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Traumatic Brain Injury

practicearea9If you or a loved one have suffered a severe or mild traumatic brain injury, you need an experienced brain injury attorney.  Jonathan Karon has the experience you need.   This includes obtaining a significant jury verdict in a mild traumatic brain injury case where the MRI’s and CT scans showed no evidence of injury and a seven figure settlement in a case where the plaintiff’s brain injury caused him to lose his social skills.  He has been invited to speak at educational programs for other attorneys on traumatic brain injury issues.

Brain injury cases present complex medical and legal issues.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 1.7 million people annually sustain a traumatic brain injury.  A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be caused by a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury.  Even if someone does not lose consciousness, they can still sustain a traumatic brain injury.  Some brain injuries are easy to diagnose because the brain damage can be seen on MRI’s or CT scans.  Other, more subtle brain injuries, may initially be missed and only become apparent some time after an accident.   Even these so-called “mild” traumatic brain injuries can have a devastating impact on the injured person and their family.  Someone can suffer severe brain damage, causing substantial difficulty concentrating, memory problems, reduced attention span, headaches, impaired executive functioning, fatigue and personality changes, even though their injury does not show up on MRI’s or CT scans.  Compounding their misery is that to people who do not know them well, they may appear “fine”and be repeatedly thrust into painful, humiliating situations.

Someone who has suffered an MTBI, needs a lawyer who is familiar with the neuropsychological tests used to diagnose these impairments as well as more sensitive imaging techniques, such as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which are now being used to document this subtle brain damage.  Sadly, defendants and their insurers can be expected to accuse the legitimately injured of either malingering (faking their injuries) or of suffering from a somatoform disorder, a psychiatric condition which the defense will claim is solely responsible for producing these symptoms.  Fortunately, if your attorney is well versed in the medical literature and the proper use of neuropsychological tests these arguments can be refuted on the basis of sound scientific and medical principals.

Even where there is an undisputed diagnosis of severe traumatic brain injury, such as when a head injury is followed by coma and clear radiographic evidence of brain damage, complex medical legal issues remain.  For example, to truly measure the full effect of a brain injury, an accurate understanding of an individual’s pre-injury functioning and how it compares to that person’s present impairments is required.   Moreover, it is well established that TBI can have a devastating effect on an individual’s social skills.  The inability to make friends or maintain relationships can lead to lonely isolation, destroy marriages and prevent future employment.  Where they have occurred, a skilled brain injury attorney must be able to explain these tragic consequences of traumatic brain injury to the jury.  This requires not just working with skilled clinicians, but also getting to know the injured person’s family and friends.

Obviously, the legal system alone cannot address all of the challenges facing the brain injured.  The top priority must always be achieving the maximum possible recovery.  More information about the nature of traumatic brain injuries and the resources available to injured persons is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) and the Brain Injury Association of America (www.biausa.org) as well as your local state brain injury association (for example the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts www.biama.org).  But if you or someone you know has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s carelessness, you should feel free to call, e-mail or schedule an appointment with Mr. Karon

 


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