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Better ways for lawyers to help brain injury survivors in car accident cases

September 16, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Steve Gursten will be speaking to brain injury lawyers on higher settlements in auto accident cases and TBI

I’ll be speaking this week in Las Vegas as part of the 360 Advocacy Institute’s Insurance, Settlement and Mediation conference seminar. My presentation is about teaching lawyers how to build damages in car accident injury cases involving traumatic brain injury (TBI), and how to settle these accident cases for more money with the insurance companies that evaluate them. I will also be moderating the program on Friday and Saturday.

This is an important seminar for injury lawyers, and it is always highly attended.

The focus this year on TBI, and on helping injury lawyers understand and better evaluate brain injury cases, is also important. These cases are often neglected or settled for less than fair value by lawyers who do not understand how brain injury can affect survivors in many instances; and sadly, by many doctors who treat these brain injury survivors in managed care plans.

My own experience is many Medicare doctors also look the other way in brain injury cases, because treatment of brain injury within Medicare is hard for medical providers to bill for and be paid on. Sadly, with very few dedicated brain injury lawyers out there, it becomes more important than ever to educate lawyers on what to look for and how to better present brain injury cases, so they can be fairly valued with insurance companies.

One common example that many injury lawyers often miss is when there is a traumatic brain injury from an auto accident, as well as other serious physical injuries. This causes a “combination effect” on the accident victim, as these injuries can affect one another and make many of the symptoms worse. The combination effect becomes a vicious interplay of symptoms from a TBI, other personal injuries, fatigue, depression and pain, affecting one another and making each one worse in turn.

As many doctors who treat multiple injuries and chronic pain will say, when people have multiple injuries, problems go up by multiplication, not by addition. With multiple injuries, sadly, 1 + 1 does not always equal 2. Many accident victims begin to deteriorate under this vicious downward cycle of injuries exacerbating one another and the constant pain, fatigue, and lack of sleep, which makes everything worse.

It is my hope that educating brain injury lawyers will help them better identify and explain how these problems affect an accident victim’s ability to lead a normal life and ability to return to work.

Steven M. Gursten is a brain injury lawyer and partner of Michigan Auto Law. He is a member of the American Association for Justice Traumatic Brian Injury Group and the Sarah Jane Brain Project. Steve received a trial verdict of $5.65 million for a TBI victim; the largest reported auto negligence verdict in Michigan for the year.

Related information to protect yourself:

The truth about delayed and missed TBI diagnosis

Symptoms of traumatic brain injury from auto accidents

9 steps TBI victims must take following a car accident

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 a Michigan brain injury lawyer.

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