December 2004

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Our Firm

The New York personal injury law firm of DE CARO & KAPLEN, LLP was founded in 1982 by Shana De Caro & Michael Kaplen. The firm quickly earned a reputation in the New York legal community for their legal skills in the areas of personal injury and medical malpractice. Their exemplary legal skills and compassion for those suffering from personal injury formed the groundwork of their personal injury practice.

Soon after forming their personal injury law firm, Shana De Caro and Michael Kaplen discovered their special skill in representing persons who have sustained traumatic brain injury. They have earned a distinguished reputation for their knowledge and experience as brain injury lawyers both within New York and nationally.

Our mission is to improve the quality of life for persons with brain injury, their spouses and family members. We believe that the best cure for a brain injury is prevention. We are committed to assisting victims of brain injury. We are proud to sponsor and support the programs and activities of the Brain Injury Association of New York State and the Brain Injury Association of America. We take great pride in representing our clients with compassion and zeal to see that justice is done.

Our brain injury law firm concentrates it practice on representing persons who have sustained a brain injury, head injury, coma, concussion or other brain trauma. We represent our clients and their family members with compassion and with the understanding that a brain injury lasts a lifetime. Our legal team understands the unique issues and problems which are faced by brain injury victims, their spouses and family members. We are prepared to undertake the legal battles that must be fought to obtain adequate compensation, the health care decisions that must be faced and the important insurance issues surrounding brain injury.

Michael V. Kaplen is the Chairperson of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council . He served for nine years as president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State. He is nationally recognized for his knowledge and experience in representing victims of brain injury.

He has been invited to lecture to attorney conferences, medical conferences and brain injury associations throughout the country on effective legal representation of victims of brain injury and head injury.

He was elected by his peers as Chairperson of the Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and Section Chair of the Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway and Premises Liability Section of the Trial Lawyers of America. He serves on the Board of Directors of Trial Lawyers for Public Justice and as a member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers as well as the Advisory Board of the American Association of Plaintiff’s Interstate Trucking Attorneys. He formerly served on the advisory board of the Crime Victims Bar Association.

Because of his experience and reputation in all areas of personal injury and negligence law, he was the Co Chair of the New York County Lawyers Association, Tort Section. He is Certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and is Certified in the area of medical malpractice by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys. He has taught courses in Law and Medicine at St. John’s University School of Law.

Because of his knowledge and experience in the field of Brain Injury and effective advocacy in traumatic brain injury cases, Michael Kaplen has been an invited guest speaker at the Brain Injury Association of California, the Brain Injury Association of Florida, the Brain Injury Association of Indiana, the Brain Injury Association of Louisiana, the Brain Injury Association of Michigan, the Brain Injury Association of New York State, the Brain Injury Association of Ohio, the Brain Injury Association of Utah, the Brain Injury Association of Virginia, the Brain Injury Association of Wisconsin, and the North American Brain Injury Society. He has also been an invited guest speaker to lawyer associations in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin.

Michael Kaplen has received the honor of being named a New York Super Lawyer and Top One Hundred New York State Trial Lawyers by the American Trial Lawyers Association.

Shana De Caro has been an advocate for the rights of the Brain Injured for over twenty five years. She serves as an Officer of Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice.

She was the primary legal assistant to a Justice of the Supreme Court, Kings County, New York and has served as a editorial advisor to the Association of Trial Lawyers of America Work Place Reporter. Shana has also served as a member of the Medical Malpractice Panels in New York State, appointed to review medical malpractice matters by the Supreme Court of the State of New York, First and Second Judicial Departments.

Shana serves on the Board of Trustees of the Civil Justice Foundation and has been afforded the honor of being named in Who’s Who of American Women.

Because of her legal expertise, Shana serves as editor of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers, monthly legal update.

Shana is a member of the Brain Injury Association of New York State, American Association for Justice, New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers, New York State Trial Lawyers Association, New York State Bar Association.

December 2, 2004 | Permalink

Our Mission

At DE CARO & KAPLEN, LLP, our mission is to improve the quality of life for persons with brain injury, their spouses and family members. We believe that the best cure for a brain injury is prevention. We are committed to assisting victims of brain injury. We are proud to sponsor and support the programs and activities of the Brain Injury Association of New York State and the Brain Injury Association of America. We take great pride in representing our clients with compassion and zeal to see that justice is done.

Triallawyers

MICHAEL KAPLEN (second from right) receiving special recognition from Trial Lawyers Care President Richard Bieder, United States Special Master Kenneth Feinberg and Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court Stephen Breyer for his volunteer achievements on behalf of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund special catastrophic victim program.


Michael V. Kaplen, Esq.
De Caro & Kaplen, LLP
20 Vesey Street
Phone: (212) 732-2262
Toll free: 1-866-BrainLaw

www.brainlaw.com
[email protected]

December 2, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury Sports Accidents

Sporting accidents are a major cause of traumatic brain injury. Any time an individual engaged in a sporting activity receives a blow to the head or strikes his/her head, a sideline evaluation must be performed. It is important that repeated insults to the brain be avoided within a short period of time.

