How do I put a case together? How do I present it in a comprehensive and thorough fashion to get the best result that I can for my personal injury client? Having done this for a number of years now, I have very strong feelings about how to answer those questions. It really involves a multi-disciplinary approach. I have recently blogged about brain injuries so I will focus on that injury in describing to you how I think your case should best be presented. The lessons can be applied to all forms of injury law.
You want a blend of several features. You want to draw heavily upon objective evidence. What is objective evidence in a brain injury? It is imaging studies. I have spoken about that in a few recent blogs. The imaging studies are the CT scans that are done acutely – that is at the time of the injury – and later on in the course of the injury. In looking for more detailed and specific evidence of an injury, the treating doctor may prescribe MRIs of the brain. There may also be neuropsychological testing or cognitive testing. That too is a form of objective evidence. Then, of course, you want to see how the client presents in a clinical fashion to the neurologist. What are the neurologist’s opinions? Some of them will be based on objective facts and some degree of subjectivity will enter into the picture.
Before you know it, you will have already retained three experts in the case. To summarize: the imaging is interpreted, in the case of a brain or spine injury, by a neuroradiologist; there are cognitive tests done by the neuropsychologist; and the final expert is the neurologist. That is a very good start. You can certainly add to that from the fields of physiatry (not psychiatry but physiatry), psychiatry, life care planning and vocational rehabilitation.
Having discussed experts the question remains: how do you comprehensively and thoroughly present the injury? To round out the picture, you will also need lay testimony or lay evidence. Who are those people? Who would best know about the client’s pre-accident state as compared with the client’s post-accident state? Those would be family and friends. Those lay witnesses can be extremely, extremely important. They work together or mesh with the objective evidence and the expert testimony.
When I summarize a case I want to be able to draw upon a number of things that convey in a forceful fashion the strength and conviction that I feel for my client’s case. I like to use the following words, if at all possible: “irrefutable evidence”, “a very high degree (according to the doctor’s) medical certainty”, “by every objective test”, to name several convincing terms. Those are keywords and they should be impressive to the other side. Of course, on the other side are the people with the money, the insurance claims adjusters and defense counsel. When you summarize a case generally, you want to speak about how likable the client is, how the client has a very good and strong personal narrative, and how they have support from lay and expert witnesses. It is on that basis that you can describe the pre-accident state, the injury up to the point of settlement or trial, and project into the future on the client’s medical situation.
Assume you have liability in your favor. If you are able to describe the injury, how the client sustained it (the so-called mechanism of injury) and its effects you have done a good job. If you can also project the long-term implications of the injury, and if you are able to do it in quite definitive terms, then you will be in an even better position. You will be poised to achieve the best result possible for that personal injury client.
The attorneys serve the entire state of Massachusetts in addition to affiliating with lawyers in other states to handle cases outside of Massachusetts.
Boston Attorneys Win Highest Injury Verdict in Massachusetts in 2011 & 2012.