Free Consultation    (866) 272 4652    help@brainlaw.com

De Caro & Kaplen LLP Announce 2019 Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship Winner

California art student Luis Fierro Rios, who sustained a serious brain injury in 2016, is announced as the latest recipient of New York brain injury attorneys De Caro & Kaplen, LLP’s Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship award.

Shana De Caro & Michael V. Kaplen with 2019 Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship winner Luis Fierro Rios
Shana De Caro & Michael V. Kaplen with 2019 Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship winner Luis Fierro Rios

In 2016, 26 year old art student, and aspiring teacher, Luis Fierro Rios’ life changed forever.

Fierro Rios was in his first semester of the M.F.A- Master of Fine Art program at California State University of Fullerton when he was struck by a van during a class outing. Fierro Rios recalls, “As part of an outdoor painting class, we were visiting a hiking mountain to learn and paint the scenery. When I returned to the car, I crossed the road and I was struck by a van going at speeds of about 40 mph.”

Fierro Rios was rushed to Los Angeles County USC Medical Center by helicopter, where a left hemicraniectomy was performed — a surgical procedure where a large flap of the skull is removed to reduce intracranial pressure on a swollen brain.

Fierro Rios’ physical and psychological health have been permanently affected, “I sustained severe trauma to my head and my skull fractured in the impact. This surgery had to be done to treat the swelling of my brain, but it also left my brain unprotected with my scalp as the only shield. I was in a coma for about two and a half weeks, and when I woke up, I was a different man. Over time there was no recovery but instead a decline in both physical and psychological health.”

Indeed, Fierro Rios’ injuries were so serious that doctors feared he would never walk again, “My right side of my body was paralyzing. I was also in a wheelchair and my family was told I was never going to walk again.”

But Fierro Rios was determined to prove the doctors wrong. Nine months after the accident, another operation was performed, followed by two months of therapy as an in-patient. “A team of physical, speech and the occupational therapist did everything possible for me to improve as much as possible along with my determination to be normal again. I felt like an infant which had to relearn mostly everything.”

During his time at the hospital Fierro Rios rediscovered his passion for art and determined to resume his education, “Occupational therapy began to introduce art and it sparked memories, thoughts, and ambitions to be an artist and use my skills to teach others once again.”

Enrollment in a community college helped prepare Fierro Rios for University, but he also realized he would have to overcome the difficulties in social interactions to achieve his goals, “This experience taught me what I needed to improve including higher levels of thinking and even social interaction. Before the accident, I wanted to be a college professor but now after exploring more options, I decided to teach students at a high school level.”

To help with his social skills, he began a part-time teaching job in an afterschool children’s art program, before enrolling in the single subject ‘Teaching Credential in Art’ at California State University of Long Beach, “ I went above my disability and obtained a part-time job teaching in an afterschool children’s art program. Then I began University. The feeling of starting the single subject teaching credential in art was exhilarating.”

In September 2019, Fierro Rios’ dedication to overcoming his disability was recognized by New York brain injury lawyers, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP, when he was selected as the recipient of their annual Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship award.

In presenting the award — a check for $1,000 to assist with education and living costs — De Caro & Kaplen, partners Shana De Caro and Michael V. Kaplen said, “It is always difficult to select the winner of our award. Each applicant has a unique, and deeply moving story of his or her experience with brain injury. But something every applicant has in common is the determination to continue to pursue his or her dreams. We were impressed by Mr. Fierro Rios’ drive to resume his education, but also his bravery in continuing to pursue a career in teaching. Social interactions can be difficult after brain injury, so it would have been easy for Mr Fierro Rios to choose a less interactive career. But Mr Fierro Rios has refused to let his injury control his future, and we hope that our scholarship will help him achieve his goals.”

Now 29, Luis Fierro Rios believes he has ‘surpassed the odds’ and encourages other individuals with a disability not to give up on their dreams, “It is important for our life to have a purpose and [in teaching] I have found mine. Without them, we have no future to look forward to. I encourage everyone I meet including kids and individuals with a disability to unlock their full potential of the brain and to never give up on their dreams. The brain is capable of so much including healing. Many individuals didn’t believe I would get better but I surpassed the odds by transcending from my disability.”

The Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship award is presented by New York brain injury lawyers De Caro & Kaplen, LLP and is open to students in the USA who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. Applications for next years award will open in March 2020.

De Caro & Kaplen LLP Announce 2018 Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship Winner

New York brain injury attorneys, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP are proud to have presented the annual De Caro & Kaplen, LLP Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship on October 1, 2018 to Tiffany Oliverio, in the sum of $1,000. Tiffany is a student pursuing a degree in Pre-Occupational and Occupational Therapy at Baker College in Flint, Michigan.

This scholarship opportunity was first introduced in 2017 during Brain Injury Awareness Month, to those who sustained a traumatic brain injury and are pursuing a higher education. In announcing this year’s recipient, De Caro & Kaplen, partners Shana De Caro and Michael V. Kaplen said, “We were deeply moved by the number of outstanding applications we received and want to recognize all the many people who have sustained significant injuries, and through perseverance and arduous work have found a way to follow their dreams. It is truly inspirational.”

“Our winner, Tiffany Oliverio, has shown incredible determination and tenacity in learning to adapt to life after a brain injury, and to continue to pursue her goals. She has resolved to make a difference in the lives of other victims of brain injury by pursuing a career in Occupational Therapy, to work with other young adults who have sustained similar injuries,” commented Shana De Caro, who also serves as an officer and member of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America and past chair of the American Association for Justice, Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group.

In October 2016, Oliverio, now 28, was involved in a single vehicle accident while travelling southbound on the U.S. 23 in Fenton, Michigan. According to Fenton Fire Chief Bob Cairnduff, she was found pinned in the vehicle, with two sets of hydraulic tools needed to free her from the wreckage.

Oliverio spent almost two weeks in a coma, and in a 2016 interview told Tri-County Times that the survival rate for her type of brain injury is just .1 percent. She also stated she had to relearn everything, from feeding herself, to getting dressed and taking a shower.

Shana continued, “Tiffany sustained a life-altering brain injury in 2016, just three weeks into her freshman year of college, when she was involved in a significant automobile crash. After awakening from a coma, she devoted herself to her physical and cognitive rehabilitation. Her incredible drive and efforts allowed her return to school in 2017. Tiffany spent that year away from school working on her recovery and maintained a positive attitude. Tiffany hopes to be an inspiration to others, demonstrating that hard work and perseverance will help them achieve their goals.”

Michael V. Kaplen, a three-term president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State, and professorial lecturer teaching a course in brain injury law at the George Washington University Law School said, “Tiffany, is a very determined person. She learned from her own extraordinary experiences that with accommodations and hard work she can return to school, where she intends to continue her studies to obtain a Masters in Occupational Therapy. Tiffany joined the Michigan Brain Injury Association to advocate for others experiencing the same difficulties. This has reinforced her continued efforts and pursue her dream working with survivors, as an occupational therapist, to help those who have sustained a brain injury, just as she did.”

On accepting the award, Oliverio said: “Life can be hard, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. I want other people with brain injury to know what happened to me.”

The Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship is an annual award for students who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. Applications for the next fund, to be distributed in late Summer 2019, are now being accepted.

How does trauma change the brain?

How does trauma change the brain?

How does trauma change the brain?

The brain is a soft, jello-like substance that's contained within the skull and it can easily be damaged. It is made up of nerve fibers, which have axons, which are the long thread like portion that acts like a telephone wire and communicates signals and messages. It is covered by an insulation that's known as the myelin sheath. The space between nerve cells is the synapse. When there is an injury to the brain, this whole system is disrupted and the brain is not able to communicate the messages effectively.

A good way to demonstrate what happens to the brain is using Silly Putty. A strong force causes it to stretch and break, and this is what happens to the nerve cells within the brain causing damage. These injuries have many effects. They have physical, cognitive, behavioral and emotional effects. It is essential for a brain injury attorney to understand the brain itself and the mechanism of injury and how the negligence of the defendants cause this injury and what the repercussions are to the person and their ability to function in life.

Please call the brain injury attorneys at De Caro & Kaplen for a free, no-obligation consultation. We are committed to achieving justice and full compensation for our clients.

