Brain injuries and trauma have varying degrees of severity that can range from minor concussions to devastating brain damage. When the trauma is severe, it’s quite common for communication problems to develop. These problems impair the victim’s brain’s ability to communicate with his body, thus leaving him unable to communicate with the world. When someone can’t communicate with the world, it is extremely difficult to be sure his legal rights are being upheld.
Brain Injury Locations That Cause Communication Problems
- Frontal Lobe: This area affects planning, organizing, emotional and behavioral control, personality, problem solving, attention, social skills, conscious movement, and flexible thinking
- Parietal Lobe: This area affects perception, spatial awareness, and spelling
- Temporal Lobe: This area affects memory, recognition, language, and emotions
- Broca’s Area: This area affects language expression
- Wernicke’s area: This part of the brain helps handle understanding and processing language
When any of these areas are damaged, a patient runs the risk of not being able to make nor express his wants, needs, or decisions through normal communication. If someone can’t make decisions on his own, he may be declared legally incompetent, making it impossible (and illegal) for him to make any medical, financial, or legal decisions on his own behalf.
If you were suffering a brain injury this significant, you wouldn’t be allowed to decide which treatment is best for you, let alone be able to make arrangements for it. Your bills could go unpaid and any legal claims you may have will be ignored because there is no one to speak for you.
Power of Attorney
In order to protect yourself and your rights, you need a Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney is a legal document stating that if you are unable to manage your affairs for yourself, another person whom you’ve appointed will take on the role of being your agent; this agent will speak and act on your behalf. Without a legal Power of Attorney or court-ordered guardianship, no one, not even a spouse, parent (if you are over 18), or family member has the legal authority to sign your signature or make medical decisions for you.
Once the Power of Attorney is in place, the person to which it was granted has the power to decide your medical treatment options, file legal claims on your behalf and deal with all of your affairs until you’re able to handle them on your own.
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