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TBI In The Homeless Population

De Caro & Kaplen partner Michael V. Kaplen, a three-term president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State, and professorial lecturer at law, teaching a course in brain injury law at the George Washington University Law School, discusses the alarming, and often overlooked prevalence of traumatic brain injury in America’s homeless population.

Why should we consider the issues of homelessness and traumatic brain injury?

With homelessness on the rise in the United States due to factors like poverty, unmet psychiatric needs, and housing shortages, there’s a pressing need for more attention and resources to tackle this problem.

The link between TBI and homelessness is a two-way street, with TBI increasing the risk of neurologic and psychiatric conditions that can contribute to homelessness. Living on the streets or in shelters also exposes individuals to more injury risks.

Does homelessness impact veterans?

Studies highlight veterans are 50% more likely to become homeless than other Americans, making the issue even more complex.

What do recent studies reveal about homelessness and traumatic brain injury?

A 2019 study in the Lancet Public Health Journal, found the lifetime prevalence of any severity of TBI in homeless and marginally housed individuals is 53.1%, and the lifetime prevalence of moderate or severe TBI is 22.5%.

A 2023 Lancet study found similar rates of TBI among the homeless and marginally housed, with common injury causes being falls, assaults, and head strikes, often related to intoxication and drug overdoses.

What traumatic brain injury screening evaluations need to be performed in the homeless population?

Any evaluation of homeless individuals, whether social or medical, should include a comprehensive assessment for traumatic brain injury and referrals for care and rehabilitation.

About The Author

Michael V. Kaplen

Michael V. Kaplen represents victims of vehicle collisions, unsafe buildings and construction sites, and medical malpractice, and is a preferred attorney of The Brain Injury Association of America.

Michael is board certified as a Civil Trial Advocate and board certified in medical malpractice litigation. He is a Professorial Lecturer in Law, The George Washington University Law School, The Legal Aspects of Traumatic Brain Injury.

Michael is past chairman of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Automobile, Highway and Premise Liability Section, past chairman of the AAJ Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, three term president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State served two terms as chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council and vice-president, New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.

He was invited by President Obama to participate in the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit.

He is admitted to courts in New York, Florida, and Washington, DC. He has been selected as a New York Super Lawyer and recognized by Best Lawyers of America and U.S. News and World Report in personal injury law.

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