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The Need For a Clear Pathway to Independence Following a Traumatic Brain Injury

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 need for a clear pathway to independence following a TBI, and why the Federal Government must develop a cohesive national strategy for supporting brain injury survivors following their injury.

We need a clear pathway between diagnosis, rehabilitation, and independence following traumatic brain injury.

Brain injuries can occur in a number of different circumstances:

Falls, being struck by an object, being hit by a car, pedestrians crossing the street, unsafe work sites, unsafe buildings, returning service members, and those engaged in sports are just some of the different ways that a brain injury can occur.

A brain injury takes place in the United States every 15 seconds.

Medical professionals can diagnose a brain injury and treat a brain injury. But what happens after that initial acute treatment is finished? What happens to that individual? What happens to their families? What about the care and support that that individual will need for the remainder of their life?

With the cognitive issues being faced by many covid-19 survivors, the issue of brain injury rehabilitation, and life following a brain injury has received more and more attention.

Now, more than ever, we need a national cohesive strategy to deal with the lingering issues following a traumatic brain injury.

The emotional, physical, cognitive and behavioral sequela following a brain injury must be dealt with by our federal government.

Victims of brain injury from whatever source need a comprehensive discharge plan. They need a comprehensive rehabilitation plan. And they need services and supports when they return home.

They need proper referrals, for continued care and support. Family members need assistance in the house, brain injury survivors need transportation accommodations in order to get proper care. Proper telehealth programs must be developed in order to provide needed assistance to these individuals.

Most importantly, we need community based services and supports. We need comprehensive insurance coverage for brain injury survivors to provide these services and supports to them.

Those individuals who are Medicaid recipients and apply for the brain injury waiver program in their state can’t be placed on a waiting list. They need that care now. And those individuals who are not eligible for Medicaid need insurance companies to pay for these same services and supports that Medicaid recipients are eligible to receive.

Brain injury is an invisible injury. It’s not written on a person’s forehead.

There needs to be a clear pathway for these individuals to obtain proper services, rehabilitation, and support.

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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