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Help for Michigan brain injury lawyers: new strategies for winning TBI lawsuits

September 9, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

I’ll be speaking at the Michigan Association for Justice No-Fault insurance seminar today on how to help brain injury lawyers

Today I’ll be speaking to my fellow Michigan injury lawyers about updates in the law for auto accident victims with traumatic brain injury (TBI). This presentation is part of the Michigan Association for Justice Annual No-Fault Institute VIII, and will be in Southfield, Michigan.

My topic will cover new legal tactics and strategies that can help lawyers win traumatic brain injury lawsuits and better serve injured clients struggling with TBI after accidents.

I’ve spoken at prior legal seminars on this (including an upcoming seminar next week in Las Vegas for the Advocacy Institute), and I cannot stress enough the importance of lawyers becoming better at helping TBI victims in Michigan and throughout the country.

Traumatic brain injury cases take a serious time commitment for lawyers. It takes hard work to become a competent brain injury lawyer: it requires constant reading of the medical literature, constant learning, going to legal seminars, and understanding that you are taking on a case that will be defended more vigorously by an insurance defense lawyer and insurance company, than one with more “obvious” injuries. And every single case requires you to go back and teach the basics, as defense lawyers always contest even the most basic medicine of brain injury.

TBI is devastating for many car accident victims, yet it’s difficult for lawyers to prove

Many people who suffer a brain injury after an auto accident may look fine. But all the while, there is cytoskeletal disruption of the injured axons that causes deterioration over the course of the first days – and some experts would say weeks – following the initial brain injury. This is followed by secondary injury caused by further deterioration of axons. And it’s the reason so many people with brain injury worsen over the days to months following injury. I would recommend any brain injury lawyer review the CDC publication for physicians on this. I also wrote a blog that hopefully helps to further explain this for brain injury lawyers: How living with a brain injury is different than junk science suggests.

A second reason TBI can be difficult for brain injury lawyers to prove in the courtroom is because many doctors and emergency rooms fail to diagnose traumatic brain injury. One study puts the number of missed diagnosis at 80 percent!

Doctors now understand that the brain actually goes into a hyper-metabolic state as it tries to protect itself after a brain injury. There is an uptake of glucose and hyper-metabolic activity that actually masks many of the symptoms of brain injury. In turn, the injured brain makes the routine questions and gross neurological examination seem “normal” — even in several diagnostic imaging tests today.

This all means that doctors — and especially brain injury lawyers — must be better at being aware of brain injuries as a possibility, and detecting them in other ways. I’ll be giving more tips to help attorneys win TBI cases during my presentation.

Remember to visit Facebook.com/MichiganAutoLaw to enter to win a $1,032 check as part of our distracted driving awareness campaign.

Steven M. Gursten is a brain injury lawyer and head of Michigan Auto Law. He is a member of the American Association for Justice Traumatic Brian Injury Litigation Group. Steve received trial verdicts of $5.65 million and $3.5 million for brain injury victims in Michigan. Both verdicts were the largest reported auto negligence verdicts in Michigan for the year.

Related information to protect yourself:

What is traumatic brain injury?

Defense traps in Michigan brain injury cases

Brain injury lawyer tip: Significance of seizures following TBI

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our Michigan brain injury lawyers.

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