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Help for Truck Accident Lawyers: Aiding Clients with Traumatic Brain Injury

August 19, 2009 by Steven M. Gursten

During my trucking webcast for the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America yesterday, one truck accident lawyer asked if I could provide a link to the Philadelphia Head Injury Questionnaire.

This is a valuable tool the lawyers in my office use to help identify clients who may have suffered traumatic brain injury after automobile crashes. I’ve included the Philadelphia Head Injury Questionnaire here. As I said yesterday, it is crucially important that truck accident lawyers ask questions about traumatic brain injury, and identify symptoms of brain injury that are often missed early on by so many.

Why use a questionnaire?

Published literature indicates that EMS and hospital emergency rooms miss approximately 80 percent of all brain injuries. And because TBI is a process, not an event, an important reason brain injuries are often overlooked is because damage to the brain continues for hours, days and sometimes even weeks after a traumatic event like a truck accident. In addition, traumatic brain injury is often “masked” – a medical term that may indicate anything from doctors ignoring it while focusing on more acute injuries such as fractures, or severe physical pain after a truck crash. You can read more about TBI in our Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer Resource Center.

Also, developing cognitive deficits from brain injury are often attributed to strong narcotic pain medications that TBI victims take, or the lack of challenge and mental stimulation as people are recover from serious physical injuries. Therefore, cognitive deficits don’t become apparent until people are improving and trying to return to work.

The important point for lawyers is to identify possible problems so our clients can get help as quickly as possible. The literature shows that traumatic brain injury that is identified early and treated aggressively has much better recovery rates. We owe it to our clients to take a few minutes and ask if they are having any of the possible symptoms or indicators of a closed-head injury. Tools like the Philadelphia Head Injury Questionnaire can help uncover the truth.

For more information on TBI law, we also have a comprehensive online resource center for lawyers handling brain injury cases.

Steven M. 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. In 2008, Steve received a trial verdict of $5.65 million for a TBI victim; the largest reported auto negligence verdict in Michigan for the year, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

Related information:

Traumatic Brain Injury Law

Defense Attorney Traps in TBI Cases

Auto Accident TBI Cases Destroyed in Federal Court

Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights.

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