The trial attorney representing a client in a traumatic brain injury case must master the scientific and medical literature addressing this unique injury. Only then can the attorney hope to effectively wield the often con- fusing terminology by finding definitions and criteria that the defense cannot credibly refute.
No other damage case requires the depth of the knowledge and use of medical literature and treatises that are needed in the traumatic brain injury (TBI) case. In most personal injury cases, the injuries and their origin are largely self-evident. In the fall-down case involving fractured bones, in the product liability case involving amputations or burns, or in the motor vehicle collision with catastrophic injuries, the injuries and their relationship to the trauma are essentially undisputed. By contrast, in the TBI case, especially where the injury is characterized as “mild,” the issue of whether an injury even exists, let alone its connection to a specific traumatic event, is nearly always heatedly disputed and litigated.
Fortunately, a wealth of scientific literature has evolved on the subject of so-called “mild” TBI, the nature of the injury, causation, and prognosis. It is imperative that the trial lawyer handling TBI cases be fully conversant with this literature. This information is needed not only to cross-examine defendants’ experts, but also to allow the plaintiff’s attorney to fully understand–and prepare–the plaintiff’s treating and expert witnesses for trial.