How Do I Know If I Need an Attorney?

Matthew A. Passen
How Do I Know if I Need an Attorney?

After a traumatic brain injury it’s important to focus first on recovering and getting the best possible medical treatment. If the injury occurred in a motor vehicle crash or other incident — at work or at home, you should consider contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer concerning your legal rights. If the injury was caused by the negligence, malpractice, or the recklessness of another person, a lawyer can give you information about your options through the civil justice system.

There are several reasons to consider consulting an attorney who specializes in handling traumatic brain injury cases. Following are the top four:

1. A personal injury lawyer can help you answer the question, “What happened?"

Those who have been seriously injured, or have seen their loved ones struggle with serious injuries usually have many questions, the number one question being, “How did this happen?” A lawyer with experience handling serious injury cases can help you answer this important question.

People often think of attorneys as people who only deal with the “law.” But lawyers can also be factual investigators.

Assuming the lawyer decides to proceed with a case after an initial consultation, a good attorney will conduct a thorough factual investigation, both through his or her own interviewing of witnesses or review of medical records, and through the expertise of professional investigators and other consultants retained by the lawyer to assist with the investigation.

For example, if a client and his or her attorney suspects that a traumatic brain injury arose as a result of medical malpractice, the attorney will consult with highly qualified doctors in the appropriate field of specialty to review the medical records and look at whether the appropriate standard of care was violated. Moreover, in a case — for example — involving a semi-trailer truck crash resulting in catastrophic injuries, an accident attorney will retain investigators to interview witnesses and obtain favorable statements, as well as consult with other trucking experts or professionals in the field of accident reconstruction to determine how the accident occurred. The insurance companies representing possible defendants will have their investigators out doing the same thing, which is why you may want to contact a lawyer to represent your interests.

2. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand why the injury occurred.

People with serious brain injuries — as well as their families — may not realize that other individuals or entities, through negligence or recklessness, actually contributed to their injury.

For example, in a construction-site fall, the general contractor will most likely not voluntarily admit to you that the lack of proper fall support equipment violated the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s safety regulations. In a tractor-trailer truck crash, the trucking company will probably not tell you its truck driver was in violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations “Hours of Service” requirements, which made him fatigued and may have led to the crash.

An attorney can help identify all individuals or entities that may have contributed to the injury. An attorney can help ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions to the full extent of the law.

3. A personal injury lawyer will help you make an informed decision and preserve your rights.

Understandably, many people are hesitant to even discuss filing an injury lawsuit. We realize that no amount of money can bring back a loved one to the way he or she was before the injury. However, most people do not want to let what happened to their loved one happen to anyone else, if it can be prevented.

Many serious injuries, including severe TBI, are often permanent injuries requiring substantial medical treatment and care into the future. The medical bills are often several hundred thousand dollars, and the emotional toll cannot be quantified.

At the very least, an experienced injury lawyer will help you make an informed decision about whether to pursue a potential civil cause of action arising from the injury. After that initial consultation with the lawyer, you are in a better position to make a decision about how to proceed.

Furthermore, it is critical to speak with a lawyer as early as possible to preserve your right to file a civil action. Each state has its own “statute of limitations” for injury actions — a time limit in which you must file a lawsuit, or else your claim is forever barred. For example, in Illinois, you generally must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of your injury, although there are several exceptions to this rule. This is another reason to contact a lawyer sooner rather than later.

4. A personal injury lawyer will help you receive full compensation.

Assuming there is a viable personal injury action, a lawyer will work with you to see that you and your family receive the compensation to which you are entitled under the law. Attorneys understand that this injury has damaged you and your family, not just in the past, but also today and into the future.

A lawyer will seek recovery for the injured person’s past, present, and future medical expenses. The lawyer will use retained experts, such as medical specialists and economists, to show how this injury will impact you into the future. The injury lawyer will also seek compensation for past, present and future pain and suffering, both physical and emotional, loss of normal life, and lost wages.

Most importantly, a top injury lawyer will make sure that you and your family are treated with respect, that your voice is heard, and that you receive the justice you deserve.


Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

Posted on BrainLine August 28, 2009.

Mr. Passen is a personal injury lawyer with Passen & Powell Law Group, a law firm based in Chicago. He concentrates in cases involving traumatic brain injury.

Comments (1)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

What about if it was a one vehicle accident that occured due to icy roads that were not salted or sanded and the first responder is not only chief of fire department but also state worker responsible for the road and he states the road is slippery and should have been sanded or salted?