Car accident lawyers need to document the limitations a brain injury causes whenever possible.
As we’ve shown, testimony from a treating physician that there’s a serious traumatic brain injury will usually get a Michigan auto accident victim’s case past summary judgment. However, this testimony does not illustrate how that injury affects your client’s day-to-day life. When litigating traumatic brain injury cases, Michigan lawyers should make sure they obtain testimony about how a client’s life has changed since the car accident. This is vital to show a jury how the brain injury is a serious impairment, as well as why the car accident victim deserves compensation for his or her injury.
In the Michigan Court of Appeals holding Amos v. Keller Transfer Line, Inc., the Court reprinted a deposition transcript by a Michigan Auto Law attorney. A videotaped deposition of the plaintiff’s treating neurologist was played before the jury. The deposition, in which the following exchange occurred, gives an outline of how to ask the following question:
Q. Can I ask your opinion then, doctor, with respect to whether Linda Amos, based upon your examination, all the testing that you’ve gathered including the neurological testing, the history, and following her over the years within a reasonable degree of medical certainty; what is your diagnosis of Ms. Amos?
A. Her history and findings were to me — would be indicative of a closed-head injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
Q. When there’s a closed-head injury, the law asks us to obtain from the treating doctor who spends a period of their [sic] life treating or diagnosing closed-head injuries to give an opinion on whether the patient may have experienced a serious neurological injury in the ordinary sense of the term. Based upon the history, your examination, the testing, the neuropsychological testing that you’ve reviewed, the audiogram and your total picture of Ms. Amos, would you tell us, Doctor, whether, in your opinion, she experienced a serious neurological injury?
A. Considering her inability to function in the real world and our task over the last year to get her back to a functional state in the real world, we’ve had difficulty. We are approaching some semblance of improving her functionality, but with her complaints and with what we found on testing and her ability to function, it seems that she’s sustained a serious neurologic injury in her ability to function.
This scenario proves the need for Michigan accident lawyers preparing for trial to have a checklist that will ensure each treating physician gives deposition testimony about the effect a traumatic brain injury has had on a client’s normal life. This is an important safeguard against a defense argument on appeal that the plaintiff failed to prove a serious impairment of body function, in addition to a key element in arguing for the damages the accident victim is entitled to receive.
Michigan Auto Law partner Steven Gursten is a member of the American Association for Justice Traumatic Brain Injury Group and lectures on traumatic brain injuries throughout the country. If you are an attorney and would like to refer a Michigan traumatic brain injury case, please contact Michigan Auto Law.
If you or someone you know has suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a car accident or truck accident in Michigan, our TBI attorneys can guide you through the complicated requirements of Michigan’s closed-head injury exception and help obtain the insurance benefits and pain and suffering compensation you need. Because our lawyers have been handling traumatic brain injury cases for more than 50 years, we understand the physical, emotional and psychological hardships that TBI victims experience from automobile accidents. Please call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 777-0028 for a case evaluation with no fee or obligation, or fill out our free consultation form.
Did our Michigan traumatic brain injury attorneys answer all of your questions about documenting TBI? If not, please contact us and we can help. Read on for more information about what to do following a car accident that causes traumatic brain injury.