Don’t Brush Off TBI in a Michigan Car Accident Case
I will be speaking at three seminars this summer about TBI. I strongly believe that lawyers who represent victims of traumatic brain injury have a special obligation, because TBI can be utterly devastating, yet difficult to prove. We have to do everything we can to perfect our ability to help people both in and out of the courtroom as well. I want to share some of my ideas from these seminars, and I will be sharing them in several installments over the next three weeks. Today’s blog is about how so many personal injury lawyers miss traumatic brain injury, causing clients with very real brain injuries to be severely undercompensated in TBI lawsuits from auto accidents.
It has always amazed me how often TBI is either overlooked or ignored. Brain injury is a subject I care deeply about. And it bothers me that so many lawyers turn away traumatic brain injury cases or choose to ignore them because they believe TBI is too difficult. Yes, brain injury cases are hard. In fact, the “mild traumatic brain injury” case may be one of the most challenging types of cases a personal injury lawyer can take. It’s easy to understand the inclination of some lawyers with a “good” car accident case that has serious personal injuries to say, “Why bother? Why not ‘keep the case clean’ and prevent a lot of additional work, cost and aggravation?”
The answer is you owe it to your clients with traumatic brain injuries to help them get the care they need. If that answer isn’t good enough, here’s a more blunt answer: You are possibly losing millions of dollars by failing to document all of your client’s injuries.
Please keep in mind this very important point. If you are representing someone who has suffered serious physical injuries in a car accident, it’s likely the client already has a brain injury. Serious physical injury cases that cause long periods of chronic pain are brain injury cases. Whether the initial trauma from an accident causes a brain injury, or whether chronic pain from serious physical injuries or surgeries for the accident causes chemical and organic changes to the brain itself, the result is still brain injury. Focusing only on physical injuries ignores the potentially disabling cognitive and emotional consequences that often result.
Make no mistake, the brain injury is there. Traumatic brain injury is called the “silent epidemic” by many doctors and lawyers familiar with TBI because of the vast number of people who live with some form of disability caused by traumatic brain injury. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are approximately 300,000 hospital admissions in the U.S. every year for people with TBI, and an additional unknown number of traumatic brain injuries that are not diagnosed but may result in long-term disability.
We as traumatic brain injury attorneys owe it to the public to better understand TBI and medicine so we can serve as more effective advocates for the injured.
If you or someone you know has suffered brain injury as a result of an auto accident in Michigan, Michigan Auto Law can guide you through the legal process and help obtain the best resolution for your case. Because our lawyers have been handling traumatic brain injury litigation for more than 50 years, we understand the physical, emotional and psychological hardships you are experiencing from your accident. Please call a TBI lawyer at (800) 777-0028 for a case evaluation with no fee or obligation.
— Steve Gursten is a member of the American Association for Justice Traumatic Brian Injury Group and lectures on TBI throughout the country. He was recently invited to become the first Michigan traumatic brain injury lawyer to serve on the legal committee for the Sarah Jane Brain Project, a foundation that aims to create a model system for all children suffering from pediatric acquired brain injuries. In 2008, Steve received a trial verdict of $5.65 million for a TBI victim; the largest reported personal injury verdict in Michigan for the year.
— Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Midiman
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