Proposed Brain Injury Legislation Could Help San Marcos Residents

rmwtvqn5rzu-jesse-orrico-300x199If you or someone you love recently sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in San Marcos, you likely have many questions about how you will get medical care. Currently, regional disability services are not available to victims of TBIs when they sustain them after the age of 18, according to a report from KHTS Santa Clarita News. However, newly proposed legislation aims to allow younger California residents—between the ages of 18 and 22—to receive access to regional disability services. The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 283, is a measure introduced by State Senator Scott Wilk, a Republican from Santa Clarita.

If the bill passes, how will it better serve TBI victims in California? What else should you know in the meantime about traumatic brain injuries?

Senate Bill 283 Aims to Provide Disability Services to Broader Population

Senate Bill 283 seeks to make changes to Section 4512.5 of California’s Welfare and Institutions Code, which currently details resident access to developmental services for traumatic brain injuries. As we mentioned above, Wilk’s proposed legislation wants to broaden the population eligible for these services. If the bill does pass, California residents who are 18 and older, but likely those under the age of 22, still may be eligible for developmental disability services related to a TBI even if they sustain the injury after reaching the age of majority.

Why did Scott Wilk propose the bill? According to the state senator, “I can’t even imagine the horror a family goes through when a child suffers a traumatic brain injury, let alone to discover your child is ineligible for services simply because he or she is over 18 years old.” Wilk went on to explain that there is strong medical evidence to support the bill’s extension to younger Californians who are 18 and older: “The medical community believes the brain continues to develop until at least 22 years of age, so it makes sense for California’s eligibility threshold to match scientific data.”

The state senator started thinking about potential changes to the law after learning about a car accident in which a constituent’s child sustained a severe TBI in an auto accident just after his 18th birthday. As a result of the child’s age at the time of the crash, he was “ineligible for basic therapeutic services needed to restore normal functioning, such as speaking, walking, and self-care.”

What is a Developmental Disability, and Why Does it Include TBIs?

Currently, California law defines a developmental disability—that is currently covered by the law that the proposed legislation seeks to amend—as a disability that occurs before the child turns 18 years old. The law also specifies that the disability must have consequences that are likely to continue indefinitely (in other words, the disability cannot be fully treated or cured), and the condition must create a substantial disability for the affected person. Traumatic brain injuries currently are in the category of developmental disabilities, but based on the language of the law, the injury would have to occur prior to a child’s 18th birthday in order for him or her to be eligible for services.

If the proposed bill receives substantial bipartisan support and passes, the primary change it would make to the law would simply be an increase to the age of eligibility for TBI victims. It could impact Californians throughout the state.

In the meantime, if you or your child suffered a traumatic brain injury, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. A San Marcos brain injury lawyer can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm to discuss your options.

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(image courtesy of Jesse Orrico)

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