Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney California

Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Riverside, and San Bernardino

Brain injury psychological damage with no physical harm

Sometimes, you may sustain a traumatic brain injury where you did not suffer from many physical injuries but instead suffered from emotional damage. This emotional damage can either be apparent or still subtly lingering. If traumatic brain injury causes psychological damage, this damage can persist over an extended period.

Traumatic brain injury are problematic when you or your family express that you aren’t acting yourself or you are easily distracted. These psychological injuries are not to be ignored but can be life-changing for you. During your case, a traumatic brain injury lawyer will develop proof of the emotional distress you suffer to receive the fair compensation you deserve.

Your right to compensation in a traumatic brain injury case where psychological damage was caused rather than physical injury is included in your ‘general damages’ or ‘noneconomic damages.’  Because of this, your recovery process will involve recovering from physical pain and mental distress such as anxiety, worry, grief, embarrassment, and more.

In such a case, there is no limit on compensation that you may be rewarded. Because of this, your traumatic brain injury lawyer must call attention to the extent of your emotional damages to receive the most compensation possible. Rather than having a set limit, the jury is responsible for deciding what a ‘reasonable amount’ is for the damage you suffered.

Traditionally, this type of case relied solely on the plaintiff’s testimony. However, in recent days, traumatic brain injury attorneys will instead focus on the testimony of a traumatic brain injury expert and a witness. The traumatic brain injury lawyer will call TBI experts and witnesses to explain your emotional distress.

Traumatic brain injury experts, however, cannot testify on the monetary side of the case, but they can provide valuable information regarding the injury. It is crucial that your traumatic brain injury lawyer addresses your emotional injuries in full and recognizes the extent of the psychological damages you may suffer.

What are the roles of traumatic brain injury experts?

Rather than focusing on the monetary side of the case, a traumatic brain injury lawyer and experts can educate the jury and persuade them to feel a certain way about your situation. In the case of psychological damage, an expert should focus on the following:

  • Testing and Initiating Treatment (If Required)
  • Defining Significant Terms
  • Discussing your Level of Functionality
  • Explaining the Psychological and Emotional Challenges that Affect your Day-to-Day Life
  • Discussing your Future Costs and Needs, Including Medication, Treatment, Etc.
  • Explaining the Connection Between Liability and Damage
  • Providing a Basis for Overcoming the Statute of Limitation

What type of traumatic brain injury expert should you get?

When you and your traumatic brain injury lawyer are deciding what type of expert you should hire for your case, focus on the emotional damage you have suffered. Consider consulting both professionals in the mental field as well as non-professionals.

  • Mental health professionals

In general, your traumatic brain injury lawyer will call two types of mental health experts. These are psychologists and psychiatrists. Psychologists focus on studying human behavior and psychological processes and can provide counseling. Psychiatrists are trained medical doctors and can prescribe medicine. Psychology falls into fifty-four recognized subspecialties, including:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive/Perceptual Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Engineering Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Rehabilitation Psychology
  • School Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Sports Psychology

Often, defendants’ traumatic brain injury attorneys will bring into motion an attempt to prevent psychologists from testifying regarding medicine because they are not qualified to do so. Because of this, consider using a psychiatrist as an expert if any medication is a part of your care. You can use both, but if so, separating the testimonies is crucial, so there are no objections to duplicating statements.

Besides a psychologist and psychiatrist, your traumatic brain injury lawyer will retain a forensic psychologist and psychiatrist. A forensic psychologist/psychiatrist has specific training in applying questions regarding psychiatry or psychology to the legal field.  A forensic psychologist may also have a clinical practice, but in this case, he is not providing any therapy to you. Instead, they are evaluating you and your emotional damages to present to the court.  Usually, in mental health cases, the’ forensic’ specialist is the professional in charge of providing the defense examination. If you have undergone psychological treatment, the psychologist who treated you must discuss the treatments and the problems you addressed.  Your lawyer should also have a forensic specialist evaluate and share the emotional injuries they discovered and the care and costs you may require.

  • Non-professionals (Laypersons)

Aside from professional experts, your traumatic brain injury lawyer will call non-professionals to testify in your brain injury lawsuit. Testimonies from a lay witness could aid in showing the emotional damages caused by the defendant and how it has personally affected you and your professional life.

