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Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries: An expert opinion is helpful, but how so?

Victor Lewin - Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The advancement of medical technology over the last decade has shed light on a host of injuries, which have been previously overlooked, or discounted, by insurance defense lawyers. In particular, mild traumatic brain injuries, as well as concussions, have benefitted from the advancement of the scientific knowledge base, which relates to cognitive injuries.

Often the manifestation of brain injury symptoms can become a very contentious issue due to the difficulties associated with proving an injury, which seems to affect every aspect of an individual’s life. Medical experts are crucial to the litigation process.

After a troubling event, such as a car accident where an individual has suffered a mild cognitive impairment, the defendant may argue that no impairment has occurred whatsoever. Even more, the symptoms that are commonly associated with a brain injury can tend to be associated with other causes, like anxiety or stress. For this reason, it can be more burdensome for a plaintiff to establish a mild traumatic brain injury than it can be to establish one that is more severe in nature.

In order to prove the defendant is liable, the plaintiff must produce evidence, which establishes that the injury occurred and was caused by the defendant. Where a car accident or blunt force trauma has occurred, the courts may require expert evidence to speak to the sufficiency of the level of force necessary to cause such an injury.

Next, the plaintiff will have to prove the impact the injuries have had on the plaintiff’s life. In a nutshell, medical experts can speak to the severity of the injury, as well as the level of treatment which will be required in the future. For example, this can amount to providing an opinion on whether a person will be able to perform a longstanding occupation while combatting debilitating headaches. It could also amount to an opinion on what types of future medical expenses will allow the plaintiff to regain a specific level of function.

Traditionally, medical experts, which have testified to plaintiff’s injuries in court, have included neurologists, neuropsychologists, otlaryngologists, psychiatrists, economists, life care planners and work capacity evaluators.

Ultimately, medical experts are crucial in these types of cases because they can speak to the existence, severity, cause and extent of the cognitive injury. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured, and you are unsure what you can claim for, the legal team at Wagners can help you. You can reach us at 902-425-7330 or 1-800-465-8794.

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