Florida has a state program to assist spinal cord injury victims

Injuries to an individual’s brain and spinal cord can reduce their level of functioning within their community. For that reason, the state enacted Florida Statutes 381.76 with the purpose of providing necessary services to victims of traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries. The goal of the legislation is to use funds taken from traffic-related fines and licensing fees to help return Floridians with brain and spinal cord injuries to their communities with appropriate functionality.

The fund is administered through the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program and is available to Florida residents who meet certain criteria who have suffered a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury. The BSCIP coordinates various agencies and services throughout the state, using rehabilitation technicians, case managers, human services counselors and nursing care coordinators to provide services. Their goal is to return injured patients back to their communities with a level of functioning that allows them to live independent lives.

The BSCIP assists with acute care, inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation, providing assistive technology in patients’ homes or modifying their vehicles to accommodate their disabilities. The agency partners with various service and community-based organizations throughout the state to achieve their aims.

Other programs are designed to educate and train traumatic brain and spinal cord injury victims so they are able to support themselves. Partners include the Florida Department of Education, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Florida Centers for Independent Living.

The qualifications for the BSCIP program are fairly stringent. Candidates must be medically stable for services and there must be a reasonable expectation that they will someday return to a community-based setting instead of becoming a permanent resident of a skilled nursing facility.

Not every Florida resident is eligible for support from state programs. Nevertheless, many Floridians receive spinal cord injuries each year in workplace accidents and vehicle crashes. In in many of these cases, victims suffer from paralysis and may experience lifelong disability requiring costly long-term medical care.

If you know someone who has suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of a negligent driver, there may be legal remedies available to them. Depending on the circumstances of their case, they may be able to sue the responsible parties to recover compensation for their medical costs, lost wages and other associated expenses.

Source: Florida Department of Health, “Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program” Aug. 26, 2014