Documenting Concussions and Concussive Injury

22 Jun 2017

One of the strange things about an injury to the head and brain is that the cumulative effect of even a small or minor injury matters. Medical science has not yet determined how to measure and evaluate the extent of an individual injury, nor how to evaluate a new injury in light of a series of old ones. Current methods of assessing thinking and memory are inaccurate, at best. But the science is growing, and it is important for the emerging understanding of traumatic brain injury that you are able to document a history of both diagnosed concussions and concussive injury to the head.

Documentation of an injury does not involve producing medical records or any sort of proof as such. This documentation involves writing a detailed list of incidents, with all of the information you can remember or get from others, such as family members, about the injury: how it happened and the effects on you after.

An older definition of significant head injury was an injury that resulted in unconsciousness. Doctors carefully documented how long a person was unconscious and any symptoms after, such as dizziness and headache. What we know now, through advances in science and brain imaging, is that any injury that involves a blast or blow of any degree can affect the brain, and a series of injuries over time can produce an effect long after the initial injury.

Many kids have an injury as infants and children due to accidents at home. Falling off the couch or bed as an infant, any injury needing stitches to the face or chin, falling off a top bunk bed, bike accidents, and similar accidental injury to young children may be significant and should be documented.

During the school years, any sports participation should be noted. Even sports such as track and field can produce head injury, as anyone who has even tripped over a hurdle can describe. Any significant sports injuries should be noted, particularly ones in which a student athlete was evaluated for a concussion. Any history of hunting as a child can be estimated as the number of times weapons were shot in the course of a season, and then the number of seasons. Any violent attacks on a child's face or head can produce head injury, and should also be documented. Boxing and tackle football should be carefully noted.

As adolescents, the type of injuries noted above should be documented, in addition to any car accidents or vehicle whiplash-type injury while riding motorcycles and ATVs. Riskier sports, such as paragliding and bungee jumping, should be documented. During boot camp and other military training, hours of weapons training and types should be carefully noted, as well as activities such as parachute training. Any fighting or boxing that involved blows to the face or head are significant and should be noted.

While in the service, both weapons training and exposure to weapons and concussive or blast injury should be noted. It is understood that in the chaos of combat, not every incident can be carefully evaluated and documented in a medical record. Your recollections and accounts are important and are taken as valid sources of information.

As we get older, balance can be affected, making it easier to have an accidental injury. Falls on the ice, or while walking the dog, can cause significant head injury. Motor vehicle accidents are significant. Any head injury sustained during an interaction with law enforcement or while under the influence of substances should also be noted.

This type of documentation can be important for your doctor and for the VA while assessing a claim. As science into the brain and methods of injury grows, the more information we can gather can help researchers who are trying to puzzle out the strange relationship of repeated concussive injury to traumatic brain injury and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

For more information on Traumatic Brain Injury - Veterans, please contact us.


Veteran Unemployability After Spinal Cord Injuries

14 Oct 2016

Spinal cord injuries are obviously serious but can cause lasting effects that you might not originally think about. Veterans who suffered a service-connected spinal cord injury may like to find out more about life after a SCI.

Extended Hospital Stays

The National SCI Statistical Center highlights how impactful SCIs are as their research indicates that fewer than 1% of people with these injuries make a complete recovery by the time they are discharged. Around 30% of patients return to the hospital at least once for an average stay of 22 days after being discharged the first time. This means veterans might need disability benefits for a variety of medical reasons relating to a SCI even years after the initial injury.

Unemployability

A veteran might also need to make a TDIU claim as those with SCIs often suffer partial or total loss of function in the arms, legs or torso. More than half of those with SCIs were employed before the injury, but only 12% of people still had a job one year after receiving the injury. The employment rate for those with a SCI rises as time passes but is still fairly low as 34% are employed after 20 years. Veterans may have trouble finding a job for a long time after this injury, especially when coupled with other physical or mental conditions.

Every year after an incident, a minor SCI may cost around $42,000 while a severe SCI could cost $185,000 annually. If you are a veteran who needs assistance getting the help you deserve after a spinal cord injury, contact us today.

An Overview of Special Monthly Compensation for Severely Disabled Veterans

11 Jul 2016

As an injured veteran, you are afforded a disability compensation if you're injured or become ill during your time of service in the military. But, if you lost a limb, your sight or hearing, you could be eligible to receive the Special Monthly Compensation benefit, which is paid in addition to the monthly disability payment.

This compensation can be paid to you as the veteran, your spouse, your surviving spouse or your parents. It's sometimes referred to as "aid and attendance" when paid to your spouse, as it's meant to compensate the care that she provides for you.

However, this monthly compensation is extremely complex and it's best to retain an attorney with experience in veteran and military law in order to understand the program and determine if you're eligible.

