By H.Q Nguyen
In my first TBI case, I obtained a disappointing verdict after a 6.5 week trial. I spoke with the jury afterwards. They did not find my client to be sympathetic. While they believed that she suffered a brain injury, they did not fully comprehend how it affected her life. They did not learn about the person that she was before suffering TBI.
The discovery of the plaintiff’s life before the accident is important to any personal injury case. However, in TBI cases where the damage to the brain is often subtle and not visibly evident like a broken bone or torn ligament, it is ever more crucial. After all, the brain is the final frontier and mostly undiscovered country of medicine and science.
PROSECUTING AN MTBI CASE
To add an additional layer of mystery surrounding TBI cases, most of us think of a TBI case as one where a person suffers a head injury and is rendered unconscious. The person is taken to the ER where an imaging brain scan reveals hemorrhages and bleeding. This is the conventional understanding of a TBI. This is the number one reason for the misunderstanding of a MTBI. In MTBI cases, the initial medical presentation often lacks unconsciousness, abnormal brain scans and other conventional expectations of how a person with TBI should present medically.
Moreover, there is an expectation that the plaintiff who suffers TBI would undergo drastic and evident changes from the person that they were before the TBI. With MTBI, the subtle, yet insidious changes in the plaintiff’s cognitive abilities and behavior, are not evident to a juror who would have but a view of a paragraph of the plaintiff’s life during the course of trial.