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Technology and Brain Injuries

We have been talking about brain injuries and particularly diffuse axonal injuries or shear injuries. These injuries are verified through technology and, in particular, a sophisticated form of MRI. I really want to bring the point home about technology. Technology frustrates a lot of people and its ever changing nature can be especially frustrating. But in the area of medical science and as an element of proof for lawyers pursuing personal injury claims, technology is on our side. Let me give you an example from the area of brain injuries.

The sophisticated form of MRI that I have spoken about in the first paragraph is something that I believe may not even be available in all teaching hospitals in Boston. With diffuse tensor imaging you can see things that were previously never contemplated. You can have different quantitative volumetric analysis of different parts of the brain. If there are changes – and hopefully there are not – but if indeed there are changes, you can show that to the other side. The insurance company and their defense lawyer are always clamoring for proof, or objective evidence. I suggest to you that abnormal findings will put that clamoring in its place. Please keep in mind the following: the client with a brain injury often does not have symptoms, or at least often those symptoms do not not manifest themselves in the dramatic way the adversaries expect, or claim to expect. The client is usually able to come to a deposition, answer questions logically, and may appear fine. They are driving and they can basically carry on all the activities, or seemingly carry on all the activities, that they were previously doing.

However, if you have objective evidence, the discussion changes. You now can debunk that defense position. Something like volumetric analysis or neuro quadrant imaging, done by a sophisticated MRI facility and read by the radiologist and interpreted by your neuroradiologist, will give strong evidence to help disprove the contentions of the other side. The brain is injured.

With technology ever evolving and information, even scholarly articles, available online, your lawyer has another effective resource. The case will likely improve by the lawyer’s becoming familiar with peer reviewed journals to see what the specialists have studied. Believe it or not, those academic articles often have sentences that are understandable to the layman. You should also expect that your lawyer has been attending seminars and is “up on” the latest in the field. Have the appropriate experts from multiple fields been retained? I find that it is only through that effort can the lawyer convey the significance and indeed the existence of the brain injury. Often, the client will not realize what is going on. However, the lawyer who has familiarity with these kinds of cases will know and should know where to turn.

The client should be made aware of all of this. By the way, by availing the client of any newly discovered sources, I am in no way directing the treatment, something I have strongly advised against. The bottom line: the lawyer needs to know what is on the cutting edge of the brain injury field. It will likely make a difference. Often times, the defense will not have countervailing experts, or contrary studies and contrary literature on their side. Then they will surely have no answer to the objective testing. With everything even more sophisticated in medical science and so readily available to us, there is no reason that the lawyer cannot prepare the brain injury case thoroughly.

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