Proving damages in brain injury and stroke cases is very challenging because the injury is often “hidden.” Unlike a wrongful death claim or a case involving obvious physical injuries, brain damage from trauma or stroke can result in purely cognitive changes that are difficult to show, especially when the damage cannot be reproduced on MRI, CT or other imaging studies. Making matters worse, sometimes even the disabled person’s own family does not understand the nature and extent of the damage.
Brain injury occurs in a number of ways. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) or post-concussion syndrome can occur when a person sustains head trauma. But it can also occur with severe whiplash in a car accident, with no obvious head trauma, just like with shaken baby syndrome. Likewise, stroke can occur in a number of ways, including blockages in the carotid arteries that supply the brain with oxygenated blood, blood clots that embolize to the brain from the heart, dissection of an artery, bleeding in the brain, or a burst aneurysm. In most of these cases, injury to the brain is apparent from imaging, but not always. In the case of so-called mild TBI, the damage from “shearing” of brain cells occurs on a microscopic level and will not appear on imaging. Even so, such injuries can have devastating consequences.
Proving hidden brain injuries requires an experienced injury lawyer who knows what to look for. As an example, I once represented a young executive who had sustained whiplash from a high speed rearend collision in Ohio. He had already met with a lawyer who wanted to settle his case for a few thousand dollars. However, after speaking to this young man for awhile, I quickly realized that his injuries were much worse than the usual neck and back problems associated with such a motor vehicle accident.
After an extensive work up by well-qualified neuro-scientists who are skilled in diagnosing brain injury and stroke, the client was diagnosed with a profound brain injury. Despite his own heroic efforts to return to lucrative work as an executive, he was never able to return to gainful employment. I resolved the case after an arbitration for multimillion dollar policy limits. You can read more here.
(… to be continued…)