Now that you understand a “summons and complaint” starts your lawsuit and defendants “answer,” is received in response, it’s time to further our discussion on the anatomy of a lawsuit so you understand what happens next.
A “Demand for Bill of Particulars” accompanies the answer, which “demands” that your lawyer respond to the numbered questions posed. These questions include items like time and place of occurrence, what negligent acts and/or omissions you are claiming defendant committed that gave rise to your TBI case, and other informational requests that provide the specific nature of your claim. This blog will focus on the most important piece of information your attorney can provide in any TBI case: The exact nature of your brain injury.
Please Note: If your case goes to trial, your attorney can only present to the jury those injuries pled in the Bill of Particulars and will be precluded from presenting items not plead. So beware! Make sure the Bill of Particulars in your TBI case pleads with specificity ALL your items of damage associated with your traumatic brain injury.
A young woman who had a pending TBI case in the Bronx fired her attorney and hired me because he advised her to accept $50,000 in settlement. The first thing I did after receiving her file in this bus accident case was comb through the medical records and compare their entries to the damages pled in the Bill of Particulars. I found two things astonishing. First, this attorney did not have in his possession all the medical records that documented her brain injury. Some he requested and never received and others he just never requested. Second, what he did claim in the Bill of Particulars were “signs and symptoms consistent with Brain Injury.”
Let’s be clear. Either you have a brain injury that gave rise to your TBI case or you don’t. It’s an absolute, like pregnancy. I immediately obtained the outstanding records and served what is known as a “Supplemental Bill of Particulars.” In it, I specifically pled TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY. There are specific rules that apply to supplementing a pleading that are beyond the scope of this blog. However, the important thing to learn here is that after getting hit by a bus that gave rise to her Bronx TB I case, this woman nearly got thrown under it by her own attorney. Again, beware!
If you or a loved one was involved in an accident and have a pending TBI case, ask your lawyer for a brief meeting so you can confirm that your brain injury was properly, fully and completely pled in your Bill of Particulars.
Be well, Andy