I had a mTBI four years ago from a car crash. I went through rehabilitation and was considered every therapist’s dream because I was eager to use every strategy I learned to make my life work again.
It seems that each year or so another issue crops up like a vestibular disorder and now seizures and a sleep disorder. Up until now, I have managed my brain injury successfully at work. But the sleep deprivation and seizures are causing problems and mistakes. I have done a sleep study and am taking seizure meds, but I don’t feel adequately equipped to manage these additionally weak areas that are now manifesting themselves at work. Any suggestions as to what I should do or from whom I should ask for help?
Mild traumatic brain injury is a condition that evolves over time. Not all individuals who have sustained a mTBI exhibit the same signs or symptoms. Frequently, the signs and symptoms of mild brain damage may take days, weeks, or even months to develop.
It is quite common that people who have sustained a mild brain injury are not aware of the full extent of their brain damage until they attempt to return to their normal vocation or to school. In other instances, a new social, educational, or work environment with additional or novel demands may cause the individual to experience previously undiscovered difficulties.
Because the signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injury involve physical, emotional, behavioral, and social deficits, a brain injury specialist who is experienced in all of the complex consequences that can develop should be consulted. The medical professional with the most experience in the treatment of individuals with a mTBI is often a specialist in rehabilitation medicine and is Board Certified by the American Board of Rehabilitation Medicine with a subspecialty in traumatic brain injury. Many medical centers have a brain injury rehabilitation program where these physicians can be found.
An attorney representing an individual with a mTBI needs to understand that not all brain injuries are alike; that injury can result with or without loss of consciousness; it can occur even if the head does not strike an object; and that a person suffering from mild brain injury can appear “normal” shortly after an accident and may even have a normal examination in the emergency department of a hospital. It is important to take the time to explore all aspects of the injured person’s life and speak with those close to that person to explore difficulties at home, work, and school.
Michael V. Kaplen, Esq. is a partner in the New York law firm De Caro & Kaplen, LLP. Mr. Kaplen is a professorial lecturer in law at The George Washington University Law School, where he teaches a course in traumatic brain injury law. Mr. Kaplan serves on the board of directors for the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.