Dear Friends: Good day, stay positive and be courageous.
On the How We Can Help page of TBI Helpline, I give guidance to TBI survivors and their family on what information to obtain from prospective lawyers when looking to hire legal counsel.
Today’s post is a related one. It explains—by way of example—why my advice on How to Hire the Right TBI Lawyer is so critically important to follow.
I once represented an eleventh grade boy who sustained a TBI at school when the “class bully” pushed his head into a wall. But I wasn’t his first lawyer. I was asked by a different New York law firm to act as “trial counsel.” Trial counsel is when one firm or attorney hands off a case they’ve been working on to a different attorney who has deep courtroom experience. The point: Not all personal injury law firms have trial lawyers. Some work the case as far as they can, and when a fair settlement offer is not forthcoming, they seek the services of a tenured and experienced courtroom litigator. Such was the case in this instance.
When I was retained, there was a $125,000 offer of settlement on the table, a sum that was hardly fair compensation. Unfortunately, there are lawyers that would’ve counseled their client to take this paltry sum simply to turn the case over and generate cash flow for their firm. It’s sad, but true.
I immediately called defense counsel and asked why such a low offer on a TBI case? I was advised that even though defendant was wrong or negligent (my client was the third target of this bully, and this instance was the second assault on him), they did not believe my client sustained a TBI since the CT scan was negative. And, his present IQ score and other neuropsychological testing revealed scores that were consistent with his functioning before the accident.
When I reviewed the hospital record, I saw an entry in a social work note indicating my client had undergone neuropsychological testing before the date of his school assault. When proving TBI, showing a before and after picture of the injured reflected in neuropsychological testing is the best evidence. It rarely happens as people don’t routinely take these tests, but it happened here.
The boy I represented did not remember taking the test; my referring lawyer was unaware, and the parents had no idea either. So I contacted the author of the note and she informed me that the computer system revealed my client was part of a “case study” this hospital undertook in order to establish a baseline score for children in the community. I obtained his prior testing, which revealed he was functioning on a much higher level before his TBI, acquiring many weaknesses as a result of it.
When I forwarded this snapshot of my client’s cognitive, emotional and behavioral functioning before the accident, compared to his decreased neuropsychological status after his head trauma, the case resolved for a large sum of money.
The point is, in matters of significant proportion such as TBI lawsuits, choose your lawyer wisely and only after following the various steps I’ve outlined in the section, How to Hire the Right TBI Lawyer.
I wish all those impacted by TBI a speedy and complete recovery, and I hope you’ve found the help you need now on TBI Helpline.