Did You Get Knocked Out at Work?

Workplace head injuries caused by a blow to the head can result in loss of consciousness due to damaged blood vessels and lack of oxygen.

Knocked Unconscious by a Blow to the Head

A hard impact to the head can cause a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Depending on the severity of the blow, the victim may suffer dizziness, headache, blurred vision, or complete loss of consciousness that may last from a few seconds to a few minutes. In some cases, victims suffer mild symptoms and recover quickly, while others may incur serious medical problems like cerebral bleeding, brain damage, and even death.

How an Impact Affects the Brain

The brain consists of three parts: the right hemisphere, the left hemisphere, and the brain stem at the base of the skull. When a blow to the head knocks out the right and left hemispheres at once, or impacts the brain stem, the victim may lose consciousness. However, when only one hemisphere is affected, the other one can compensate to keep the victim awake. Brain activity can be affected by a blow to the head that causes a blood vessel to burst or oxygen deprivation to parts of the brain.

Although a concussion is a mild form of TBI, not all concussions cause unconsciousness. A concussion may result in milder symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, disorientation, vision problems, and balance issues. Approximately 90% of diagnosed concussion patients do not lose consciousness. Many workplace accidents result in head trauma. In most cases, a person who suffers a mild concussion recovers from the injury with bed rest and medication within a few months.

When a blow to the head causes severe damage to the brain, the victim may be unconscious for days, weeks, or longer. If there is swelling on the brain or internal bleeding, surgery may be required. Severe TBIs can have long-term effects including:

  • Physical limitations
  • Behavioral and mood changes
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Amnesia and/or memory loss
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis

Many workplace head injuries are the result of falls from ladders and platforms, slippery floors, damaged carpeting, and stairs with worn tread or loose handrails. When workplace accidents result in head injuries, they are usually covered under worker’s compensation claims. However, if someone else’s negligence is responsible for injuries, a workers comp lawyer may also file a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the injured worker.