Navigating TBI cases with pre-existing psychiatric and cognitive issues.
Proving a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) always presents with some or all of these common challenges: Glascow Coma Score (GCS), negative CAT scans or x-rays, lack of superficial head trauma, negative MRI films, incorrect medical diagnosis, delay in subsequent medical treatment, and a general difficulty in recognizing signs and symptoms. Skilled defense attorneys do not hesitate to capitalize on these “problems” and use them to disprove an injury occurred.
These problems are amplified when the injured person (plaintiff) has any pre-existing psychiatric conditions. Some common psychiatric conditions, such as depression and anxiety, are used to attempt to mitigate the damages caused by the defendant(s). Other conditions can be used in an attempt to evade responsibility for an accident in the first place. In our last trial, the defense tried both of these approaches. First, the defense focused on claiming that our client’s long history of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD) and medications used in its treatment, resulted in her inattention while crossing the street mid-block, between parked cars. And second, the defense and its expert doctors argued that ADD, and not a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), was to blame for the plaintiff’s psychiatric and cognitive difficulties post-accident.
The injured person saw an advertisement for law firm and went to see them, only to be told that her injuries were not significant enough to warrant that firm’s attention and resources. Instead, she was introduced to a solo personal injury office that, despite seeking only a small amount of money to settle, was unable to obtain any settlement offer at all, and unable and unwilling to invest the time and money to prepare the case and manage all of the costs and risks associated with a trial by jury. Nguyen Leftt, PC ultimately took over the case, after five years of litigation, as trial attorneys.
As always, Nguyen Leftt’s experienced trial attorneys and staff undertook a thorough investigation of our client’s medical history and life experiences. We spoke with our client’s treating physicians and learned about the damages this accident caused. We interviewed family members, and examined past and present employment records. We scoured through old family photos, and spent time with our client and her family in their comfortable settings.
Through a combination of expert and lay witnesses, we were able to draw sharp distinctions between problems the plaintiff had from the pre-existing condition, and the problems she suffered from the mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) the defendant caused. And we were able to convey those problems to our jury who awarded our client a seven-figure verdict purely for pain and suffering. Sometimes, the differences can appear subtle. This is a stark reminder why mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) is referred to as the Silent Epidemic by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).