What Can You Do To Help a TBI Survivor?

March 23 2018 | Blog
  • Recovering from traumatic brain injury often entails re-learning how to perform basic daily tasks. Friends and family can do much to help TBI survivors navigate this process with dignity and grace.

    This is part III of our three-part series on traumatic brain injury in recognition of TBI Awareness Month. Click here for part I here and part II.

    Brain Injury Awareness Month is a 4-week long campaign initiated by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA).

    For over three decades, every March, BIAA has conducted engaging campaigns aiming to raise public awareness of the issues related to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the struggles and success of its survivors.

    Hughes & Coleman’s personal injury attorneys wholeheartedly support this commendable effort and have dedicated this month’s blog posts to the theme of the campaign. Our last blog focused on medical issues related to TBI. This week we will explore how friends and family can help TBI survivors recover as well as how the law protects their rights to financial compensation for their injury.

    Practical Ways to Help a TBI Survivor

    If a member of your family or a friend has suffered a traumatic brain injury, you can do a great deal to help them. How exactly should you go about it though?

    First, it is important to remember that, as BIAA mentions on their website, “a person with a brain injury is a person first”. Therefore, treat them with the kindness and dignity they deserve.

    Even if they have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, do not try to undermine their injury, symptoms, or feelings. One author and survivor of TBI advises not to make assumptions about the condition or severity of injury of a person affected by TBI. On the BIAA website she writes:

    Don’t ever say to someone “It’s just a concussion. You’ll be fine.” That is not what we want to hear, and it’s
    simply not the truth.

    Second, know what to expect. For example, BIAA advises being aware that, contrary to what popular movies would have us believe, regaining full consciousness and awareness after a coma or a temporary loss of consciousness can take time and often occurs in stages. Waking up may be accompanied by symptoms such as irritability, aggression, posturing, and other issues like confusion and disorientation. These behaviors are neurologically based and may require a lot of patience on the part of the family members of a brain injury survivor.

    Also, remember that no two brain injuries are the same – the brain can be affected in an infinite variety of ways and the effects of the injury may be almost as complex as the organ itself. Therefore, educate yourself on the subject. Read articles on respectable websites such as biausa.org; stay in touch with the doctors; ask questions and don’t make quick and easy assumptions.

    Third, be ready to support a traumatic brain injury survivor in practical ways. Here are some suggestions
    offered by the above-quoted author:

    • Bring over a meal
    • Bring them groceries or basic household supplies
    • Offer to clean their house
    • Offer to drive them to their doctor appointments
    • Bring them flowers
    • Send a card or care package
    • Watch their kids for a few hours

    When Legal Help Is Needed

    Traumatic brain injuries may occur after an accident that happened as a result of another person’s negligence. Such accidents include motor vehicle crashes, slip and fall incidents, or mishaps in the workplace; they may also relate to negligent management of a property. Whatever the circumstances, TBI survivors have a right to claim financial compensation from the parties responsible for their injury. Such compensation may cover medical expenses and loss of income as well as pain and suffering that the survivor has experienced.

    Some TBI survivors are no longer able to go back to work even after reaching the point of maximum medical recovery. To be able to cover their necessary expenses, they may need to apply for financial assistance programs managed by the government. These include social security disability benefits (SSDI) and supplemental security income (SSI).

    If a brain injury occurred as a result of a workplace accident, the survivor may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Employers are required by law to carry this type of insurance which aims to compensate the injured worker for medical expenses incurred as a result of their injury and to provide income replacement for the period during which they are not able to work.

    If you or a family member have suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of any of the circumstances mentioned above, you may need a Brain Injury Attorney if you want to be fairly compensated. Hughes & Coleman have successfully represented interests of traumatic brain injury survivors.

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