Traumatic Brain Injury Case Essentials For Attorneys
Closed Head Injury Or Traumatic Brain Injury Cases Are some of the toughest cases for an personal injury lawyer to prove.
Because the injuries to the client are not obvious in the physical appearance, the attorney will have to commit to compiling the evidence required to prove the case.
Understand The Commitment Required To Represent Your Client For TBI
A TBI case will require a significant time commitment on behalf of the attorney, their team of experts and the victim's family to both gather the required evidence and understand how the client's life has been altered by the injury. It's important to fully understand both so the client can get maximum compensation for their injuries.
Your Medical experts will have to be able to also invest enough time both with your client, but also communicating between themselves and the attorney. The victim's family will also need to be willing to invest the time in communicating wit the attorney to help create and accurate picture of what the day to day life of the client is like and how that has changed from before the injury.
Termanology is important – many will try to refer to your client's injury as a “closed head injury”. The attorney however needs to be sure to always refer the clients injury as Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI – never closed head injury.
Getting The Medical Expert Team Together
As the client's injuries are not physically visible, no part of the TBI case is more important that the evidence produced by your team of experts.
This will require a skilled and experienced radiologist who can run many types of advanced brain scans. The radiologist could be a Nuclear radiologist a neuro radiologist or both. You will also need to secure a clinician as part of your expert team. The clinician can be a neuropsychiatrist, neuropsychologist, psychologist, or a psychiatrist. Skills alone however are not enough, your medical experts will need to be available to both your firm and each other to maintain frequent communication about the findings and diagnosis of your client.
Compiling Evidence Through Advanced Brain Scan Diagnostic Technology
The radiologist will be key in this aspect. When it comes to traumatic brain injuries, the damage to the brain is often at the microscopic / cellular level and will require the use of highly advanced brain scan imagers from a variety of technologies to get irrefutable evidence.
During our TBI cases we use the several scan types to build our case.
- The SPECT Scan
Short for Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography is one test that can give insight into the micro-injuries with your client's brain.
- The PET Scan
Short for Positron Emission Tomography, also able to detect changes in the brain from micro injury
- Several Types of MRI Scans
MRI is short for magnetic resonance imaging and the latest advances in MRI have created several types of MRI scans useful for detecting micro injuries.
Minimum of a 3 Tesla MRI.
7 Tesla MRI recommended
SWI MRI, short for Susceptibility Weighted Imaging, can detect micro- hemorrhaging in the brain
F - MRI, Short for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging will also be able to detect micr damage done within the brain
DWI MRI – Diffusion Weighted Imaging, is another form of MRI that can detect micro-injuries in the brain
DTI MRI – Diffusion Tensor Imaging is yet another effective MRI scan to illustrate the clients brain injuries at the micro level
The Attorney Must Have A Significant Understanding Of Brain Injury Terms
In addition to the visual evidence that the brain scans will provide, during the case the attorney will need to be able to demonstrate how these injuries occurred and accurately describe them to a jury of laymen. This will require a deep understanding of TBI vocabulary that is reduced to a presentation that is intelligible you a jury.
Among the terms needed to understand are the technical description of the trauma that caused the injury.
Coup Contrecoup front to back and Coup Contrecoup side to side describe the rapid deceleration of the brain when inertia forces the brain against the inside of the skull. This can happen from to back or side to side depending on the direction of impact during the crash.
Grey Matter , White Matter and Brain Shear
Grey matter and white matter are terms that describe two kinds of brain tissue that physically are connected in the brain. It's important to know that the two types of tissue actually have different densities – and thus weigh a different amount. This difference in density will cause problems during a Coup Countrecoup event because the two tissues will have slightly different inertia and move at different amounts during the impact.
This difference in movement will cause a specific kind of damage called Brain Shear.
Brain shear happens in a few ways, but basically it's when the force of the impact causes the grey mater and white matter to be pulled apart. This can literally tear cells apart and can cause other types of physical trauma to the brain at the micro level. Only the advanced TBI imaging techniques mentioned above are capable of detecting this.
Brain sheer can be extremely damaging to an individual an have a long-term impact on both the injured victim and their families and dependents
An effective injury attorney will have to pull all of the above together and present the evidence to a jury in a way that they can understand.
The attorney will have to fully commit themselves to this task which requires large amounts of time from the attorney, their experts and communication with the victim's family.
Few injuries can be as debilitating or costly to a family than traumatic brain injury.
The negative effects can ruin the chances of children going to collage, retirement investments and even just having an independent life.
An attorney considering whether or not to take on a TBI case should not choose to do so lightly.