Our Chicago personal injury lawyers were interested to learn that the NJ Times reported late this week on a bill that is pending before Congress which would have implications for a variety of individuals across the country, including Illinois brain injury victims. The director of advocacy for the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey published the editorial in support of the measure, which is currently languishing in the House of Representatives. However, advocates are hoping that more community members will take notice of the measure, contact their representatives, and urge that action be taken.
According to the story, the bill (H.R. 2600), known as the National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan Act, would create an evidence based system of care to help improve the current treatment available to many victims of traumatic brain injuries. It was crafted and proposed in recognition of the tremendous challenges facing many victims and their families. As explained in the editorial, many of these victims were harmed because of the misconduct of others or in tragic accidents while playing a sport or serving the country overseas. The truth is that any community member runs the risk of falling victim to a brain injury at some point in their lives, and it is important for all residents to ensure that these victims receive the best care possible.
This bill is intended to provide support and hope to those victims, something that our Chicago brain injury attorneys know they often lack. More specifically, the bill would address brain injuries in youth, creating a program for those under 25 (and all service members), to provide a continuum of care. That care would include everything from prevention measures and acute medical facility treatment to community reintegration assistance. In other words, the bill seeks to provide resources so that these injuries occur less frequently and that when they do occur, victims are able to recover and get their lives back on track.
The measure is needed, because brain injuries are no isolated problem. In fact, many organizations have explained how brain injuries are the leading cause of death and disability for American youth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than three quarters of a million youth are affected every single year because of these injuries. More than 80,000 require prolonged hospitalization and 11,000 die. Clearly, these traumatic brain injuries are affecting many families in all parts of the country.
Summarizing the bill’s effect on victims, one brain injury advocate claimed that “The ultimate goal of the PABI Plan Act is to maximize recover, enhance quality of life, and ensure that American youth have the best chance to live productive and meaningful lives.” It is hard to disagree with those goals. According to proponents the bill would also not come with any major fiscal complications, and so the goals can be met will little side-effects. Right now a wide range of groups support the measure from both sides of the aisle. Both Republican and Democratic members of Congress are co-sponsoring the bill, military advocacy groups support the bill, and the measure has even received the support of the Heritage Foundation-a conservative think tank.
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