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Brain Injury Attorney Shana De Caro Elected Chairwoman Brain Injury Association of America

Shana De Caro, a partner in the New York personal injury law firm, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP, has been elected as chairwoman of the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) for 2021.

De Caro has advocated on behalf of individuals and their families following a traumatic or acquired brain injury for over 35 years, and is respected nationally for her knowledge, passion, and drive to protect the rights of those who have sustained brain damage. She has previously served as vice chair, secretary, and board of directors’ member of the Brain Injury Association of America.

In accepting her new position, De Caro said, “I am excited and humbled to accept this new role on behalf of the over 5.2 million Americans living with disability caused by brain trauma.”

Founded in 1980, the Brain Injury Association of America is the oldest, largest, and only nationwide brain injury advocacy organization in the United States. As the voice of brain injury, BIAA provides help, hope, and healing for the millions of Americans who sustain this life-altering injury.

Shana De Caro, a graduate of the Benjamin Cardozo Law School, has devoted her professional career to representing survivors of brain trauma and other personal injury caused by negligence and medical malpractice. Her professional activities include being elected as the first female chair of the Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association for Justice; president of the Top 25 Brain Injury Attorney Group of the National Trial Lawyer Association; member of the Board of Directors, New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers. She has lectured to brain injury advocacy groups on effectively representing survivors of brain trauma, and is a contributing author on legal aspects of brain injury to the New York Law Journal, Neuro Clinics of North America, and other medical and legal publications.

De Caro further stated, “I am honored our board of directors has elected me to this position of responsibility and trust” and expressed her desire to continue the Brain Injury Association of America’s mission to improve the lives of brain injury survivors, “I will continue to collaborate with the association’s incredible staff and board to build a better world for persons with a brain injury and their families, to further BIAA’s mission to advance awareness, research, treatment, and education, and to improve the quality of life for all people affected by brain injury.”

De Caro & Kaplen, LLP is a New York based personal injury law firm nationally recognized for its expertise in brain injury litigation. Shana De Caro is the lead author of the Amicus Curiae brief submitted to both the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the Brain Injury Association of America, which contested the NFL concussion settlement as not being in the best interests of all players who sustained brain trauma while playing professional football.

De Caro & Kaplen LLP Announce 2020 Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship Winner

The Brain Injury Law Firm®, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP are proud to have presented the fourth annual Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship to Hannah Mead. Mead (pictured below) is a student pursuing a degree in Marine Biology at the Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina.

hannah mead

This scholarship was introduced during Brain Injury Awareness Month, for those who sustained a traumatic brain injury and are pursuing a higher education. In announcing the winner, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP partners Shana De Caro and Michael V. Kaplen said, “We continue to be impressed by the number of outstanding applications we received. It is inspirational to see how many people have sustained significant injuries, and continue to struggle and overcome incredible obstacles in order to achieve their dreams.”

Shana De Caro, Vice Chair of The Brain Injury Association of America and past chair of the American Association for Justice, Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, commented, “Our winner, Hannah Mead, has shown incredible determination and tenacity over many years learning to adapt to life after a brain injury, compensate for her injuries, and pursue her goals.”

De Caro continued, “Hannah sustained a significant brain injury when she was just 5 years old and a passenger in a vehicle that was struck from behind. Since that injury at an early age she has struggled with rehabilitation and has had to learn compensatory skills in order to work through school, including her time at a community college. Now at Coastal Carolina University, she is continuing to succeed in pursuing her dream of becoming a marine biologist. With many setbacks in this endeavor, she continues to maintain a positive outlook and strives to complete her degree. Hannah does not let anything get in her way and appropriately seeks accommodations and assistance. Her amazing attitude, perseverance, and incredibly hard work is what will make all the difference for her.”

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 said, “Hannah, is a remarkable person, she appreciates the assistance of those who helped with rehabilitation, such as Brain Injury Services of Virginia, where she spent her childhood, and helped her find a way forward. Hannah realized she could help others who have sustained similar injuries, and give back by speaking publicly at conferences about her experiences. Her positive attitude is amazing, considering the long struggles she has had and continues to have, maintaining that every experience, including sustaining a traumatic brain injury, makes you stronger and wiser.”

