On August 20, 2020, I had the honor giving a presentation at the Missouri Bar Association’s 2020 Solo and Small Firm Annual Conference. This CLE, which was titled “Maximizing the Value of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Cases,” provided insight and guidance to other attorneys who handle cases involving traumatic brain injuries. My good friend and colleague, Annette Griggs of Griggs Injury Law, LLC, presented with me, and we emphasized that any attorney handling a traumatic brain injury case must have a good understanding of the nature of traumatic brain injuries. We also explained that the term “mild” as used in connection with a mild TBI is a misnomer—that is, any TBI is never mild for the person suffering from the TBI.
It was also important to explain that TBIs frequently go undiagnosed by emergency room personnel, treating physicians, and chiropractors and that gaps in treatment are thus common with these types of injuries. Another issue facing attorneys representing these clients is that treatment options can often be limited, resulting in medical bills that are low relative to the severity of the injury (for example, as opposed to other types of injuries for which surgery is an option). We covered the pros and cons of the imaging techniques frequently used in assessing head trauma.
We also explained that the research indicates that a person who has had even one mild traumatic brain injury without a loss of consciousness is at more than twice the risk of the general population of developing dementia or other neurodegenerative disease, and that the future risk of that development is compensable in Missouri. We finished by discussing the types of experts routinely used in TBI cases, the fact that expenses in these cases can often exceed $100,000 before suit is ever filed, and that attorneys must make sure that they speak with before and after witnesses and consider whether presenting their client to the jury is a good strategy.