Head injuries are currently making national news and drawing a lot of attention after the hospitalization of secretary of state, Hillary Clinton after a fall in her home that caused a concussion. In adults, head injuries regularly occur as a result of accidents. For children and adolescents, head injuries often occur as a result of recreational activities. Regardless of the cause, head injuries can be very debilitating and can often be fatal.
In civil cases, understanding head trauma can be particularly difficult. If you are representing an individual who suffered a head injury in an accident, you will want to ensure that opposing counsel understands your client’s injuries and that the jury understands the injuries as well.
Mrs. Clinton’s injury is the perfect example of a situation where the general public did not understand the science behind head trauma. Shortly after her admission to the hospital with a blood clot, it was widely reported that the blood clot and concussion were related. In fact, she was being seen for a checkup when the clot was discovered but it was not related to the fall.
Working with an experienced neurologist or neurosurgeon in civil cases where head trauma has occurred can be an invaluable resource from an early point in your case. Even experienced attorneys can use assistance understanding the nuanced and complex nature of head injuries. A medical expert can help you accurately evaluate your client’s condition and assist you in effectively advocating for a fair settlement.
In cases that proceed to trial, your medical expert will be an integral part of your case. An experienced medical expert can explain what medical science currently understands about the human brain and what happens when trauma occurs in a way that your average juror can understand. The expert you work with can help you develop trial exhibits and models and make the information accessible. Taking complex medical situations and explaining them simply is no easy task.
I encourage you to consider selecting a medical expert witness early in the process if you are working on a case that involves head trauma. Whether you are the plaintiff’s attorney or defendant’s attorney, understanding the injuries from the start can help you advocate effectively on your client’s behalf.
By: Mary Wenzel, J.D.