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 2021, will open in early 2021.

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.

How do I file a personal injury claim?

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 the people who committed the acts that you are complaining of that you say caused your injury. After the complaint is filed with the court, it gets served on the defendants usually by a process server. After the initial discovery proceedings, the defendants will ask for information about your medical condition. They will request copies of your medical records, your hospital records. After that, both parties submit to oral questioning called depositions.

They ask you how the accident happened, the nature of the accident, the nature of your injuries and how it's affected your life. The court orders a date to be set for trial at which point the attorneys for both sides prepare their cases for trial. If you’ve had an accident either with a car, or a truck or a bus, it is important for you to contact an attorney right away because there are time limits within which you can bring a lawsuit.

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

Brain Injury Attorney Shana De Caro Elected Chairwoman Brain Injury Association of America
Shana De Caro, a partner in the New York personal injury law firm, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP, has been elected[...]
De Caro & Kaplen LLP Announce 2020 Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship Winner
The Brain Injury Law Firm®, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP are proud to have presented the fourth annual Traumatic Brain[...]
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 &[...]
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Brain Injury News Monthly Update

All coaches to undergo mandatory concussion management training

Indiana passes new concussion management legislation effective July 1st requiring all coaches for students in grades 5 through 12 to take a concussion on line certification course every two years. Presently only high school coaches were required to take a certification course.

Concussions can occur in every sport to students of all ages. This new requirement is a good step in education coaches to the signs and symptoms of concussions and the importance of removing a student from play once a concussion is suspected.

Post stroke fatigue

Post stroke fatigue

It is not uncommon for stroke victims to experience cognitive fatigue. According to the American Stroke Association, upwards of 70 percent of stroke survivors experience fatigue.

The American Stroke Association and the American Heart Association has compiled an on-line fact sheet to assist stroke victims and their families understand the ramifications of post stroke fatigue.

Here are some important points:

  • Post-stroke fatigue can happen whether there has been any exertion or not.
  • Post-stroke fatigue doesn’t always get better after a survivor takes a break, or gets rest.
  • Sometimes there may be outwardly noticeable signs of fatigue, other times there may not.
  • Some fatigue may be a side effect of medication.
  • Post-stroke fatigue is unpredictable. Some survivors experience good days and bad days. For some it is all day, every day.
  • Some survivors may be doing well then suddenly “hit a wall.”
  • For some, “hit the wall” episodes may decrease over time, but they still may generally feel that they don’t have the energy to do what they want and need to do.

Click: Fatigue information sheet to obtain a pdf version of the post stroke fatigue fact sheet.

Second International Conference on Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury

The International Paediatric Brain Injury Society (IPBIS) and the International Brain Injury Association (IBIA) have announced registration is now open for the Second International Conference on Paediatric Acquired Brain Injury which will be held in Rome, Italy from Setpember 20-23, 2017

The conference will focus on new strategies to improve outcomes and quality of life in children following a traumatic brain injury.

More information on the conference is available on the International Brain Injury Association web site.

Concussions in Girls

Concussions can occur in all sports and girls are as likely to suffer a concussion as boys. In conjunction with the Pediatric Brain Injury Conference, a post conference session will be held on Saturday, September 23, 2017 focusing on brain injuries in girls and women under the age of 25.

The post conference program is organized by Pink Concussions.

Prevent Pool Drowning Safety Campaign

According to a new report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, drowning continues to be the number one cause of death among children between 1 and 4 years old and the second leading cause of death among children 5 to 14-years old.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Michael Phelps Foundation announced a partnership informational program to help prevent needless drowning in pools and spas from occurring.

The program emphasizes the need for swim lessons, adults to service as water watchers, installation of fences, and training in CPR.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission campaign, Pool Safety is an education and outreach effort to prevent drownings and entrapments in swimming pools and spas.

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