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Legal Issues

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For most people, the biggest legal issues they may face are traffic tickets and marriage licenses. But when a brain injury interrupts a person’s ability to fully use his or her brain, then that person and his family may face a number of legal issues that aren’t otherwise anticipated.

Legal issues faced by people with brain injury
As soon as it happens, a brain injury brings up several legal questions, like:

  • Who is legally entitled to make medical decisions for the injured person?
  • Did the injury occur due to some wrongful situation?
  • What are the circumstances of the injury?
  • Did the injury occur while on the job?
  • Will this injury require long-term care or planning?
  • What types of insurance provisions are available to the injured person?
  • Does the person have an advanced medical directive or will?

Most professionals agree that it’s a good idea to contact an attorney after any hospitalization or lifestyle interruption following a brain injury. Individuals or their families may not be aware of their rights and how to keep them protected, and they may not be aware of how to receive compensation for any lost opportunities and abilities

How to find legal help
While some people have the time, education, and resources to adequately manage their own legal issues, many people rely on the help of a qualified attorney to help represent their needs. Attorneys specialize in many different areas, so it’s extremely important that a person with a brain injury finds representation from an attorney who understands the complex nature of TBI and all the issues surrounding it.

Start looking for an appropriate attorney by searching through a list of personal injury attorneys online or in your local phonebook and be prepared to ask them specific questions about their abilities and experience in representing people with brain injury.

Most states also have a non-profit organization called the Disability Law Center, which provides advice, representation, litigation, and education and training to people with disabilities.

Long term legal issues
After a brain injury has occurred and the person becomes medically stable, a number of other legal concerns may arise, such as:

  • Guardianship, or who will make medical, legal, and financial decisions for a severely injured person (A guardian must be approved by the court.)
  • Lifecare planning, or ensuring appropriate medical and lifestyle care for the person (Lifecare planning is a medical profession, usually conducted by a nurse case manager who coordinates clinical care for a person throughout their lifespan.)
  • Lawsuits — or challenges to individuals, organizations,or institutions — that protect a person’s rights
  • Estate planning, or how to ensure the injured person’s valuables and assets are protected

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