I first wrote the an essay on this topic in 1997, and my list has remained mostly unchanged since: http://tbilaw.com/essays/choiceoflawyer.html I still think these questions which are listed below are good questions to start with. But of course, one could argue that those questions were self serving then, as I of course fit all such criteria. I hope I am no less qualified today, but my perspective on things has changed, with more than 100 brain injury cases settled or tried to verdict.
In too many cases, this was a lawyer who had TV ads that told about how much he could recover, with no substance. Way too many times, the lawyers staff knew little or nothing about brain injury. There are undoubtedly great TBI lawyers out there who I do not know of. But a few questions from you should be able to give you a good idea of whether this attorney is involved in the brain injury field.
This is my suggested list of questions:
1. What brain injury seminars has he or she attended?
2. At what brain injury seminars has he or she spoken?
3. Is he or she a member, and check this out, of your state brain injury association?
4. What service and financial contributions has he or she made to their state brain injury association?
5. What trial lawyer groups that deal with brain injury, is he or she a member of?
6. Do they have the kind of knowledge about brain injury that you have found on these webpages?
But my perspective on these issues has changed some over time. A simple list of questions will only point you in the right direction. Doing the best you can for a brain injured client is as much to do with how competent you are in dueling with the misdirection of Defense hired brain injury experts, as how much time you spend with advocacy groups. My current advocacy project is a “For Plaintiff Lawyers Only” web page, which shares many of the hard lessons I have learned over the years in my battles with deceitful Defense experts. Topics on such page will include the experts a plaintiff lawyer must retain, the interplay of medical and economic experts, understanding the advances in neuro-imaging, understanding the vestibular system and understanding the art and the science of neuropsychology.
The medical part of these pages will detail the role played by the neurologist and or other diagnosing M.D. The neuroimaging portions will discuss improvements in field strength, the relevancy of new pathologies identified on the stronger 3 Tesla MRI’s, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and the role for tailored protocols in the forensic evaluation process.
The most difficult to tackle (and the reason these pages are still under construction) are the pages that deal with neuropsychology. The role of neuropsychology has changed as neuroimaging has improved, and defense paid for research has exagerated the role of so called “malingering” and “somatoform disorders.” One portion of this page will be devoted exclusively to what I call “MMPI abuse”, the improper use of the MMPI to label people with legitimate medical problems, as people suffering from psychiatric disease.
When completed these pages will included detailed deposition excerpts taken from actual cases which demonstrate the issues discussed and the knowledge that plaintiff counsel must have to beat back the Defense efforts at misdirection. When completed, they will be available only to plaintiff counsel, on a password restricted basis, with only those lawyers willing to sign an affidavit that they do exclusively plaintiff work, being allowed access.
In the meantime, I continue to be available to any plaintiff lawyer who needs help, both in terms of the general information contained on our seminal web pages http://tbilaw.com http://subtlebraininjury.com and http:waiting.com and thru formal or informal consulting. I learned as soon as I first uploaded http://tbilaw.com in 1996, that my capacity to help brain injured people would be leveraged many times, were I allowed to work with other lawyers, to help on multiple brain injury cases. I have continued to devote as much of my practice to co-counseling cases with other lawyers as to those where I am the primary lawyer involved. If you read this and feel that you or your lawyer would be benefit from our assistance, please ask your lawyer to call us at 800-992-9447.