Qualifying Disabilities for Special Monthly Compensation

There are a few different disabilities that may qualify you to receive this compensation, and they include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Loss of sight
  • Loss of limb
  • Loss of hearing
  • Loss of the use of a reproductive organ
  • Inability to communicate (loss of speech)
  • Loss of a percentage of tissue from both breasts, a single breast, from radiation treatment or a mastectomy

The Department of Veterans' Affairs will pay a higher rate for those that suffer a combination of these disabilities. There are also higher payouts for a number of combinations of bilateral blindness and severe deafness.

Apply for Special Monthly Compensation

If you feel you qualify for this special monthly compensation, reach out to us today.


The Other Costs of War

14 Apr 2014

Most of the focus on injuries involving veterans centers on injuries that are sustained as a direct result of being involved in combat. These include blast-related brain injuries, amputations, genital injuries and other injuries that veterans are exposed to when they are in a combat zone. However, veterans may suffer a whole host of other medical and health complications, and the full range of these complications is only now being explored.

For instance, veterans who return home finding that their hormones that have been completely thrown out of balance because of the stress that they have been under during combat. Blast-related injuries are not the only head injuries that veterans suffer. During the course of combat, jumping from elevations may result in falls resulting in injuries with symptoms that are different from the blast-related head injuries that receive the most attention.

Veterans, who were in situations where they had to inhale heavy smoke, find that their lungs are weaker after they return home. Their bodies have been under severe stress and strain as a result of running around with heavy armor, resulting in long-term spinal injuries. Many veterans return home with hearing loss as a result of the constant exposure to blasts.

Such injuries are not typically considered injuries like those that result from an enemy attack, blast and explosion. Therefore these vets are not feted for their bravery, and are not awarded Purple Hearts. Even more importantly, they do not even feature in the official list of veterans wounded in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

However, that doesn't change the fact that these veterans’ injuries have permanent and possibly long-term consequences. The range and scope of these non-hostile injuries is only now beginning to become clear, and as the months pass, and as many veterans return from combat and resume their lives, we will be able to fully explore and understand the full scope of the impact of the wars on veteran health.

Veterans May Suffer Effects of Brain Injuries for Years Later

02 Jan 2014

According to the results of a new study, veterans who suffer from combat-related brain injuries may suffer from the effects of such injuries, even years later.

According to the research conducted by researchers at St Louis University, veterans who suffer from such blast-related injuries, show changes in brain tissue that are discernible, even years after the blast.The researchers looked at brain imaging scans taken with diffusion tensor imaging technology, which is a highly sensitive magnetic resonance imaging technology. They found that the brains of military personnel, who had suffered combat-related injuries, continued to show damage even years after the injury had occurred.

These long-lasting effects of brain injury are seen only among veterans. Among civilians who suffer brain injuries, several effects of the injuries like concussions or cognitive problems, typically disappear within one to 3 months after the injury. The impact of the injury seems to be much longer among military personnel. According to the researchers, these long-term effects have only now come to light, because the conventional scans that are currently used to study combat-related brain injuries among veterans are not sensitive enough to pick up minute changes in brain matter.

California veterans’ disability benefits lawyers believe that there are other reasons why veterans have a much higher risk of long-term effects of brain injuries, compared to civilians. For instance, veterans are much more likely to suffer from health issues like depression, which could exacerbate the effects of a brain injury. Besides, veterans are much more likely to experiment with alcohol or drug use, upon return from combat duty. It is also a fact that veterans who suffer from combat-related brain injuries are much more likely to also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which could also possibly affect the functioning of the brain.

Injured Veterans Benefit from Advancements in Artificial Limbs

01 May 2013

The recent Boston Marathon attacks are believed to have resulted in several amputation injuries. However, for these victims, life with a prosthetic device is likely to be much easier, than has been the case in the past.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have contributed to tremendous advances in prosthetics technology, and today, veterans, as well as civilians, have access to prosthetics that are not only easy to wear, more comfortable and more effective, but also contribute to more natural walking.

Not only that, modern prosthetics also enable users to run, jump and climb with their artificial limbs. Performing such activities with the use of a prosthetic limb was unthinkable just a few decades ago. These days however, it’s fairly common to find amputees fitted with artificial limbs participating in a number of outdoor activities and sports.

Many prosthetic limbs also now make use of artificial intelligence to increase the effectiveness of the limb, and efficiency of movement, taking prosthetic technology one step further. Artificial limbs nowadays are waterproof, dust proof and corrosion-free.

What is also very encouraging for California veterans’ benefits lawyers is the wide range of prosthetic limbs that are currently available. There isn't a one-size-fits-all limb that veteran amputees can choose. There are limbs that may be suited to you depending on your requirement and your lifestyle.

Prosthetic limbs can be expensive, but it's not necessary that the most expensive device is the one that is most suited to you. Not everybody needs a high-tech expensive device with sophisticated top-of-the-line features of the kind that a marathon runner might need. It's important to discuss prosthetic limbs with your doctor before you decide on a suitable prosthetic device for you

1