Philadelphia Brain Injury Lawyer Explains New VA Change on TBI
As a Philadelphia brain injury lawyer who has helped many clients with complex litigation involving catastrophic injuries, a new proposed rule change by the US Department of Veterans Affairs is a victory for veterans battling many medical issues on the home front.
The US Secretary of Veterans Affairs announced in December a proposed change to veterans’ benefits when it comes to Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI claims. The VA’s analysis of several new medical studies found “significant evidence of relationships” between specific levels of TBI and five diagnosable illnesses.
The VA says the proposed rule change comes after several brain injury research studies found relationships between moderate or severe levels of Traumatic Brain Injury and Parkinson’s Disease; unprovoked seizures; dementias (which the VA believes includes pre-senile dementia of the Alzheimer type and post-traumatic dementia); depression (which also is associated with mild TBI); and hormone deficiency-related diseases that could result from hypothalamo-pituitary changes.
In our practice, we know the effects of trauma on the brain do not always show up immediately. Consequently, the VA also now realizes those who suffer a TBI during military service do not always seek immediate medical attention nor receive ongoing medical assessment of the severity and consequences of the TBI. For example, the research reviewed by the VA found that individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury can be diagnosed with dementia at much younger ages and as much as 15 years after their initial injuries – all directly as a result of the initial TBI.
The VA says the amendment to its TBI policy will be used to establish if a veteran has a service-connected Traumatic Brain Injury and also has one of the diagnosable illnesses mentioned above. If so, then that “new” illness will be deemed service connected as secondary to the TBI.
Beyond the VA’s five diagnosable illnesses when it comes to Traumatic Brain Injury, the VA believes there are now connections between TBI and certain behavioral and social problems.
As a Philadelphia brain injury lawyer with extensive experience helping families navigate an often challenging legal and medical system, this proposal by the VA (which could go into effect later this year), opens many new doorways for veterans and their families to receive the benefits they so justly deserve. Moreover, it opens appropriate avenues for victims of personal injury who have suffered Traumatic Brain Injury. People suffering TBI due to, for example, motor vehicle wrecks or construction site incidents will be better able to prove the relationship between their initial TBI and their later-developing symptoms and conditions.