible for compensation. It’s also important to understand that workers injured on the job do not have to prove employer negligence or fault to receive benefits, because Virginia has a no-fault system. However, there are exceptions where injuries stemming from intoxication, horseplay, or self-infliction may not qualify.

Types of TBI Workers’ Comp Benefits

If your traumatic brain injury claim is accepted, some of the workers’ compensation benefits available in Virginia include:

Medical Care

  • Hospitalization
  • Doctor visits
  • Diagnostic testing
  • Rehabilitation
  • Prescription drugs
  • Home health services
  • Medical equipment

There are no caps or limits on medical benefits for work injuries in Virginia. Workers comp insurance covers all reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to the TBI.

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

  • Wage replacement benefits for injured workers who are medically unable to work for a limited period
  • Equal to 66 2/3% of the worker’s average weekly wage, up to a maximum amount.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

  • Wage benefits if the TBI causes permanent impairment or loss of earning capacity
  • Paid if you can return to work but have permanent limitations
  • Based on the type and severity of disability with set benefit rates.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

  • Lifetime wage benefits if unable to return to any gainful employment
  • For the most severe disabilities causing permanent inability to work.

Other potential benefits include vocational rehab, attendant care, transportation costs, and death benefits for qualifying dependents.

Documenting Your Traumatic Brain Injury

The key to getting your traumatic brain injury covered by Virginia workers’ compensation is properly documenting and reporting the incident. Important steps include:

Report Any Head Injury Immediately.

  • Notify your supervisor right away if you suffer any type of head trauma at work.
  • Mention specific symptoms like headache, dizziness, nausea, or confusion.
  • Get emergency medical care if needed.

Get Checked Out by a Doctor.

  • Seek medical attention even for seemingly “mild” head injuries.
  • A doctor can assess if you have a concussion or more serious brain trauma.
  • Testing like CT scans help diagnose skull fractures and internal damage.

Tell Your Doctor It Happened at Work.

  • Clearly state your head injury occurred on the job.
  • Provide details about what caused the trauma.
  • Ask the doctor to document work-relatedness in their notes.

File a Report of Injury.

  • Formally notify your employer about the work-related TBI.
  • Submit a written injury report as soon as possible.
  • Keep a copy of any accident reports created.

Traumatic Brain Injury Workers’ Compensation Claims Process

Pursuing a workers’ compensation claim for traumatic brain injury involves the following steps:

  1. Report the Injury: Notify your employer and seek any necessary medical treatment immediately after the accident. You have 30 days to give them notice, but the earlier you do so, the more convincing your claim will be.
  2. Gather Evidence: Document the incident using our tips above. Collect medical records, accident reports, witness statements, and other documentation related to your brain trauma.
  3. File a Claim: Submit a formal claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. There is a two-year deadline starting from the date of injury, but it’s best to file as soon as possible.
  4. Initial Decision: The insurer will investigate your TBI claim and issue a decision on compensability.
  5. Manage Treatment: If approved, use workers’ comp benefits to pay for neurology care, tests, rehabilitation, and other necessary treatment.
  6. Return to Work: With your doctor’s clearance, transition back to your job with any reasonable accommodations needed.
  7. Settlement: Once you reach maximum medical improvement, you may opt to negotiate a full settlement for any permanent disability or impairment benefits owed.

Traumatic brain injury claims can be complex. Having an experienced worker’s compensation lawyer on your side can make all the difference.

Traumatic Brain Injury Settlements

In a work-related TBI compensation claim, potential damages can include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent disability.

The settlement value of a Virginia traumatic brain injury case may be substantial, especially in cases of severe brain injury. Damages can vary widely based on factors like injury severity, insurance coverage, lost wages and more. An attorney can seek full and fair compensation.

Why Hire Slominski Law for Your TBI Workers’ Comp Case?

Slominski Law is dedicated to guiding injured Virginia workers through the complex workers’ compensation system. Attorney Jaleh Slominski brings over 30 years of experience representing TBI victims and their families. She works closely with each client to provide services like:

  • Investigating accident causes
  • Obtaining medical evidence
  • Navigating insurance denials
  • Appealing wrongful claim decisions
  • Negotiating fair settlements.

We know how devastating traumatic brain injuries can be for Virginia employees and their loved ones. Our law firm provides compassionate counsel and aggressive legal advocacy to those harmed in workplace accidents. 

Attorney Slominski is the go-to workers’ compensation attorney for numerous Virginians. As a Virginia workers compensation lawyer, she stays up-to-date on the latest in TBI research and resources. For a free consultation about your work-related traumatic brain injury case, contact us today at (434) 384-9400 (Lynchburg office) or (540) 554-3762 (Roanoke office) or through our online form. Slominski Law helps injured workers statewide.