The American Academy of Neurology has set forth a way for coaches and others at a sporting event to determine when and how long a player should be removed from play. REMEMBER, YOU DON’T HAVE TO LOSE CONSCIOUSNESS TO HAVE SUSTAINED A CONCUSSION.

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Sportsconcussion

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At DE CARO & KAPLEN, LLP, we believe that the best cure for a brain injury is prevention. That’s why we support community efforts to have both adults and children always wear a properly fitted helmet when bicycle riding, in line skating, skate boarding, rollerblading, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and when playing football, baseball and hockey.


Michael V. Kaplen, Esq.
De Caro & Kaplen, LLP
20 Vesey Street
Phone: (212) 732-2262
Toll free: 1-866-BrainLaw

www.brainlaw.com
[email protected]

December 1, 2004 | Permalink

Brain Injury Choosing a Lawyer

Unfortunately, many persons have not received and will not receive adequate compensation for their traumatic brain injuries because they did not have proper representation.  A lawyer representing a person and their family for traumatic brain injury should possess knowledge, education and experience in this area of litigation.  In most states, injured persons have the ability to retain a lawyer by the use of the contingent fee agreement.  The lawyer does not receive any fee until the conclusion of the case.  Under this system, an injured person and their family can afford to retain the most qualified legal representative.

Since the results of your law suit will have important and long term impact upon the quality of your life,  it is important to determine who the best lawyer is for your brain injury case.

Some things to ask any attorney who you are considering retaining in a brain injury case:

Q: How many cases similar to mine have you been involved with as the principal attorney over the past three years?

Q: What percentage of your practice is devoted to representing persons with a traumatic brain injury?

Q: Will you be handling my case personally or will you be referring it to another lawyer or law firm?

Q: What have been your results in representing persons with cases similar to mine?

Q: Have you written and published any articles on traumatic brain injury?

Q: Have you lectured to any bar associations, brain injury associations or other groups about the effective legal representation of persons with traumatic brain injury?

Q: Do you actively participate in your state’s brain injury association?

Q: Do you regularly attend conferences and read textbooks and articles about traumatic brain injury?

Q: Have you ever received any professional honors and awards concerning your representation of persons with a brain injury?

Q: Does your law firm have the financial resources to advance, even if in excess of $50,0000, to properly prosecute my case, if necessary?

At De Caro & Kaplen, LLP, we concentrate our practice on representing persons with brain injury. We have achieved verdicts and settlements in brain injury cases totaling over 100 million dollars. Michael Kaplen and Shana De Caro will personally handle your case. Our attorneys have lectured to brain injury associations, lawyers groups and medical associations on brain injury. We have authored articles and have received many awards and honors in the area of traumatic brain injury. We are proud that our founding partner, MICHAEL KAPLEN is now in his third term as President of the Brain Injury Association of New York State and has been appointed by the Speaker of the New York State Assembly as his representative on the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Coordinating Council.

Dohaward


Michael V. Kaplen, Esq.
De Caro & Kaplen, LLP
20 Vesey Street
Phone: (212) 732-2262
Toll free: 1-866-BrainLaw

www.brainlaw.com
[email protected]

December 1, 2004 | Permalink

Brain Injury What Every Lawyer Must Know

An attorney representing a client with “mild” traumatic brain injury must know the seriousness and far-reaching consequences that are related to this condition.

Your attorney must be thoroughly versed in the literature and must be willing to devote the time and attention necessary to properly represent the victim.

Your attorney MUST KNOW that a person can have a serious, permanent and disabling brain injury, even though:

1. The person is not knocked out at the scene of the accident.

2. The person may be walking, talking and even exchanging his driver’s license at the scene of the accident.

3. The person did not sustain any cuts, broken bones or major injuries in the accident.

4. The person may have a negative MRI, CT Scan or EEG.

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5. The defense doctor, or insurance company doctor, will find that the person is neurologically sound.

6. There was not a “big car accident” and that even a low speed crash can exert sufficient force on the brain to cause a brain injury.

7. That the delay in diagnosing the brain injury is not the patient’s fault, but may be because of the lack of education on this subject by the medical community.

8. That the injured person gave different versions of  what happened in the accident, and this is sometimes to be expected because the injured person with a traumatic brain injury is a very poor historian of what happened.

9. That the patient only related two or three problems following the accident and family members and close friends relate twenty or thirty problems, including personality changes. 

10. That the person was able to continue with his/her (current) employment but if he/she is given new responsibility, promoted, transferred to another job or obtains new employment, he/she may  have tremendous difficulty and end up getting fired.

11. That the term “post concussion syndrome” may be traumatic brain injury.

12. That attention and concentration difficulties may mean that the person suffered damage to the frontal lobe of the brain.

