A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can cause a wide range of disabilities, which can affect thought, comprehension, emotions, and behavior. Traumatic brain injuries can also cause epilepsy and increase the risk for age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Every year around 1.4 million Americans sustain a brain injury, often as a result of a fall or a motor vehicle accident.
TBIs Change Lives
If you or a loved one have had a traumatic brain injury, there are a lot of things you'll suddenly find yourself having to consider. Medical expenses alone can quickly add up to thousands of dollars, and if you can’t work, there is no way to pay all the bills that accumulate from doctor visits, tests, medications, etc. Additionally, not all brain injuries are going to be recoverable. A lifetime disability means a lifetime of care and medical expenses.
Following an accident with a brain injury, you may want to consult an attorney to discuss your situation and its implications. If you are the victim of someone else’s carelessness, you need to understand your rights. But hiring an attorney will not only ensure damages and expenses get compensated -- they can also be an advocate in a very difficult time, one where the victim may be unable to speak or make decisions for themselves.
Protecting Your Rights
Often the services of a brain injury attorney are needed to ensure those at fault are held responsible for compensating the victim. If hiring a brain injury attorney is necessary, you should find someone with specialized knowledge and experience in the field. Just as the victim of a brain injury would not be treated by a general medical practitioner, their legal representation should specialize in these kinds of personal injury situations. When you meet with a lawyer some questions you should ask are: have they handled brain injury cases; have they published or lectured regarding TBIs; and do they understand the unique challenges of a traumatic brain injury victim? Review their qualifications before deciding on the individual best suited to represent you.
When you begin working with a brain injury attorney, it is important to understand the course your litigation will take. Litigation may take years, and there are many situations which occur that do not require the expertise of the attorney, and can easily be handled by the attorney's associate or legal assistant, but make sure you know exactly who will be handling your casework. Discuss your expectations so they understand your needs. As a client, you have many rights, including the right to be kept up to date on developments in your case, the right to review your file, and the right to speak with the individual(s) handling your case.
Discovery and the Doctor-Patient Privilege
One of the most disturbing events for you as the plaintiff in a personal injury action, is the intrusion into your privacy by attorneys for the defense and insurance adjusters. This intrusion is even more pronounced for the traumatic brain injury plaintiff. When you pursue a claim against the party that caused your brain injury, all lawyers involved in the case are entitled to "discovery." Discovery is the process by which brain injury lawyers try to find out information important to the case about both you and the defendant. If you bring a claim for traumatic brain injuries, your entire medical history, both physical and psychological, becomes subject to discovery and review by not only your lawyer, but also by defense counsel and the insurance companies involved in the claim.
You may be familiar with the concept that conversations between you and your doctor, including notes about your treatment, are confidential or "privileged." Under most state statutes, when a person brings an injury claim, that person waives the standard physician-patient privilege, which allows the defense access to all relevant medical records. In addition to medical records, any records dealing with your emotional or psychological problems may be considered relevant to your claim. When a person asserts a mental or psychological problem as part of a brain injury claim, most courts have held that the therapist-patient privilege is similarly waived. If your medical records contain prior medical, psychiatric, or psychological information that you and your brain injury lawyers feel is not relevant to your claim, your brain injury lawyers can make a motion requesting that the court review the records to determine if they should be released, so that personal information not relevant to the case is protected.
No one wants to take legal action, but it may be your best option for fair compensation. If your case has to go to court, they will be there to speak for you and make sure that your rights are protected. Hiring a personal injury attorney like David Heil in Orlando will help to ensure that you can get the settlement that you deserve in order to take care of yourself and your family.
Amit Singh is a founder of Theinternationalfinance.com he share his immense knowledge of Finance in this blog.