What does it mean to recover?
I hate the word “recovery” in the context of describing someone’s healing process following a catastrophic accident for many reasons.
If you look in the dictionary the word recovery means to, “get back”, “regain” or “to bring back to a normal position”. I hate the word recovery. The more I think about it, the more I believe that this is not the right word to describe anyone who has been the victim of a catastrophic accident. The definition of recovery implies that someone injured is now back to their old self, independent, walking, talking, and back to work. The reality for many is far from that. I find myself wondering does someone ever truly “recover” from concussion or injury?
When I speak with people struggling with their recovery the stories seem to be the same. People that have not seen someone since their accident are shocked to realize they still struggle with symptoms such as post concussion syndrome, balance, speaking and other independent skills that should be instinctual. They apologize and often comment, “Wow, I am sorry. I thought I heard you had recovered from your accident”.
What is a recovery?
Recovery for everyone is different. Some regain the life they once had in a few weeks or months. Sometimes the only remaining symptoms may be minor. In this case, the word fits the traditional definition of “recovery.” Others are less fortunate, and recovery from a concussion or injury may take years or a lifetime. The harsh reality is that they never completely recover from their injury. They make steps towards a new life with less complications or pain but the life and person before the accident is gone.
Rewiring the brain to relearn how to do simple tasks is not impossible but it takes time, patience, perseverance, and funding. In most cases, it is often necessary, for the person recovering, to adjust their home, vehicle, and lifestyle. These changes are not easy or cheap. Being released from the hospital following a traumatic injury just means that your care is no longer critical. Recovery care is lengthy and ongoing, and it is now up to you to figure out what that looks like – from your own bed and often with significant help from family.
What does insurance cover?
You think that your insurance company will take care of you when you file your claim. A ridiculous amount of paperwork, interviews, doctor appointments, specialists and accident reports that are required to be submitted before your claim gets the green light to be reviewed. Reviewed by the way does not mean approved. The paper chase can take a tremendous toll on you. Can you imagine trying to focus on preparing documents while you are dealing with pain, memory issues, confusion, exhaustion, and anxiety and depression? Once the paperwork is submitted the insurance company may offer a settlement or, in the worst case scenario, deny all or part of your legitimate injury claim.
Some of the people I met said they felt they had no other option to accept the settlement because they were desperate for money. Unfortunately, now they are regretting their decision. They did not really understand the complexity of the recovery, or the amount of money it would take to rebuild a life that does not resemble their past life. They are left wondering how they will make it and are worried about their future.
Who is responsible for your recovery?
The only person responsible for your recovery from your concussion or injury is you. Doctors, specialists, social workers, therapists will all make appointments and oversee your medications and rehabilitation, but you are ultimately responsible to get to those appointments, follow up with referrals, obtain equipment and other resources, fill prescriptions all while tending to your own personal care, meals, household responsibilities and family issues. Oh, and do not forget filling out all the insurance documents, medical forms, and disability applications just to get access to what you need or the funding to pay for all these things.
Stress during recovery
To say that you are plugging along and doing as well as expected is a very comforting thought to share with friends but not a reality. For those people who are fortunate enough to have family helping there are still financial and emotional stressors that are seldom discussed.
A woman I spoke with is supporting a husband with a traumatic brain injury that changed his personality completely. The kind, thoughtful, loving man she married is gone. Now, he is often depressed, confused, angry, and violent. He requires round the clock care and supervision. The future they dreamed of is never going to happen. She wants to leave but guilt and fear are keeping her in a toxic environment and relationship. The problem is she loves the man she married and is hopeful he will return but is struggling to realize and accept that he is gone. She justifies his behavior as part of his “recovery”, but also realizes that permanent complications from his injury are slowly killing her. On the outside he looks as he did before the accident, so people assume he has “recovered”. Have I mentioned how much I hate the word recovery?
Common results of a long term recovery from concussion or injury
Sadly, long term recovery processes are rarely successful without proper support in place. Often people who suffer from long term catastrophic injury live in poverty, alone or in care homes. They struggle socially, have physical limitations, and cognitive disabilities that limit their ability to be independent. Without family, or friends to assist them they often fail to care for themselves. Some people with traumatic brain injury suffer from such serious depression and anxiety they turn to self medication. Often they resort to using street drugs, alcohol . Sadly, often may attempt suicide and succeed.
What is the right word?
I do not know what word I would use to describe someone who is still “recovering” from concussion or injury. What would you suggest?
Why consulting with a lawyer is important.
Finding the right personal injury lawyer to help is important. Part of recovery from concussion or injury is also financial. Think of it this way. If you need your car serviced and you are not a trained professional mechanic would you do it yourself? Filling out forms may seem simple enough but there are ways that your injury and the recovery process need to be explained. You must make sure your insurance provider understands the true magnitude of your injury and the future care you will require. Any paperwork that has an omission, ambiguous language or missed form may affect how your claim is processed, settled, or lead to lengthy delays in getting the financial resources you are entitled to.
Could you predict with accuracy the future costs of your care? What about what it will cost you to live? After my injury I contacted a lawyer before I reported the injury to my insurance company. My lawyer read over the insurance policy and discussed what my policy covered. They filed the claim, disputed the denials, and negotiated a fair settlement. My care needs today, and in the future, will be covered. I am confident that I will have what I need for my best recovery possible.
Wishart Brain and Spine Law is here for you
Wishart Brain and Spine Law is here to advocate for you. Robyn Wishart used to represent the insurance companies and fought to have your claim denied or reduced. Robyn realized that this was not the lawyer, or person she is, nor could she continue to pretend to be. Today she is on your side. Who better to fight for your rights than someone that knows the game? Contact Us today for a free consultation. We want you to Live a Life Not A Claim