Malpractice Attorney Specializing in Brain Injury

By: Stephen Doroghazi

This article serves as a reference tool for anyone in search of a medical malpractice attorney or an attorney who specializes in traumatic brain injury cases. By way of background, my wife, Cynthia Paddock Doroghazi, has written a book, Searching for the Open Door: A Woman's Struggle for Survival after a Traumatic Brain Injury.

Her book chronicles how medical malpractice caused her traumatic brain injury and how medical rehabilitation ultimately leads to her financial rehabilitation and spiritual rehabilitation. Her physical recovery from her traumatic brain injury through intense physical rehabilitation enabled her return to her graduate studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. In thinking about her traumatic brain injury case for medical malpractice, it occurred to me that the concept of suing for malpractice, hiring a lawyer and going to trial is foreign to most people who suffered a traumatic brain injury or those who care for a traumatic brain injury patient.

Because my own law practice has absolutely nothing to do with traumatic brain injury medical malpractice or personal injury, I am able to give unbiased advice. In other words, I have no economic agenda behind offering suggestions to benefit a victim of a traumatic brain injury on how to hire an attorney to pursue those responsible for causing a traumatic brain injury or any other type of malpractice. The ability to hire a competent attorney to deal with insurance companies and/or those responsible for causing a traumatic brain injury is crucial because virtually no one will admit to fault in causing a traumatic brain injury and, insurance companies simply are not in the business of paying claims to traumatic brain injury patients or those who care for the patient who suffered the traumatic brain injury.

There are a number of specialty organizations, such as the American Association for Justice (AAJ), which offer online directories of their membership. Most attorneys with significant personal or traumatic brain injury practices are members of AAJ. However, bear in mind that most legal organizations are open to all attorneys and membership means only that the attorney has paid the membership fee.

The same caveat applies to use of online directories. A number of commercial online directories claim to screen their attorneys, or claim to list only highly qualified attorneys. Most are not being completely forthright on this point. Regardless of their promises, most on-line directories will list any personal injury or traumatic brain injury attorney who pays the required fee, and there is absolutely no guarantee that the listed attorneys are qualified to handle your case. Somewhat apart from this same issue are websites on the Internet, which look informational, but are in fact owned by law firms. Be very wary of any "traumatic brain injury information" site, which lists law firms or offers lawyer referrals, particularly if it does not make obvious the identity of its sponsor.

Generally speaking, television and radio advertisements are also a very bad way to find a personal injury or traumatic brain injury attorney. Many advertisements are paid for by referral agencies, which collect large numbers of calls and then divide them up between member attorneys. Even when the advertisements are paid for by a law firm, often many of the cases are simply referred out to other firms who share the enormous cost of advertising. Many times, the attorney with the big advertising campaign will not even have an office near you. Unless your traumatic brain injury case is worth a lot of money, you may well find that you are quickly referred to a different firm or that you cannot get much attention for your traumatic brain injury case.

Your best bet for finding a competent malpractice attorney to handle your traumatic brain injury case, is through something known as "referrals". Probably the best way to determine which personal injury attorney (or one who professes to specialize in traumatic brain injury cases), is the best for your case is to consult with an attorney you trust, asking him or her to give you the name of one who specializes in traumatic brain injury cases. If you do not know any attorneys, ask your friends for names of attorneys they trust, and then ask that attorney for a referral to an attorney, who specializes in traumatic brain injury cases. It is important that they give you the name of an attorney, who specializes in medical malpractice and/or traumatic brain injury cases. Many of the best personal injury attorneys (or those who specialize in traumatic brain injury cases), do little or no advertising. They are referred by other attorneys, due to their reputation for doing good work and getting excellent results for the client with the traumatic brain injury and/or care givers of the one who suffered the traumatic brain injury. You should also keep in mind that when it comes to retaining a malpractice attorney (or one specializing in traumatic brain injury), bigger does not mean better. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times during my twenty-three years of developing cases for trial, attorneys from large firms have attempted to negotiate a settlement, saying that the case would ultimately be turned over to trial counsel in their firm if the case cannot be resolved without trial.

In most cases, that trial counsel was just another attorney in a big firm representing the client. The actual attorney assigned the case had, at best, an incomplete comprehension of the very specialized practice area and could not provide the best representation for his/her client.

When you are seeking a personal injury attorney for your traumatic brain injury case, recognize that most personal injury attorneys do not practice medical malpractice law, let alone specialize in traumatic brain injury cases. Just as you would seek a specialized doctor to provide a special type of medical care, the practice of medical malpractice law (with specialization in traumatic brain injury), is very specialized and in retaining an attorney, it is almost always best to look for an attorney or law firm, which has significant experience in handling cases involving traumatic brain injury.

Furthermore, within the area of medical malpractice, certain law firms specialize in particular types of injuries or causes of action. There are personal injury law firms, which focus primarily on burn injury or traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. There are personal injury firms, which concentrate primarily on car accidents, construction accidents, or litigation over defective products. You will benefit from asking whether a lawyer you consult has experience with your type of traumatic brain injury case before you make your hiring decision, and do not hesitate to ask that lawyer for a list of previous case summaries that have the same or similar factual traumatic brain injury patterns as your traumatic brain injury case. Always keep in mind, however, that the attorney/client privilege generally precludes an attorney from furnishing references by name, but not by reference to similar or common facts to your specific traumatic brain injury case.

Personal injury attorneys (and those who handle traumatic brain injury matters), almost always accept cases on a contingent fee basis. From your point of view, this means that if they win your traumatic brain injury case, they receive a percentage of the award as their fee. Conversely, if they lose your traumatic brain injury case, they do not receive an attorney fee.

You do need to keep in mind that attorney fees are different from costs, and you may be responsible for certain costs associated with your traumatic brain injury case, such as the filing fee for your lawsuit, even if you lose your traumatic brain injury case. While this is rarely an issue, as most civil litigation settles short of trial, you should clarify the issue of costs with your attorney before signing any retainer agreement related to your traumatic brain injury case.

For a more thorough discussion on how to hire a malpractice attorney and what questions you should be asking perspective attorneys related to your traumatic brain injury case, click on:

HYPERLINK "" 

To learn more about Cynthia Paddock Doroghazi (and her traumatic brain injury), or read blurbs from notable authors like Jim Stovall and Francis Fukuyama, or a sample chapter from Searching for the Open Door: A Woman's Struggle for Survival After a Traumatic Brain Injury, go to:

HYPERLINK 


Legal Matters
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Legal Matters
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles