Not every blow to the head results in a traumatic brain injury. But if you, like many civilian contractors working for defense department contractors hired by the U.S. government to work overseas are hurt, there is help available for you longterm.
Defense Base Act Provides Medical Care
The Defense Base Act is a law that is provided for anyone injured while working for a U.S. government defense contractor hired to work in Iraq, Iran or Afghanistan. The Defense Base Act provides medical care, compensation, your right to choose your own doctor and a no cost to you attorney. The Act also requires that your employer or insurer pay for an attorney.
Garfinkel Schwartz provides Defense Base Act help to injured workers by fighting for the denied medical benefits that pay for care for injuries including Traumatic Brain Injury.
Watch for Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
If you do suffer a jolt, a shake, an impact or a wound to your head and believe that you’re fine, it’s important to watch out for symptoms of mild or moderate to severe traumatic brain injury – and to seek medical treatment immediately.
Go to the doctor, and if you are in a region with poor medical facilities, do your best to get the best possible medical care. Have a loved one back home call an attorney who will help you fight for and receive the care that you are allowed by law.
Get a Defense Base Act Attorney immediately
The Defense Base Act requires you to report the accident or incident to your supervisor or HR if possible. After the incident is reported immediately have a family member contact Garfinkel Schwartz or another experienced and knowledgeable Defense Base Act attorney.
DBA law is very difficult and not common. Most attorneys do not practice in this area and will not be able to best represent you.
Don’t Be at the Mercy of Insurers
If you don’t contact an attorney, you will be at the mercy of your employer and its insurance company to take care of you. Insurers won’t make money if they approve all of your medical care. So at some point, the job of the insurer will be to deny your claim unless you have hired an attorney to protect your interests.
Garfinkel Schwartz will find out if you have a case and will take clients on without charging fees for working the case. This is standard practice within the Defense Base Act which covers legal fees incurred.
Doctors Test Range of Mental Ability
If you have an injury in which you’re conscious and able to see and talk to a doctor, he or she will ask you questions that test your ability to pay attention, learn, remember and solve problems. Then you’ll be tested for reflex action, strength, balance and coordination and you may be asked questions about your moods and sense of taste, smell and touch.
In short, you’ll be checked out for cognitive function (attention and memory); motor function (balance and coordination); sensation (ability to feel, touch and smell); and emotion (ability to control moods or being easily angered or saddened).
According the Veterans Administration and the Centers for Disease Control, several testing scales can be used for diagnosing a traumatic brain injury.
The Glasgow Scale
A common rating system, called the Glasgow Scale, scores patients on the basis of how they test for symptoms to determine if they have mild, moderate or severe traumatic brain injuries.
Although the term doesn’t sound too scary, “mild” brain injuries (which often are concussions) still are a cause for serious concern. Doctors say patients usually experience mild symptoms if they lose consciousness for 20 minutes or less.
Symptoms of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury include headaches, fatigue, memory loss, poor attention spans or difficulty concentrating, problems sleeping, dizziness and loss of balance, irritability, feelings of depression or sadness, confusion, slowness in thinking and sensitivity to light and sound.
Often in the case of mild brain injuries, symptoms may not even occur until days or weeks after the injury; people attribute them to other causes and so they go unrecognized as traumatic brain injuries. Persons with these injuries have only lost consciousness for a short time – say a football player gets his “bell rung” and is confused for a few minutes after a play – so they can appear “normal” when in fact their brain has been affected.
Loss of Consciousness
Medical rating scales categorize a moderate brain injury as that which happens when a person loses consciousness for 20 minutes to six hours. The symptoms may be the same as those in mild injuries, only more prolonged and more severe. Those with moderate traumatic brain injuries also can experience slurred speech, nausea and vomiting.
Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries
Persons with severe traumatic brain injuries often have lost consciousness for more than six hours. Their injuries are the result of explosions in combat, severe auto accidents or other instances in which there is a dramatic blow to the head or an object penetrates the skull.
For victims of severe traumatic brain injury, their ability to function is dramatically impaired and their lives maybe be permanently altered.
Slurred Speech or Loss of Speech
Severe traumatic brain injury symptoms include slurred or abnormal speech or the loss of speech, impaired mobility or loss of mobility, partial or complete loss of vision, partial or full paralysis, seizures, and an inability to understand the spoken word. In the most severe cases, persons can be comatose or remain in permanent vegetative state.
It’s important to remember that no two brain injuries are alike, and not everyone experiences all the symptoms or fits an exact profile of mild, moderate or severe. Treatment programs and recovery outcomes will be different for everyone. But this much is clear: if you’ve had a blow to your head, and you’ve come home from working overseas after having hit your head and since have had difficulties, see a doctor and tell the doctor about your injury.