Brain Injury : Support is CRITICAL

When undergoing a tragic event such as a brain injury, it is vital to have a network of support.

Having a loved one, such as a family member or trusted friend, can be deemed a necessity during these hard times. The emotional toll of living with a brain injury can be exhausting for the victim. Having a network of family and friends to lean on during this trying time can bring comfort and security. As Doug Landau often tells clients, “Two heads can be better than one!”

Having a family member or friend “steer” while you try to “paddle” and negotiate treatment after a traumatic brain injury can help avoid wrong courses, missed signals and missed appointments.

So what can someone do when they have sustained a traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) do? Basic obligations such as scheduling appointments can be difficult because you may not have the capacity to remember specific details. Having support and other individuals to attend appointments alongside you can be very beneficial. Certain things like numbers and important materials can become more difficult to remember. It’s important to ask questions as they arise, write concerns down and also ask individuals to repeat themselves if you are having a hard time recollecting.

A brain injury will cause you to be less cognizant than you were before, this is why it’s vital to have a record of everything you are doing. Memory retention can be impacted by brain injury, making it difficult to recall crucial information shared during the discussion. Document everything, especially if you are making calls to doctor’s offices for appointments or attempting to schedule vestibular or physical therapy. Keeping a written record will show determination and can also be useful to your case.

The common belief is that if you have a bad medical problem, you go to the emergency room. However, if you have an authorized treating physician, the workers comp insurance company will expect you to go to see that doctor first. Every workers compensation insurance company wants a nurse involved (to help control medical services and costs) and pre-authorization-even though under the Virginia Workers Comp Act, medical management is prohibited. Doctors’ office staff will attempt to delay booking appointments until the insurance company sends “Pre-authorization” promising payment. This can wreak havoc on a patient’s treatment plan and recovery.

While getting medical attention for a brain injury is critically important, in many cases the patient will be released to light duty, part-time or other selective duty employment. One way that you can show that you are trying to get better and make the best of your situation is to document when you are looking for work, undertaking re-training or educational programs and registering with state, local &/or federal agencies for vocational help. Even if you are not yet released to work, documenting your efforts can show a judge how hard you are attempting to get your life back on track.

A severe brain injury can feel very isolating. Exhaustion, “brain fog,” balance & memory issues all contribute to a withdrawal after a TBI. Keeping friends and family involved can help to keep care on track, social engagement skills & avoid depression.

When you have sustained a brain injury, having another person present at meetings improves communication, comprehension, record-keeping and decision-making, while also offering emotional and practical support. Sometimes it can feel very lonely and isolating after a significant brain injury.  Asking for the help of friends, neighbors and family can help with treatment, recovery and the ultimate outcome. If you or someone you know has had a brain injury as the result of a car crash,  workplace accident or other event due to another’s unsafe conduct, and there are questions about legal rights, time limits and resources, please do not hesitate to contact us at 703–796–9055, or email