In Florida, victims of all sorts of accidents — slip and falls at hotel poolsides; crashes in water sports; car accidents — can suffer serious and lifelong injuries that permanently impact the ability of their brain and nervous system to function as they once did.
For those suffering traumatic brain injury (TBI), both their physical and psychological abilities are harmed, impacting not only their daily life and long-term future but those of their loved ones, families, and caretakers as well.
Many TBI victims suffer from behavioral and emotional challenges as well as functional challenges involving their ability to concentrate, communicate, and perform ordinary, daily tasks. Therapy is often required in several forms, including for example help in dealing with TBI-related emotional and psychological problems such as:
- Cognitive Therapy to help with problem solving and social skills.
- Behavioral Analysis to pinpoint specific negative behaviors and their triggers as well as determine alternatives and their implementation.
- Psychotherapy where a trained TBI therapist works to help the individual in building new ways to cope with TBI-related challenges.
- Medication can help in some cases to lower anxiety, depression, etc.
Florida Law to Help Victims of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
The Florida Legislature has passed laws that target Floridians who are victims of severe brain and spinal cord injuries, providing ways that the State of Florida can help these victims and their families. For example, Florida Statute 381.76 provides the following as eligibility requirements for the Florida brain and spinal cord injury programs:
(1) An individual shall be accepted as eligible for the brain and spinal cord injury program following certification by the department that the individual:
(a) Has been referred to the central registry pursuant to s. 381.74;
(b) Is a legal resident of this state at the time of application for services;
(c) Has sustained a brain or spinal cord injury;
(d) Is medically stable; and
(e) Is reasonably expected to achieve reintegration into the community through services provided by the brain and spinal cord injury program.
(2) If the department is unable to provide services to all eligible individuals, the department may establish an order of selection.
What is the Florida Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program?
The Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program (BSCIP) is a state program established by Florida law to help people all over the State of Florida who are dealing with the realities of living with moderate-to-severe traumatic brain (TBI) and/or spinal cord injuries. BSCIP offers rehabilitative services as well as help in improving individual levels of functioning through a variety of treatment methods.
It is funded through a trust fund set up by the Florida Legislature (The Brain and Spinal Cord Program Trust Fund) which gets its money from state fines levied for speeding, driving under the influence (DUI), boating under the influence (BUI), and surcharges on temporary license plates. It is a “payer of last resort,” and BSCIP needs third-party payments and comparable benefits for the provision of rehabilitation services in order to fund its work each year.
The Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program Resource Center, established in January 1994, provides brain and spinal cord injury survivors, family members, caregivers, friends and professionals with educational information and resources needed to support them in the community.. The purpose and benefits in operating such a center are to:
- Increase knowledge of SCI and TBI related resources.
- Help prevent secondary medical complications resulting from lack of knowledge.
- Foster independence through self-knowledge.
- Provide immediate access to current SCI and TBI resource information when needed by consumers throughout their lifetime.
- Provides newly injured clients with resource information specific to traumatic spinal cord injury. This information is distributed to the BSCIP regional offices in backpacks that case managers deliver and discuss with newly injured clients. The BSCIPRC also maintains a resource library, toll-free telephone line, and web page to provide information to consumers, family members, and professionals. The resource center provides education and training on the medical and psychosocial issues related to spinal cord injuries to third-year medical students attending state universities in Florida. The center also conducts awareness education to selected high schools highlighting the cause of spinal cord injury and the actions that should be taken to reduce the chance of injury.
- Recruits peer mentors with spinal cord injuries, coordinates the background checks, provides training and certification. Assigns peer mentors to newly injured clients. Coordinates payments to peer mentors for travel.
- Conducts ongoing satisfaction surveys on all BSCIP clients successfully reintegrated back into the community. The purpose of these surveys are to ensure clients were provided appropriate information, were able to access federal, state and community resources, and were not experiencing issues impacting their health and safety. Provides information on resources available to address any issues identified in these surveys.
- Conducts one year follow-up survey to assess client’s status in the community. Provide clients with technical assistance to address any issues they may be experiencing.
Long Term Care and Therapy Needs for TBI and Spinal Cord Injury Victims Is Very Expensive
Obviously, the financial costs needed to provide these services is high. This is particularly true for children and teenagers who have suffered a traumatic brain injury and now face many, many years of needed care and help with daily living.
The State of Florida’s support goes a long way toward helping these victims and their families. However, for those who have been injured due to the negligence or intentional acts of another, there may be additional financial assistance available through the insurance policies and coverages of those responsible for the accident and cause of harm. For instance, the victim of a hotel slip and fall that results in a serious brain injury or the teenager that was involved in a car crash that was left with a TBI may each have legal basis for having the driver of the car or the owner of the hotel undertake the financial responsibility for the injured parties long term care expenses (in all or in part).
What Should You Do Now?
A good piece of advice if you have been harmed in an accident, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.
- What is My Injury Claim Worth and How Can I Get Maximum Compensation for My Injury Case?
- What are Permanent Injury Damages and How are they Determined in a Florida Injury Case?
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.