According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, which resulted in functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both. While TBI includes open or closed head injuries, it does not apply to congenital brain injuries or brain injuries acquired through birth trauma.
Due to the blunt physical trauma to the brain, traumatic brain injuries most likely result in death or permanent disability. Even with long-term treatment, a traumatic brain injury causes residual symptoms, which may be a permanent disability.
In fact, approximately 5,700 individuals are permanently disabled by TBI, and over 381,000 Texans live with TBI-related disabilities in Houston, Texas.
Suppose the permanent disability is the direct consequence of a traumatic brain injury. In that case, there is no need to explain why one may need the help of a brain injury lawyer today!
Here is all the information you need to know regarding a traumatic brain injury-induced disability.
Traumatic Brain Injury as a Disability
Treating a traumatic brain injury is already a financial shock to most people considering the medical costs necessary for complete rehabilitation and recovery.
How much more does it cost if it leads to permanent disability?
Imagine the job loss and reduced earnings, social isolation, increased risk of developing mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, diminished quality of life, significant stress on oneself and familial relationships, and other major socioeconomic burdens.
Job Loss and Reduced Earnings
Despite the presence of different interventions to include persons with disabilities in the working force and to promote disability-inclusive practices, it is undeniable that the disabled sector faces hurdles to equal employment and promotional opportunities.
Studies show that most employers have an assumption that employing persons with disabilities will create more problems in the workplace.
However, the most significant barriers to employment for persons with disabilities are the prejudice and fear of employers for costly adaptations to have a disability-friendly workplace, such as premium transport costs, appropriate support, assistive technologies, flexible schedules, and other reasonable accommodations.
Consider yourself lucky if you did not become disabled after a traumatic brain injury.
Despite these inequalities, do not lose hope because employers everywhere are leaning towards including persons with disabilities in the workplace.
Remember that you are not alone in this battle.
Social isolation in people born with disabilities is real.
How much more for individuals who were physically active before but sustained a traumatic brain injury-induced disability? The life transition is daunting. Absent any intervention, the isolation can be detrimental to one’s emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
The health risks associated with social isolation are even more alarming. These risks include, but are not limited to, higher mortality rates, hypertension, heart problems, cognitive decline, weakened immune system, Dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
If you become disabled from a traumatic brain injury, it is essential to allow yourself to grieve. Take your time to accept and embrace the present.
Restart an old hobby, develop a new one, learn something new, or do anything that sparks your interest.
Talk to a family member, a close friend, or a person you trust. Introduce yourself to your neighbors.
Use communication technologies, such as text messaging and video chat. Do not let yourself be swallowed by solitude and self-pity.
Sign up for a virtual or in-person class which will help you keep engaged with people who share your experience. You may also seek the help of a faith-based organization that will strengthen your spirituality in these trying times.
Consider adopting a pet if you will be able to care for them.
Research suggests that these activities will help improve your well-being and regain your sense of confidence to live your second shot at life.
Diminished Quality of Life
A diminished, or if not loss of quality of life for persons with disabilities is a recognized fact.
It does not always have to be that way.
Remember that you can always change the narrative. A diminished quality of life may not be your perceived quality of life.
Despite your disability, do not prevent yourself from living a normal and meaningful everyday life. If you can survive emotionally and mentally in the long run, you can do anything you set your mind to. If you think that you are lucky enough to have survived, you will be able to live fully.
Disability Benefits Through Insurance Companies
You can claim disability benefits through your insurance company. However, most insurance companies require an intensive and holistic approach in reviewing one’s claim for disability benefits, such as appropriate treatment, proof of diagnosis, and disabling symptoms, before approving the disability benefits. No surprise there.
Proof of diagnosis means that the insurance company will assess your claim first for disability benefits.
If necessary, you must undergo a CT scan and/or MRI of the brain, then forward the result to the insurance company. The insurance company will then analyze the diagnostic test results to see whether you suffered from a traumatic brain injury.
If you suffer from symptoms indicating cognitive impairment, the insurance company may require you to undergo a neuropsychological test.
To have a higher chance of claiming disability benefits, you must be able to present medical evidence to support your claim. This includes, but is not limited to, diagnostic test results, such as a CT scan or MRI of the brain, doctor’s order sheet, hospital records, proof of medication or prescriptions, and rehabilitation therapy.
However, medical evidence alone is not sufficient to claim your disability benefits. It must be supported with a thorough assessment from your doctor. Absent the required evaluation, the insurance company may compel you to be examined by an independent medical examiner at the option of the insurance company.
Remember that you must also prove to the insurance company the disabling symptoms you experience caused by traumatic brain injury. Otherwise, the insurance company will not approve your disability claim.
It will help if you take note of the appropriate treatment for your traumatic brain injury-induced disability. You must seek medical assistance from qualified specialists, such as medical professionals, neurologists, and among others, and/or follow your doctor’s recommendation.
If the insurance company finds that your treatment is not appropriate, the insurance company may deny your claim.
Lastly, the insurance company will require you to show adequate continuing proof until the claim is approved. Traumatic brain injury symptoms are known to develop or change in the long run. You must therefore be able to update your medical records; otherwise, the insurance company will not grant your claim for disability benefits.
In sum, your claim for disability benefits caused by traumatic brain injury must undergo a five-step evaluation, which is as follows:
- The insurance company will be thorough in evaluating the well-documented medical evidence before approving the claim;
- The insurance company must determine the severity of your traumatic brain injury;
- The insurance company must be able to check whether any of the reported symptoms match up with the blue book manual of disabling conditions;
- The insurance company must examine whether you retain the ability to complete the type of work you used to do before the injury; and
- The insurance company must determine if you will be able to complete the duties associated with any other type of work; in other words, the insurance company will decide whether or not you possess the required mobility in another line of work to obtain gainful employment.
Disability Benefits through the Social Security Administration
With the presence of broad-ranging and dreadful symptoms, a person suffering from a traumatic brain injury may struggle to live normally. If the injury is severe enough that you experience cognitive impairment, it may be considered a disability.
This is one of the factors considered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to determine whether you are eligible for a disability claim. If you are, you qualify for disability benefits, such as Social Security Disability Insurance program, and Supplemental Security Income program, among others.
While there is no empirical evidence that a traumatic brain injury patient suffers from any degenerative brain diseases, studies show that severe or repeated traumatic brain injury is one of the principal causes of developing a degenerative brain disease in the future. Those who are at risk of traumatic brain injury include children, especially newborns to 4-year-olds, military, police and law enforcement authorities, individuals who have been victims of violence, and individuals who suffered from sports injuries, among others.
If a traumatic brain injury lawyer proves that you suffer from any degenerative brain diseases because of your injury, the SSA may approve your application for disability compensation.