San Diego TBI Lawyers
TBI is a risk that military men and women face in service. Just like with PTSD, this injury can change a soldier for the rest of their life. The problems that come from it are difficult but not impossible to overcome. One thing that helps veterans in San Diego and throughout the world is access to the benefits they deserve when injured.
What are TBIs?
Traumatic brain injury is sudden damage to the brain caused by having it struck by an object (such as debris), the head striking an object, or penetrating the brain. For soldiers, the risk of TBI is naturally high, and coupled with other causes such as blasts from IEDs, it becomes a common injury for most.
It is so common that a mild form of TBI is considered a concussion, which many service members experience throughout their time in the military. And in most cases, veterans who suffer a concussion fully recover from the injury. However, there are some cases where the concussion carries lingering physical and mental effects. Especially when the veteran did not receive proper medical care or suffers a repeat concussion.
If a veteran suffered continuous mild TBIs throughout their service, they might not fully feel the effects until much later when the damage begins to mount. This is why it’s essential to routinely do check-ups with your physician.
And although most TBIs cases are from combat, that doesn’t necessarily deny a veteran a service connection from a TBI caused outside combat. They may still qualify for a disability benefit so long as the accident happened during their active duty.
Common Symptoms and Risk
Outside of the immediate pain brought on by the trauma, TBI also has other immediate symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, and loss of memory. You may “see stars” or feel dizzy and confused if still conscious. As for their memory loss, it’s either temporary or permanent. This is a product of Post-traumatic amnesia, which blocks out memories during and before the injury was sustained. If you do not remember the event, it’s most likely because the memories were not stored.
Later symptoms may also begin to show, such as persistent headaches or neck pain, depression, and impulsiveness. It can also progress even further into irritability, anxiety, and personality changes that can be mistaken as mood swings.
The Process for Receiving VA Benefits
The VA provides disability compensation benefits to eligible veterans who suffer from disabling TBI. To qualify for these monthly, tax-free payments, you must demonstrate that your TBI is service-connected and that it causes you to be at least 10% disabled. However, the VA rates TBI by the severity of each of its conditions and associated symptoms. They recognize that TBI can affect a veteran in three ways, cognitively, emotionally/behaviorally, and physically.
When applying for TBI-related veterans’ disability benefits, a VA evaluator will review your service and post-service medical record. They may also ask you to undergo a medical examination. Here they’ll determine your level of physical and emotional/behavioral impairment using the VA guidelines or “diagnostic codes.”
And like with many disability benefits, a veteran will have to undergo a C&P exam at your local San Diego medical center, wherein the medical professional’s report will be used as a basis by the VA to give you your disability rating.
Get Help with Your Claim
The VA disability benefits system is supposed to be veteran-friendly. However, the rules and regulations governing the claims process can be confusing and frustrating. You are not alone in facing the VA and its legal system; Stephen Brodsky is the ally of every San Diego veteran by helping them find a way forward.