Posted on July 6, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 31 of 36 in the series Michael

Chronic Unemployment after TBI- Michael Part Thirty-One

In Part Thirty-One Michael talks about his chronic unemployment after his brain injury and how difficult it was for him to keep a job.

At some point, two many jobs, for too short of time catches up with the disabled person, trying to return to work.  While someone who communicates as well as Michael does and who has a college degree might seem employable, the shear number of jobs and the short tenure, throws up red flags.  Ultimately, even a good impression made in an interview, can’t overcome the shortcomings of such a resume thus chronic unemployment.

How long has it been since you had a job?

Since 2006.

Are you finding it so difficult to even get a chance, that you have basically given up?

Every now and then I will get the urge to go find a job but most places don’t want to hire me.  I don’t have any track record since 2006.  I am a stay-at-home dad.  And I am finally getting content just doing that.

Chronic Unemployment Makes It Difficult to Find a Job

Are you finding that the number of short term jobs, the chronic unemployment, that you have had is a problem as well?

I think so.

One of the patterns we see with brain injury is that gaining a job is much easier than keeping it which presents as chronic unemployment.  But that eventually if you’ve had too many jobs on your resume that just prevents you from even getting a job.  Are you finding because of you chronic unemployment makes it difficult to find a job?

Well actually, now a days they do something else.   And I don’t know if it’s legal or illegal but they do a credit report on you.  And just, and until maybe 2000, I don’t know, sometime early 2000, my car accident was still showing up on my record.  And the bills have gone up, that were there that were never paid by me.

So even if you didn’t tell employers about your car accident. They would look at your credit report and see all of the medical bills and do the math, so to speak.

Yes, I mean, my medical, as my lawyer, Mr. Earhart said, my medical bills were almost $500,000.00 and he got them all paid off but $70,000.00.  So I don’t know, on my credit report how it looks. I think one of my biggest bills was at University Hospital in Louisville and it looks like I didn’t pay it but it looks like they came to some, it was settled.

It looks like you basically had a bad debt that they wrote off?


So you are saying that just the presence of all those medical bills that don’t get paid when you have a catastrophic injury, are making it harder to get hired?

Yes.  We’d like Universal health care.

Having negotiated the partial payment of medical bills in almost every case that I have handled in the last twenty years, Michael’s theory is quite disturbing.  In each case we have done it, we have argued the equity of a limited recovery and the merits of providers taking a discount versus not getting paid.

Yet, when those bills have been “paid in full” via that compromised payment, they should not have a significant negative impact on survivors credit standing.  I am interested in input from others who believe that their credit has been negatively impacted after providers have been “paid in full”, something that is always put on every check we cut out of settlement proceeds.

Further, I am particularly interested in learning if others feel they have been discriminated against in employment because of an implied label of “disabled” that might come from such compromised bills.


Next in Part Thirty Two – Disinhibition Makes Humor Potentially Offensive

By Attorney Gordon Johnson


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447