How does a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) affect an individual's ability to work following an accident? What factors affect their ability to pursue and remain gainfully employed? Nationwide, those who suffer a TBI are at significantly greater risk of both unemployment and underemployment. Reasons for this include damage to cognitive function and the impact the TBI has on the individual's overall physical and mental health. TBIs and other head injuries often call for ongoing supportive care and medical maintenance.
Returning to Work Following a TBI
Data published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that at two years post injury requiring rehabilitative treatment, less than 40% of individuals who were between 16-60 years old were able to return to work. At the two year mark, 60% of individuals who suffered a severe TBI were unemployed. Of those who are able to return to work, 35% worked part-time. These part-time employees include those who work 35 hours or less per week which indicates a significant number of these individuals are underemployed.
Examination of Disability Rating Scale (DRS) data showed that for every point on the DRS, there was a 5% increase in the likelihood the individual would be unemployed two years post injury. One reason may be that the higher the DRS, the greater the damage to the individual's psychosocial health. The CDC suggests that while a TBI is known to diminish the individual's cognitive functions, they may also cause hormonal imbalances. In turn, these factors combine and lead to the development of depression. The cumulative impact of these secondary factors reduces the individual's ability to perform work related functions.
Factors that Influence Employability
81% of individuals employed prior to a TBI are likely to return to work within two years post injury. Similarly, the higher the educational level attained, and the younger the age at injury, the greater the likelihood the individual will be able to return to work. As with similar studies published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the data shows that the individual's adherence to rehabilitative therapy, self-motivation to return to work, and their cognitive and social capabilities are critical. Individuals who adhere to treatment regimens and desire to return to work are more likely to secure long-term, gainful employment.
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Brad Pistotnik Law is a Wichita law firm with brain injury attorneys, car accident lawyers, truck accident lawyers, auto accident attorneys, lawyers, and abogados who represent clients in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Florida, Missouri, and Illinois following accidents that result in brain injuries. Contact us today to learn more.