Now that you’re confident you’ve hired the right TBI lawyer to handle your accident or medical malpractice case or that of your loved one, it’s time to discuss the anatomy of a lawsuit—the focus of my upcoming blogs.
As a starting point what’s of critical importance is that your TBI lawyer understand the nature, extent, degree, quality and residual of your brain injury. No two brain injuries are ever the same. In each TBI circumstance there are acquired weaknesses and preserved strengths concerning the way you think, feel and act (cognitive, emotional and behavioral). An acquired weakness is a deficiency from your pre-accident functioning that you’ve “acquired” as a result of your brain trauma. A preserved strength means that there has been little or no change in a particular area from your pre-accident condition. Please note: This blog does not address physical injuries you may have sustained resulting from your brain injury. For instance, compromises in motor skills such as an altered gait pattern, loss of balance, dizziness and other physical deficits, which may be more readily apparent.
To start, your TBI lawyer must undertake a detailed inventory of your pre-accident level of functioning and existence. You, the TBI lawyer and family members or friends who can contribute useful information should have a thorough conference. First you must share with your lawyer what you perceived to be different concerning the way you think, feel or act. For example, you may have noticed you can’t remember things, you feel depressed or you get frustrated quickly and act out (acquired weaknesses); but balancing the checkbook poses no problem (preserved strength). Sometimes TBI survivors are unaware of their changed condition, which is why the contribution of friends and family is so vital when meeting with your TBI lawyer.
Next the TBI lawyer should appreciate outside information in an effort to establish your pre-accident level of functioning. How well you did is school, what level of education you achieved, work history inclusive of promotions, supervisory positions and the intellectual challenges associated with your field of chosen work, non-work activities and the demands and complexity associated with those, hobbies, interests, volunteer work, and the list could go on.
After the TBI lawyer has a good handle on your pre-accident level of functioning, the next thing he or she must do is comb through your medical records. The TBI lawyer must identify the complaints made and observations documented by your medical professionals and correlate those with your pre-accident condition and their present sense impression of you. Lastly, and most importantly, the TBI lawyer must evaluate the findings of your neuropsychological testing.
Neuropsychological testing—the topic of my next blog—is a series of tests developed to objectively ascertain acquired weaknesses and preserved strengths. If neuropsychological testing has not been done, your TBI lawyer must identify this and advise you to have it done. If you’re unable to have it done for one reason or another, the TBI lawyer should refer you to a neuropsychologist and pay for it to be done. This neuropsychologist now becomes a “medical expert,” in the case, rather than “treating physician.”
To conclude, your TBI lawyer’s ability to properly represent you in an accident or medical malpractice case depends on their fully understanding the nature of your particular TBI.
Be well, Andy