The human brain can be a study in contradictions: despite all of its power, it can also be quite fragile and susceptible to injury, especially traumatic injuries. It is this vulnerability to injury that can make recovery from a traumatic brain injury not only time-consuming, but it can also be extraordinarily expensive.
The Louisiana legislature has recognized the difficulty that many state residents can have when it comes to affording long-term treatment for head and spinal cord injuries. Accordingly, the Department of Health & Hospitals through the Office of Aging and Adult Services has been tasked to implement the state's Traumatic Head and Spinal Cord Injury Trust Fund Program to assist with providing services including rehabilitation, therapy, medical equipment and attendant care. The program is paid for from fees imposed on individuals convicted of motor vehicle offenses.
While the trust fund can be of some assistance to families of individuals suffering from brain and spinal cord injuries, it is not necessarily a complete solution. Nor is everyone who is affected by such injuries fully eligible for trust fund benefits. There are, in fact, several eligibility criteria that must be successfully met before any benefits can be received.
Some of these eligibility issues concern whether an injury is qualifying under the program's definitions. Others require the applicant to prove a number of prerequisites such as denial of assistance from other sources and exhaustion of any other government and private resources.
In other words, the receipt of trust fund benefits from the state to help with the costs of treatment and rehabilitation of traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries is not guaranteed, and the requirement to have exhausted or been denied all other financial resources effectively means that one must be practically destitute in order to qualify.
Accordingly, particularly if the individual or organization that may be responsible for having inflicted the brain injury can be the subject of an award of money damages from a court judgment or settlement, then before applying for trust fund benefits it may be helpful to first explore the prospect of legal action.
This post is an overview of an area of the law, but it is not offered or intended to be used as legal advice. Legal advice should come from an attorney. Besides offering legal advice, an attorney might be of assistance in securing a successful settlement or court award to compensate for brain injuries and reduce or eliminate the need to qualify for trust fund benefits.