Things You Need to Know About Brain Injury Litigation
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
However they are sustained, brain injuries can have devastating effects on the lives of both the victim and their loved ones. Depending on the parts of the brain that are damaged, there may be different effects on the victim’s daily routine. A frontal lobe injury can result in symptoms such as memory loss, behavioral changes, headaches, loss of coordination, and comprehension difficulties.
For those unlucky enough to suffer from brain injuries as a result of medical malpractice, a traffic collision, assault, or an accident at work, they may find themselves dealing with grave financial difficulties in addition to physical or psychological issues.
The financial strain of medical bills, professional care, and loss of earnings, whether in the short- or long-term, can be considerable. While Social Security disability benefits are available in the state of Michigan, you must meet the Social Security Administration’s stringent guidelines to qualify. For many, seeking rightful compensation is a means of survival.
However, successful brain injury litigation is a complicated matter. Working with the experienced lawyers at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can mean the difference between a successful and failed lawsuit.
Getting Objective Evidence of Brain Injury Is a Challenge
Proving the liability of the at-fault party and showing evidence of brain injury, often using an MRI or CT scan, are critical to any brain injury lawsuit. Without it, insurance companies will claim that the injury is fake or less serious than stated or that the victim had pre-existing physical or mental problems.
Without objective evidence of the effects of the head injury in question, juries are also less likely to be sympathetic to brain injury claims. Fortunately, new technological developments allow us to prove the presence of brain injury more accurately than ever before.
In the past, it was commonly believed that if a person did not lose consciousness, or if their MRI or CT scan appeared normal, that there was no permanent brain damage. We now know this not to be accurate because of innovative MRI techniques.
- Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DFI) measures the rate of water diffusion between cells and is especially useful for tracking damage to the brain’s white matter in the deeper tissues. When white brain matter is damaged, communication between areas of gray matter, which house the cell bodies of neurons, suffers.
- Susceptibility Weighted Imaging (SWI) can identify iron molecules left from microhemorrhages (tiny brain bleeds) after a trauma. Microhemorrhages can occur when the brain is shaken, like after a car accident, and are usually not visible on a standard MRI.
- Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) assesses the balance of specific molecules in the brain matter, which may be out of balance due to brain trauma.
You Need to Act Fast
The hours and days after an accident has occurred are incredibly stressful for both the injured party and their family members, making it difficult to think beyond the immediate health concerns. Unfortunately, when it comes to brain injury cases, time is of the essence.
Valuable evidence of the accident can be lost very quickly, which is one reason you should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Your brain injury attorney can advise you about steps to take, including gaining specific medical evidence, which can be time-sensitive.
Your Life History Will be Scrutinised
Just as your attorney will fight to prove that your injuries are a direct result of a negligent at-fault party, the defendant’s counsel or the insurance company will do everything they can to disprove your claim. It’s essential, therefore, that you are prepared for this eventuality.
In an attempt to prove that any medical issues you have as a direct result of the accident actually pre-date the incident or that you are an untrustworthy individual, the other party will conduct thorough research of your life history. This may include accessing medical records from childhood, school records, psychological or psychiatric records, and legal records.
Besides delving into your past, the insurance company will try to contact you through their adjuster (the person who investigates claims). They will likely record this conversation and try to use it to disprove your claim. They might also resort to other tactics, including going through your and your family’s social media accounts.
This may sound intimidating, but remember that your attorney is experienced in dealing with these matters and will be there to support you throughout the process.
Returning to Work Can be to Your Advantage
Unfortunately, after experiencing a head injury, some people are unable to return work, either temporarily or permanently. However, if possible, attempting to return to work rather than staying at home awaiting trial is often admired by juries. Of course, you should not force yourself to work if it will be detrimental to your health. If you cannot work, talk to your attorney about applying for disability benefits.
If you were injured at work, your workers’ compensation will cover ⅔ of your weekly wages while you heal.
No-Fault Laws Negate the Need to Prove Liability
The majority of brain injury lawsuits are rooted in the legal concept of negligence. To prove the defendant was negligent, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care, that they did not meet the standard of this duty of care, and that this directly led to the brain injury.
As of July 2020, Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance law was updated, so injured parties should check their policies for specific coverage. No-fault auto insurance means that if the brain injury victim should be eligible to seek compensation by making a claim against their own insurance policy, rather than the at-fault party’s insurance.
In this case, unlike a civil lawsuit, there is no need to prove that the other party was responsible for the incident in order to recover damages. While this can be a relief, some claimants discover that a civil lawsuit may result in more compensation than their insurance coverage. Regardless of your situation, you should consult an experienced brain injury lawyer about the best way to pursue your case.
Get Trustworthy Legal Counsel
If you or a family member have been the victim of a brain injury due to gross negligence or willful misconduct, you will require the services of a superior personal injury attorney. At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., we are dedicated to ensuring brain injury victims receive the compensation they deserve.
For more information or to arrange a free consultation, call us today at 866-MICH-LAW.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.