De Caro & Kaplen LLP Announce 2019 Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship Winner
California art student Luis Fierro Rios, who sustained a serious brain injury in 2016, is announced as the latest recipient[...]
De Caro & Kaplen LLP Announce 2018 Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship Winner
New York brain injury attorneys, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP are proud to have presented the annual De Caro &[...]
How does trauma change the brain?
How does trauma change the brain?The brain is a soft, jello-like substance that's contained within the skull and it can[...]
Can whiplash cause a concussion?
Can whiplash cause a concussion?Whiplash can cause a concussion. Usually, you're talking about it with respect to injuries of the[...]
What constitutes personal injury?
What constitutes personal injury? Personal injury is a legal term that's used to describe injuries, both physical and psychological, that[...]
How do I file a personal injury claim?
How do I file a personal injury claim? A lawsuit is started by filing a complaint, allegations of negligence against[...]

Can whiplash cause a concussion?

Can whiplash cause a concussion?

Can whiplash cause a concussion?

Whiplash can cause a concussion. Usually, you're talking about it with respect to injuries of the head and neck, but it also affects the brain, which is inside the skull. When a person is sitting in a car, they're sitting upright. If they come to a sudden stop, their body continues forward and their head continues forward. The brain continues forward, but then is whipped back and the brain sheers against the inside of the skull.

This movement of the brain inside the skull causes stretching, breaking, shearing, twisting and swelling of the brain tissue and this is the mechanism of injury. It's important for a brain injury attorney to understand the causes of brain injury, how it affects the brain and how it affects you as a human being. How it affects your functioning, why you are no longer able to do what you once were able to do prior to the accident and the complete ramifications to your life.

Call the New York Brain Injury Attorneys at De Caro & Kaplen for a free, no obligation consultation. We are committed to achieving justice and full compensation.

De Caro & Kaplen LLP Announce 2019 Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship Winner
California art student Luis Fierro Rios, who sustained a serious brain injury in 2016, is announced as the latest recipient[...]
De Caro & Kaplen LLP Announce 2018 Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship Winner
New York brain injury attorneys, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP are proud to have presented the annual De Caro &[...]
How does trauma change the brain?
How does trauma change the brain?The brain is a soft, jello-like substance that's contained within the skull and it can[...]
Can whiplash cause a concussion?
Can whiplash cause a concussion?Whiplash can cause a concussion. Usually, you're talking about it with respect to injuries of the[...]
What constitutes personal injury?
What constitutes personal injury? Personal injury is a legal term that's used to describe injuries, both physical and psychological, that[...]
How do I file a personal injury claim?
How do I file a personal injury claim? A lawsuit is started by filing a complaint, allegations of negligence against[...]

What constitutes personal injury?

What constitutes personal injury?

What constitutes personal injury?

Personal injury is a legal term that's used to describe injuries, both physical and psychological, that are caused by the negligence of another. A plaintiff is entitled to be compensated for all the injuries that are caused. There are many aspects to personal injuries. These include both the physical injury, the psychological injury, pain and suffering, which means not only pain but the disability that it's caused, loss of the enjoyment of the pleasures and pursuits of life.

You're entitled to be compensated for all your medical costs and any other costs that were incurred. You're also entitled to loss of earnings. If you or a loved one has been injured by the negligence of another in a car accident, a bus or a truck wreck on an unsafe construction site or a defective sidewalk or stairway, or by medical malpractice, it is important for you to seek out the advice and counsel of a qualified attorney with the experience knowledge and commitment to represent you or your loved one to the best of their abilities and to provide you with just compensation.

De Caro & Kaplen LLP Announce 2019 Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship Winner
California art student Luis Fierro Rios, who sustained a serious brain injury in 2016, is announced as the latest recipient[...]
De Caro & Kaplen LLP Announce 2018 Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship Winner
New York brain injury attorneys, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP are proud to have presented the annual De Caro &[...]
How does trauma change the brain?
How does trauma change the brain?The brain is a soft, jello-like substance that's contained within the skull and it can[...]
Can whiplash cause a concussion?
Can whiplash cause a concussion?Whiplash can cause a concussion. Usually, you're talking about it with respect to injuries of the[...]
What constitutes personal injury?
What constitutes personal injury? Personal injury is a legal term that's used to describe injuries, both physical and psychological, that[...]
How do I file a personal injury claim?
How do I file a personal injury claim? A lawsuit is started by filing a complaint, allegations of negligence against[...]
Call Us FREE