A traumatic brain injury can disrupt a life even under normal circumstances. In these extraordinary times, those with a brain injury are particularly vulnerable to the many unknowns that may be faced in future days, weeks, and months. The constant struggle of traumatic brain injury is exacerbated under stressful circumstances.
It is our hope that those who are interacting with brain injury survivors, including medical providers, first responders, legal professionals, families, and friends provide the support, assistance, and special care those with this “invisible injury” require.
We offer the following advice for those interacting with brain injury survivors:
Individuals with a brain injury may be experiencing memory deficits, concentration difficulties, impulsiveness, depression, or poor emotional control. They may have difficulty keeping up with a normal paced conversation, have slowed response to questions, and impaired reading and writing abilities.
What can you do?
- Treat your patients, friends, and clients with COURTESY and RESPECT.
- Slow down your conversation.
- Avoid time pressured meetings.
- Allow extra time for them to formulate a response.
- Avoid time pressured meetings.
- Put important information in writing.
- Take frequent breaks during meetings.
We offer this advice for individuals with a brain injury and their family members in effectively communicating with medical and legal professionals:
- You are entitled to be treated with COURTESY and RESPECT. Trust your instincts. If you don’t believe you are being treated properly, consider a different professional.
- Explain you require extra time to process as a result of your impairments. The challenge here is to not feel rushed, as when stressed your cognition erodes.
- If distractions bother you, arrange in advance (or if unable to do so in advance when you arrive) for a quiet place to wait.
- Arrive at your appointment at least 15 minutes ahead of time, so you can collect your thoughts, become settled, and unwind.
- Write down in advance everything you want to tell or ask your health care or legal professional.
- Write down instructions you have been given and repeat the information to make sure you understand.
- Ask your doctor to write down your diagnosis. Ask for a written explanation in layman’s language. Ask for a written description of the preferred treatment and goals, with an estimate of the costs and the expected time frame.
- Never sign a blank release form. Read what you’re signing and obtain a copy of every document you sign.
- Ask questions. Ask again if you don’t understand the answer. Ask again if you don’t like the answer. AND ask someone else if you STILL don’t like the answer.
Working with Brain Injury Survivors in the Wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic
We have created a video series with advice for brain injury survivors, their friends, family, and caregivers in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. We will be releasing daily videos over the coming weeks.
Please Help Support The Brain Injury Association of America
In these difficult and challenging times, the Brain Injury Association of America requires financial support to continue its mission to assist the millions of Americans living with traumatic brain injury.
All donations — no matter how small — are gratefully received and will make a difference. If you can afford to do so, please consider making a tax-deductible gift at https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=biausa&id=174.
About Shana & Michael
Shana De Caro and Michael V. Kaplen are personal injury attorneys dedicated to assisting brain injury survivors navigate the road after traumatic brain injury. With extensive experience in representing victims of brain trauma, they are prepared to guide brain injury victims through the legal obstacles they will confront and recover full and fair compensation for the harms and losses their clients have suffered as a result of someone’s careless or negligent conduct.
De Caro & Kaplen, LLP is a New York personal injury law firm focused on representing victims of brain injury. Our attorneys have the knowledge and skill to make a crucial difference in the lives of brain injury victims. Specialized brain injury cases require a law firm with the experience and proficiency to assist brain injury victims through the most difficult legal challenges in their lives following a traumatic brain injury.
Shana and Michael are nationally recognized for their advocacy on behalf of brain injury victims. Shana De Caro serves as Chairwoman of the board of directors of the Brain Injury Association of America . Michael is a three-term past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State and current Chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council. They have been designated Preferred Attorneys for the Brain Injury Association of America.
Their opinions on traumatic brain injury are frequently sought by The New York Times, USA Today, The Daily News, Fox News Network, and others. They are widely respected throughout the legal, medical, and judicial communities. The two regularly lecture lawyers, medical professionals, and judges, across the nation on how traumatic brain injury clients and cases should be evaluated and handled in and out of the courthouse.