As someone with a traumatic brain injury, you probably had your life turned upside down. These kinds of injuries don’t heal very fast – and often leave scars that can last a lifetime. The functions of your brain are disrupted, which means that your cognitive capacity, coordination, and balance may no longer be the way they were.
At this point, you no longer have the abilities of a normal person to control your body and emotions. As a result, depending on the severity of your TBI, you may be covered by the ADA. This way, you will be protected against discrimination and have the same rights as everyone for goods and services. You just need to learn those rights – some of them on the full term, and others concerning accommodation.
Local and State Government Services
As someone with TBI, if your ADA paperwork deems you as a Title II, then you are protected by the ADA against discrimination coming from the local and state government. Every government body should have an ADA coordinator for cases like yours, and if they don’t make efforts to cater to your needs, then you can file a lawsuit.
The Fair Housing Act Amendments (FHAA) protects people from being discriminated against in terms of lodging. People with TBI might have certain requirements, which means that landlords and real estate agents may need to make certain modifications to their policies in order to protect your rights.
For instance, if your TBI caused you to require a service pet, then the landlord may need to make a reasonable accommodation to their property. As someone with a disability, you may need emotional support or a service animal, so if they refuse to cater to these needs, you are fully entitled to sue.
If your TBI affected your coordination and walking skills, tying you to a wheelchair, you also have rights to accessible accommodations. Every building that was constructed after 1991 should have an accessible first floor; if it doesn’t, it goes against your rights, and you may sue if the landowner refuses to address the problem.
As a disabled person, you have the right to free transportation on public buses and trains. Private public transportation methods such as taxis or Uber may require a fee, and may not respect the accessibility rules set by the government.
Public transportation methods also need to be disability-friendly. Information at the stops should be clearly announced, and the buses must be accessible to those in wheelchairs as well. You also have the right to accessible seating in public transportation if you have TBI.
Your employment rights are often everyone’s main concern, especially since so many employers don’t hire people with disabilities. However, what they fail to realize is that the law is protecting you here.
Your rights can apply depending on when you sustained the injury. For instance, if it was a new injury caused by something such as medical malpractice, which took you away on sick leave, then you may have different rights upon coming back to work. This can include:
- Working shorter hours
- Beginning work with a shorter load
- Gradual return to work (i.e., starting with remote employment first)
- Taking multiple breaks to prevent overstimulation of your brain
- Reassigning a new role with a lower stress level, if necessary
Depending on your needs, your employee may also provide technological and physical aids such as wheelchair accessibility, modified desks, or programs that will allow you to stay on your task.
In Colorado, it is required by state law to accommodate people suffering from disabilities, TBI included. In Boulder, for instance, employers are required to make changes in their shifts, offering Ticket to Work programs. This can include:
- Trial Work Periods: This allows people with TBI to test their working abilities for at least 9 months. This is valid for TBI patients that have just returned to work. As long as they report work activities, they can receive SSDI benefits.
- Expedited Reinstatement: If the patient once more becomes unable to work within 5 years, then they have the right to SSDI benefits without making further applications.
- Medical Coverage: After the trial period ends, medical coverage should continue for at least 93 consecutive months.
If your employer refuses to discuss modifications for accommodations at work, then you are entitled to hire a Boulder brain injury lawyer and see to your rights.
The Bottom Line
As someone with TBI, your life has likely taken a different turn. This is why you need to make sure that your rights are respected. We hope this article has been helpful in showing your main rights.