“Thank you for sharing your story with us. Your determination and drive are really inspiring. You have touched many lives, including mine. I know that your story changes people and will continue to help us fulfill our mission of working towards 0 victims.Regards,Viridiana Medellin, National Victim Services Specialist, Mothers Against Drunk Driving”
Tag Archives: communicating with TBI victims
Last week, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), wrote a spotlight on drunk driver victim, Karen Mertes, and told her story of recovery and triumph after her accident.
Here is a snippet of the MAAD spotlight of Karen Mertes —
“February 7, 2007 was the day that forever changed Karen Mertes’ life path. Karen, a Lieutenant Colonel serving in the United States Air Force, was driving the speed limit on the interstate when she was struck from behind by a drunk driver traveling over 100 mph.
He had a blood alcohol level of nearly three times the legal limit and the crash resulted in both vehicles being totaled. The axle in Karen’s car snapped in half, and her vehicle’s undercarriage dragged creating sparks on the interstate for several hundreds of feet.”
Read the rest of Karen’s MADD spotlight here!
After suffering an injury from a car accident, however mild or severe it may be, you must learn how to live life with your injury. It is important to remember that no matter how frustrated you become, some of these effects will only be temporary. Although, you may need to learn a ‘new normal.’
Initially, you may experience a period of denial where you’re unable to realistically assess what could be your reduced performance levels. Given my injury, I was no longer able to achieve my pre-injury performance where I had consistently exceeded expectations.
Unfortunately, depending on the severity of how your injury may impact your work performance, it could pose a threat to your case. The defense will use whatever new challenges you face at work as a litigation advantage.
“You may be placed in a “no-win” situation. If you cannot return to work, his [the defense attorney] bargaining position has improved due to your lack of limited resources to live on. Also, his experts will likely opine you are a malingerer. If you do return to work, even under duress and in pain, he will argue you did not suffer economic damages as you continued to be “employable” post-injury.”
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- Be prepared to repeat what you say, orally or in writing. Some people with TBI may have short-term memory deficits.
- If you are not sure whether the person understands you, offer assistance completing forms or understanding written instructions and provide extra time for decision-making. Wait for the individual to accept the offer of assistance; do not “over-assist” or be patronizing.
- Be patient, flexible and supportive. Take time to understand the individual, make sure the individual understands you and avoid interrupting the person.