Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are serious injuries that impact the life of the victim and the lives of the victim’s family and friends. TBI can significantly impact the injured victim’s cognitive, physical, and psychological skills. The scope of the harm to the brain can be difficult to determine and is often difficult to prove in court.
TBI has come to the forefront due to the widespread discussion of injuries in contact sports such as professional Football and Boxing. Studies have found that a remarkable proportion of athletes who played at the highest level develop neurodegenerative diseases as a consequence of a brain injury.
Brain injuries can frequently be deceptive, so it is important to be extra-cautious about any accident that causes a blow to the head.
The implications of a TBI and the legal challenges which may arise when attempting to recover compensation for the harm will be discussed herein.
The current authoritative publications on Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) are essential when proving the existence of a TBI to a jury. It is important to educate the jurors on the extent of harm caused by a TBI. The following are good resources:
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Reports to Congress, including:
- Report to Congress on Traumatic Brain Injury Epidemiology and Rehabilitation: Recommendations for Addressing Critical Gaps (March 2015)
- Report to Congress on Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Understanding the Public Health Problem among Current and Former Military Personnel (June 2013)
- Report to Congress on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Steps to Prevent a Serious Public Health Problem (September 2003)
- Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: A Report to Congress (December 1999)
Litigating Brain Injuries, Vols. 1 and 2, Stern, Bruce. Thomson-West Publishing. 2006.
Neuropsychological Assessment, Lezak, et al., 5th Edition, Oxford University Press. 2012.
The Handbook of Clinical Neuropsychology, Gurd, et al. Oxford University Press. 2012.
The Handbook of Functional Neuroimaging of Cognition. Cabeza, et al, Second Edition.
The American Association for Justice (AAJ) has a Traumatic Brain Injury Group that sponsors conferences. www.justice.org.
The North American Brain Injury Society (NABIS) is a society of professionals involved in the issues surrounding brain injury. www.nabis.org.
The Defense Research Institute (DRI) sponsors seminars for defense counsel dealing with the issues in traumatic brain injury litigation. www.dri.org.
GUARDIAN AD LITEM
If the TBI victim has impaired decision-making abilities or is at risk of undue influence from others, then an appointment of a guardian may be considered. In attempting to pursue a lawsuit to recover compensation for the brain injury suffered by injured victim, a guardian ad litem may need to be applied for with the court if it is in the best interest of the client. A guardian ad litem is a temporary form of guardianship that must be appointed to protect the litigant’s best interests during the legal proceeding.