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Vets have better resources for treating brain injury

Brain injuries among veterans are not uncommon. Around 275,000 troops have suffered traumatic brain injuries since 2000. Between 12 and 20 percent of vets who came back from Iraq and Afghanistan experienced brain injuries. Fortunately, troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are experiencing much better attention to traumatic brain injuries than those of previous generations.

In addition to the tests and new knowledge available, the Pentagon will be putting $100 million into research on the long-term effects of brain injuries. That funding is on top of $700 million spent back in 2007 on traumatic brain injury research. But despite the funding and the research, there is still much about brain injuries that is not well understood. 

To take one example: there are definite differences between men and woman who suffer traumatic brain injuries, and science has not been able to explain those differences. Practically, this translates into the fact that more women are likely to suffer depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, long-term pain, homelessness, and to abuse substances.

Traumatic brain injuries can lead to long-term consequences that leave an individual unable maintain stability in their life, including in the area of employment. When this happens, supporting oneself can be a real challenge.

For those who’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury and experienced life-changing effects, it is important to realize that financial support may be available through Social Security disability. For vets, benefits are available not only through Social Security, but also through the VA. Having an experienced attorney as an advocate can help one to navigate these programs.

Source: USA Today, “Military sharpens new tools to deal with brain injuries,” Gregg Zoroyga, June 24, 2013.