Pending California legislation would have positive impact on TBI victims

A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can happen to anyone, including well-known politicians and news reporters. Both former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and news reporter Bob Woodruff sustained TBIs after traumatic incidents.

TBI is the term used to describe a type of brain injury that can occur when the head is violently struck by another hard object. A TBI can also result when a sharp object is inserted into the skull and enters brain tissue.

Many people may be surprised at how commonly TBIs actually occur. According to the Brain Injury Association of California, or BIACAL, over 100,000 California residents are treated for a TBI annually. Additionally, more than a quarter of these patients are unable to return to work or to do many things that they may have done before the injury.

A TBI usually results in permanent, lifelong consequences. Treatment after a TBI often includes extensive and long-term rehabilitation.

However, each of the aforementioned cases demonstrate that medical care and rehabilitation in a quality treatment setting after a TBI can result in significant advancement in physical, mental and cognitive condition.

Legislation provides greater access to care and no limits on treatment

In order to bring continued awareness to the significance of TBIs, BIACAL recently announced its sponsorship of the Brain Injury Access to Treatment Act, or BIATA.

Enactment of BIATA would accomplish two goals. One is that TBI victims would have greater access to the highest quality and least expensive TBI treatments available. The other is that all time limits for treatment of a TBI would be eliminated, consistent with many other major medical conditions.

Rehabilitation restrictions are presently designed for orthopedic, rather than neurological, conditions. There are also current restrictions on certain types of treatment and rehabilitation.

Because of the severe symptoms and devastating consequences of a TBI, these restrictions result in inconsistent treatment for patients, which can cause the patients' condition to deteriorate, remain permanently disabled, and ultimately even require institutionalization.

BIATA would eliminate these restrictions and connect patients with specific, personalized treatments that provide the maximum effects on recovery. This is extremely vital, considering the serious consequences of a TBI.

TBIs cause intense physical, cognitive and emotional problems

Car accidents are the cause of a large number of TBIs. Sports, falls and employment-related accidents also account for a significant number of these brain injuries.

The symptoms of a TBI have physical, cognitive and emotional elements. They are often permanent and can require significant lifestyle modifications along with an intensive rehabilitation program.

Common signs of a TBI are:

  • Blurry vision
  • Ringing ears
  • Speech difficulties

TBI victims also routinely find it difficult to focus and may undergo drastic personality changes. Anxiety and depression are typical, as well as exhibiting inappropriate public behavior.

Around 50 percent of TBI victims require surgery to remove or repair ruptured blood vessels and bruised brain tissue. After surgery, continued physical, psychological and speech therapy is often necessary. A strong social support system is also essential for a TBI patient.

This is why broader access to treatment facilities and unrestricted length of treatment is crucial in cases of TBI, and this is exactly what the BIATA hopes to accomplish.

It is clear that adapting to life after a TBI requires extensive and almost limitless resources. Most TBI victims do not have these resources, and that is why a personal injury attorney with TBI experience can be helpful. Insurance companies often attempt to minimize the injury in order to provide only the smallest amount of compensation.

A qualified TBI attorney can ensure that a TBI victim receives all deserved compensation. This includes compensation not only for medical bills, but also for lost wages, as well as pain and suffering.

A TBI attorney recognizes the seriousness of the injury and will fight aggressively to ensure that insurance companies and any other interested parties are held accountable for negligent actions.