From professional and student-athletes to war veterans, the devastating impact of Traumatic Brain Injury (“TBI”) has been increasingly in the news. Rightly so, as the CDC advises that between 2006 and 2014 “the number of TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths increased by 53%.” The most severe traumatic brain injuries can disable people from walking, talking, caring for themselves, and functioning in the most basic activities of daily life, but even a mild traumatic brain injury can lead to permanent disability. Mild TBI can lead to long-standing or permanent impairments in areas such as cognitive function, emotional control, vision, vestibular regulation, and a host of other neurologic and pain-related symptoms. The task for the practitioner is to listen to the client carefully, understand the nature of TBI’s, and know where to turn to document the client’s symptoms and impairments.
In this program, the plaintiff’s side insurance attorney Sara Kaplan-Khodorovsky gives a crash course on how to prove the traumatic brain injury disability insurance case. While this course will focus on Long Term Disability insurance claims, the skills and methods discussed will be useful to attorneys facing matters in personal injury litigation, guardianship proceedings, and the education law IEP (Individualized Education Program) contexts. Attorneys in these areas all face what LTD claimants frequently hear from insurance carriers: that a brain injury is only “mild,” that the claimant “should have recovered by now,” or that he or she “looks just fine.” After discussing the basics of the LTD insurance case, this program will discuss the relevant evidence needed to prove the extent of the TBI, how to overcome insurance company tactics such as the common “malingering,” allegation, and what facts to emphasize to the insurance carrier, and ultimately the Court, to give a TBI LTD client the best chance of success.
I Briefly review the basics of Long Term Disability claims to provide a framework for the rest of the course
II. Grasp the causes and categories of brain injuries, with an emphasis on Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries, and how each present
III. Identify the key insurance policy provisions and legal issues inherent in Long Term Disability claims and how they pertain to Traumatic Brain Injury cases
IV. Discuss the evidence that can be used to support a brain injury case (such as triage assessments, neuropsychological testing, and MRI) and how to use that evidence in the Long Term Disability context
Sara Kaplan-Khodorovsky has extensive experience in the fields of Long Term Disability, ERISA, and litigation. After a one-year clerkship with the Honorable Peter A. Buchsbaum, J.S.C. of the New Jersey Superior Court, she worked for a disability firm where she assisted LTD and private insurance clients at all stages of the claim process, from pre-filing to litigation and favorable outcomes on appeal and in litigation. She also co-authored a paper presented at a national disability law conference on the use and misuse of Independent Medical Examinations by insurance companies, which analyzed the multiple legal problems these exams can present for both insurers and insureds and has lectured on Long Term Disability and ERISA-related matters. She joined the Law Offices of Barbara B. Comerford in March 2015 after working for another AV-rated litigation firm, and now appears in Federal Court and State Court litigating LTD insurance coverage matters. She was recently named as a New Jersey Super Lawyers Rising Star in the area of Employee Benefits based upon peer reviews, and is highly rated by clients on Avvo. She is active in the New Jersey Bar Association and is a member of the American Association for Justice.
Sara is admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York, the District of New Jersey, and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. She completed her undergraduate degree at Rutgers University and her law degree at Rutgers School of Law- Newark where she was a member of the Moot Court Board and an editor of the Women’s Rights Law Reporter.
Good delivery of complex subject matter.
Very thorough and well done