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Handling Traumatic Brain Injury Cases | The Power of Cross-Examination

May 29, 2012 by The Parrish Law Firm

What is Traumatic Brain Injury?

One of the most widely accepted definitions of mild traumatic brain injury comes from the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and states:

“Patients with mild traumatic brain injury can exhibit persistent emotional, cognitive, behavioral and physical symptoms, alone or in combination, which may produce a functional disability.”

  • Physical symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, sleep disturbance, quickness to fatigue, lethargy, or other sensory loss
  • Cognitive deficits can involve attention, concentration, perception, memory, speech/language, or executive functions
  • Behavioral changes can include irritability, quickness to anger, dis-inhibition or emotional liability

How can cross-examination strengthen a traumatic brain injury case?

During these types of cases, the defense will typically bring a medical expert witness to the stand to counteract any claims of a traumatic brain injury. Rather than attempting to discredit this witness’s testimony, however, a personal injury attorney can use him to prove his own side of the case. Here’s the best way to do it:

  • Before going to court, research and investigate which aspects of traumatic brain injuries are not open to interpretation.
  • When the witness is on the stand, ask him to acknowledge these universal facts and use his answers to support your traumatic brain injury claim. In other words, force the expert to state the hard facts, not give his “medical opinion” on the situation.
  • Provide a well-known definition of traumatic brain injury and have the witness agree that this definition is widely accepted and relied on by medical experts.

Click here to learn the next steps in utilizing cross-examination to strengthen a traumatic brain injury case.

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