13. That personality changes may mean that the person suffered damage to the frontal lobe of the brain.

14. That new symptoms have appeared since the accident and other symptoms have disappeared.

15. That the person has a perfect neurological exam, since this exam does not reveal the neuro-psychological deficits associated with traumatic brain injury.

16. That a diagnosis based upon neuro-psychological examination is founded on the entire battery of tests and the entire examination and not the patient’s answer to one question or a series of questions.

Closedheadinjury

All too often, people suffering “mild” brain injury are not properly compensated because their attorneys did not understand the seriousness and far reaching consequences of this devastating condition.


Michael V. Kaplen, Esq.
De Caro & Kaplen, LLP
20 Vesey Street
Phone: (212) 732-2262
Toll free: 1-866-BrainLaw

www.brainlaw.com
[email protected]

December 1, 2004 | Permalink

Brain Injury Talking to a Doctor

1. When you schedule your first appointment, tell your doctor that you will require extra time. Tell him that you need at least an additional 20 minutes (or more if you need it) for your appointment. The challenge here is to not feel rushed, as when you are stressed your cognition erodes.

2. If distractions bother you, arrange with the doctor’s office (when you make the appointment) for a quiet place to wait, such as a quiet exam room. If this is not possible, ask for somebody to come and get you in the foyer or your car.

3. Get to your appointment at least 15 minutes ahead of time, so you can collect your thoughts, become settled and unwind from the drive.

4. Write down everything you want to tell or ask your doctor. Cross each item off the list after you have covered it. Write down instructions that your doctor gives.  Recap at the end of each issue to make sure you understand.

5. Ask your doctor to write down your diagnosis. Ask for a written explanation in layman’s language. Ask for a written description of the preferred treatment and goals, with an estimate of the costs and the expected time frame.

6. Trust your instincts. If you don’t think that a diagnosis is valid, or if you think it minimizes your problems, remember this: YOU ARE PROBABLY RIGHT. Remember, you are the “expert” about you.

7. Always ask your doctor about the contraindications when he prescribes new medications. Additionally, have the doctor provide you with a written list. Take charge of knowing everything about the drugs you take.

8. Ask your doctor to make a notation in your file stating that you should receive a copy of all reports and tests as soon as they are received by the office.

9. Never sign a blank release form. Make sure all authorization forms are completely filled out. Read what you’re signing. Make sure the release has ONLY the names on it that YOU want. Get a copy of each and every release form/letter you sign.

10. Ask questions. Ask again if you don’t under-stand the answer. Ask again if you don’t like the answer. AND ask someone else if you STILL don’t like the answer.

Withmayor
Michael Kaplen joins Albany, NY Mayor Gerald Jennings and Dr. John Popp, Director of the Neuroscience Institute of Albany Medical Center at the Albany, New York press conference launching Brain Injury Awareness Month.


Michael V. Kaplen, Esq.
De Caro & Kaplen, LLP
20 Vesey Street
Phone: (212) 732-2262
Toll free: 1-866-BrainLaw

www.brainlaw.com
[email protected]

December 1, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury Signs and Symptoms

Some of the common signs and symptoms of brain injury may include:

Cognitive symptoms
Attention problems
Concentration problems
Memory problems
Orientation problems

Physical symptoms

Headaches
Dizziness
Insomnia
Fatigue
Uneven gait
Nausea
Blurred vision
Seizures

Behavioral changes
Irritability
Depression
Anxiety
Sleep disturbances

Problems with emotional control
Problems related to:
employment, marriage, relationships,
home management and school management

Comascale
Coup


Michael V. Kaplen, Esq.
De Caro & Kaplen, LLP
20 Vesey Street
Phone: (212) 732-2262
Toll free: 1-866-BrainLaw

www.brainlaw.com
[email protected]

December 1, 2004 | Permalink

Brain Injury Statistics

Each year in The United States:

  • Approximately 1.5 million Americans sustain Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) ranging from mild to severe
  • 51,000 people die from TBI
  • 230,000 people are hospitalized due to TBI and survive
  • More than 1 million are treated in emergency departments for TBI
  • An estimated $56 billion is spent on direct and indirect costs as a result of all TBI
  • 80,000 to 90,000 Americans experience onset of long-term disability from TBI

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Brainfunctions_3
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Because a brain injury can cause physical, cognitive and emotional consequences that can affect a person for a lifetime, it is important that Brain Injury is understood and that competent, highly qualified legal help be obtained.

At De Caro & Kaplen, LLP, we concentrate our practice on representing persons with traumatic brain injury as well as their families. We take great pride in representing our clients with compassion and zeal to see that justice is done.


Michael V. Kaplen, Esq.
De Caro & Kaplen, LLP
20 Vesey Street
Phone: (212) 732-2262
Toll free: 1-866-BrainLaw

www.brainlaw.com
[email protected]

December 1, 2004 | Permalink