An assumption that is often made but is incorrect is that a non-professional cannot testify with their own opinions on traumatic brain injury. However, a traumatic brain injury lawyer knows that this form of testimony is allowed if it is relevant to a brain injury lawsuit and relevant to the damage.

Courts have a lot of flexibility to determine whether or not testimony based on opinion is admissible. Statements by laypersons on traumatic brain injury are usually permitted because they help the lawsuit develop more clearly.  The types of opinionated testimony that are often permissible include any opinions that regard your health, condition, or suffering due to the defendant’s actions.

When you and your traumatic brain injury lawyer are deciding what type of layperson to include in your lawsuit, consider the following people who have witnessed the mental damage:

  • Caregivers
  • Co-workers
  • Teachers
  • Friends
  • Coaches
  • Family
  • School Counselors
  • Spouses/Ex-Spouses

Think about what aspects of your life have been altered the most. Consider how your everyday life has changed due to the psychological damage.

How to find the perfect traumatic brain injury expert

In general, jurors trust the testimonies of the most qualified experts over those who may not be as experienced. Because of this, your traumatic brain injury lawyer will need to find the perfect brain injury expert.

  1. The first step to finding the traumatic brain injury expert is determining which areas of your case need to be addressed, such as treatment, testing, etc. Consider what professional is best suited to these specific needs.
  2. The second step is to look for a traumatic brain injury professional with experience in your specific needs or injuries.
  3. The third step is to consider the cost of each type of expert. For example, psychiatrists and ‘forensic’ specialists cost more to hire than psychologists. Your traumatic brain injury lawyer may negotiate a low fee on your behalf.

The search for the perfect traumatic brain injury expert often begins with word-of-mouth referrals and recommendations from other traumatic brain injury attorneys. The internet provides easy access to abundant resources and information on traumatic brain injury experts. You can find information on any traumatic brain injury professional you need and reviews of that professional or work they have done in the past. Try researching professionals from mental health institutions or universities, also.

The witness disclosure document for experts

Before the trial begins, both sides must know which traumatic experts the opposite chose. This knowledge helps the traumatic brain injury lawyers prepare for the jury trial. According to the Code of Civil Procedure section 2034.010 et seq., the following information is required to be exchanged by your traumatic brain injury lawyer:

  1. Expert List: An expert list outlines the names and addresses of all experts providing testimony in the trial. This list should include all experts or professionals who may be called to the stand.
  2. Expert Witness Declaration: A declaration for each expert designated to speak needs to be presented to those who are a party to the action, an employee of the party, or are forming an opinion. Those who are non-retained do not need to provide an expert declaration.

The declaration must be signed by your traumatic brain injury attorney as well as fall into line with the Code of Civil Procedure section 2034.260(c):

(a) Expert Qualifications

(b) General Information of Expected Testimony

(c) Representations that the expert has agreed to testify to (including any opinions)

(d) Expert Fees

One of the essential aspects of the declaration by your traumatic brain injury lawyer is the general information or substance to be discussed in the testimony. The language that is used to describe the expert’s opinions must be taken into careful consideration. Any significant facts and opinions must be included to allow the opposing party to determine what action they want to take against that expert. They also use this information to prepare for cross-examination. If this section does not contain the required information, there is a significant risk that the testimony will not be permissible in court.

Placing a label on the psychological damage

How you communicate the emotional damages you have suffered to the jurors is extremely important. Your traumatic brain injury lawyer and the experts on your behalf should use specific statements about your emotional harm. Using broad statements such as “emotional distress” does not help your case. Some of these terms can be found in CACI 3905 and include words such as anxiety, humiliation, and more. CACI 3905A allows the addition of other damages, such as shame, fear, and more. It can be helpful to your case to have the traumatic brain injury expert discuss each item separately from one another.

Also, jurors like labels. Because of this, it can be helpful for your traumatic brain injury lawyer to label your specific emotional injuries, such as the following:

  • PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Phobias
  • Depressive Neurosis
  • Depression
  • Panic Disorder
  • Anxiety Disorder

While the traumatic brain injury labels are important, it is not the only form of persuasive evidence. A layperson can also explain in detail the day-to-day changes you have experienced. These may help you receive adequate compensation for your damages. Please get in touch with our traumatic brain injury lawyer today for a free consultation.

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