A personal injury attorney has been entrusted with protecting the rights of their injured clients. In fact, personal injury attorneys see their clients during the worst, and most fragile time in their lives. Clients have usually been severely injured and are seeking justice during a vulnerable time when they’ve become the victim of an accident as a result of another’s negligence or recklessness.
A personal injury attorney must play protector, passionately pursue a victim’s rights
An attorney’s protection of their clients’ rights doesn’t extend only to obtaining the compensation they rightfully deserve. Throughout the legal process the attorney must protect their client from the insurance companies’ notorious bully tactics, and from the defendant’s counsel in any number of ways. For a brain injured client, the attorney is there to ensure that their injury will be taken seriously and therefore justly compensated in a court of law.
Traumatic brain injury occurs deep within the brain. That means this type of injury doesn’t always have visible symptoms. It can even be considered an “invisible” injury once the victim has healed from any other injuries they suffer in an accident. Broken bones, cuts and scrapes, and bruising all may disappear with little to no scarring after a period of healing, physical therapy, rest, or a combination of all three.
With traumatic brain injury, that’s usually not the case. The injury persists within the brain, even after the injured victim has had time to heal outwardly. Traumatic brain injuries are notoriously difficult to fully recover from, and can often become lifelong. Persistent, chronic dizziness, vision changes, migraines, and the inability to focus are just some of the most common and long lasting effects that a TBI can have on an injured victim. So, when a brain injured client and their family seek to retain legal counsel, the attorney will have to prove that perhaps the visibly “uninjured” client is not “uninjured” whatsoever and is actually suffering from serious and lifelong medical issues as a result of their accident.
The client comes first
When it comes to traumatic brain injury, a victim has the right to seek legal representation. Within personal injury law, many attorneys will claim to have the knowledge necessary to take a TBI claim, but have never actually tried such a case in a court of law. Insurance companies have convinced too many victims that if their injury isn’t visible, they have no recourse. That’s simply not the truth and an experienced, board certified civil trial attorney will know this from Day One!
Why do some attorneys tout their ability to take a case they simply aren’t cut out to try? It’s because many law firms treat their clients as numbers, and the firm itself becomes a factory. The client should never be left to feel forgotten or that their case isn’t big enough to be important to their attorney.
The truth of the matter is this: TBI claims are extremely difficult to navigate if the attorney representing the victim isn’t familiar with the legal process that surrounds proving that the injury does in fact exist, and that it’s caused their client to lose not only quality of life, but the ability to function. Many law firms simply don’t want to take the time to do the work on the client’s behalf.
So what needs to happen in order for a personal injury attorney to obtain compensation, and the maximum amount at that, on behalf of their deserving client? There are several steps that the attorney must go through and forgetting even one of them can hurt the client in the long run!
Witnesses, judge, and jury, oh my!
What are these steps we just mentioned, you might be wondering? Let’s start with the necessity of competent witnesses. A witness must be someone who can attest (under oath, in front of a judge and jury if necessary) that they know the victim well and can provide weight to the injured party’s claim. This doesn’t simply mean a witness can take the stand and ramble on and on about how injured the victim is.
Within personal injury, there are specific aspects of the case that the witness must be familiar with beforehand. The personal injury attorney will meet with their witnesses before the trial, mediation, or arbitration and explain everything they must know before they speak on behalf of the victim. In some instances, they will be briefed on what not to say, if the attorney feels this approach is necessary. If the witness has any questions or is unsure or anxious, the attorney can walk them through the process with their insight and expertise.
That being said, what are the types of witnesses?
- Before and After Witnesses: For brain injured clients, a change in their abilities, function, and quality of life are some of the most drastic things that frequently occur. Friends, family, and even former employers may be asked to testify on behalf of the brain-injured victim to provide insight on what the victim was like before they became injured, and how much they’ve changed since.
- Expert Witnesses: In an ER setting, all studies necessary to prove a TBI in court may not have been performed. This is because in the Emergency Room, only lifesaving procedures are performed. In order to try a traumatic brain injury case in court successfully, a specialist must take specific imaging that’s more advanced than that performed in an emergency setting. A specialist can provide more insight on behalf of the victim as to the extent of their injury and how it dramatically altered their life for the worse.
- Accident Reconstruction Expertise: Often, accident reconstruction experts are acquired to prove who was at-fault. Utilizing a neurological specialist and those who know the victim best isn’t always the extent of what’s necessary to fully serve justice in a TBI case. Accident reconstruction experts can recreate the scene of an accident down to the most minor details, and therefore show the judge and jury in nearly real-time what occurred and why the victim became permanently injured.
Up next: a confident attorney does their research, comes prepared to fight fearlessly on behalf of their client
Traumatic brain injuries occur frequently but even so, are difficult to treat and even more difficult to navigate when it comes to the laws surrounding them. An experienced board certified civil trial attorney doesn’t fear the unknown because they’ve done their research and feel confident in their ability to pursue the right to justice on behalf of their injured clients.
In Part 2 of our “The Legal Side of TBI” series, we’ll look at what, besides the necessity of competent witnesses, a personal injury attorney must do to ensure their injured client’s rights are protected.