Trap 3: Defense Attorney Can Argue Doctor Does Not Have TBI Experience
TBI Attorney Must Ensure Doctors Are Properly Qualified to Diagnose Traumatic Brain Injury
Michigan TBI attorneys need to be aware of a dangerous defense argument that can undermine the closed-head injury exception. Even with an allopathic or osteopathic doctor diagnosing a closed-head injury, the defense may challenge that the doctor is not properly qualified under MCL 500.3135. If accepted, this argument will make the testimony invalid, and could result in summary judgment.
The Michigan Court of Appeals case Block v. Pawluk is a sad example. The Court found that an affidavit from a treating neurologist diagnoses and treats closed-head injuries less than 5 percent of his practice.
Obviously, this can be devastating to a Michigan car accident victim’s case. Despite medical evidence of cognitive difficulties, a neurologist’s testimony can be found invalid by a court. Where a claim is based entirely on the closed-head injury exception in MCL 500.3135, and the car accident victim’s injury is not objectively manifested, this defense argument can result in a complete bar to recovery.
Anticipating the Defense Argument in TBI Case
The best response to the “properly qualified” argument is to anticipate it before the defense has a chance to make the argument. When getting deposition testimony from treating doctors who are diagnosing a closed-head injury, Michigan brain injury lawyers should specifically ask if the doctor regularly treats and diagnoses closed-head injuries. To avoid losing a summary disposition motion, the doctor needs to testify about his or her own qualifications and experience with TBI cases, in addition to the accident victim’s brain injury.
In rural areas of Michigan, it is not uncommon that TBI from car and truck accidents may be a small percentage of a neurological practice.
Traumatic Brain Injury Attorneys of Michigan Auto Law
Michigan Auto Law attorney and principal Steven Gursten is President of the American Association for Justice’s Traumatic Brain Injury Group and lectures on traumatic brain injuries throughout the country. If you are an attorney and would like to refer a TBI case, please contact Michigan Auto Law at (800) 777-0028.
If you or a loved one has sustained a traumatic brain injury as a result of a car or truck accident in Michigan, our traumatic brain injury lawyers 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 TBI cases for more than 50 years, we understand the physical, emotional and psychological hardships that brain injury 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 properly qualified doctors? If not, please contact us and we can help.