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| Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn

As a parent you do everything in your power to protect your child from harm, but what do you do if your child is hurt while at school or daycare? No parent can be expected to keep a constant vigil on their child and they have to put faith into the hands of professional caregivers. Most of the time no harm comes to a child under the supervision of a licensed caregiver, but children can still get hurt. If your child suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s negligence you will want to know what to expect.

How to Cope After A Child’s Brain Injury

Injuries to children, especially involving the brain, can be more serious then similar injuries to an adult. Children’s bodies are still developing and a traumatic brain injury could cause life long disabilities in the child’s functions, movement, speech or thought processes. If your child is injured your first step is to seek medical care. Talk to a doctor that specializes in healing children, especially one experienced in brain damage/injuries. The specialties are neurology and neurological psychiatry. Discuss all of the facts regarding treatment options, surgery, and rehabilitation. Design a treatment plan for your child to address the brain injury.

What Happens During a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuit?

While it may be overwhelming, if your child was injured due to someone else’s negligence you may want to seek help from a personal injury lawyer, as it may be the only vehicle to exact responsibility from a careless or negligent person or caregiver. A personal injury lawyer can seek damages for your child to help pay for their recovery and will analyze the potentially responsible parties, and the insurance sources-a major issue in the analysis. If the brain injury claim is denied the injury lawyer may advise you on the merit of filing a lawsuit in your capacity as parent or guardian for the minor child or a severely harmed person over 18 who can not represent themselves. This is known as “guardian ad litem.”

The first stage of the law suit, known as “discovery,” (including the filing of interrogatories) is where each party will will pleadings and attempt to collect information about each other. During this period your lawyer may request your family’s medical records, bank statements, and seek out medical practitioners who can address your child’s brain injury. Depositions will also likely occur during this stage. A deposition is where a witness provides answers to relevant questions under oath, but read the links provided for more information about the lawsuit process.

During the discovery process, your child may be required to undergo an Independent Medical Exam, or IME an evaluation about the extent of the brain damage/injury. In the IME the doctor is chosen by the other parties’ lawyers and any information collected can usually be used in the lawsuit.

Our law firm may adopt many different strategies to best represent a brain damage/injury victim. We may shoot one or more short videos of the child relfecting damage to speech or motor functions they are suffering from. Medical illustrations, important evidence on graphics, all sorts of techniques are adapted by a competent brain injury attorney–but each case is different.

Traumatic brain injuries can be life altering and often require lengthy medical care–the economic impact of nursing and professional care alone requires what is called a qualified "life care plan" in many cases also. A competent injury lawyer handling such a case must be familiar with how to develop the life care plan, and should be familiar with such forensic experts as well as forensic rehabilitation experts as well.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.



  1. Gravatar for Mike Bryant
    Mike Bryant

    This is great advice that only comes from experience and understanding. Hopefully, parents that suffer through this issue will understand it better.

  2. Gravatar for Mark Bello
    Mark Bello

    Rick: This is great advice. I have raised four healthy children and consider myself very fortunate. Coping with such a tragedy seems unimaginable, but all of us are just one accident away from having to do so. That is why I am so surprised at hostility shown toward victims in the tort reform debate. These things can happen to anyone, can't they?

    I visited your website and your firm, obviously, has years of experience dealing with these types of cases. What is missing from your thoughtful piece is advice about how family members or parents conduct themselves toward a brain damaged child/sibling. I presume it depends upon the severity of the injury, but can you comment on how a family interacts with a brain-injured child and whether there are any "coping mechanisms" that doctors or counselors recommend? Family members must certainly show a lot of patience; can you or your firm members offer any other recommendations for family members who have suffered the tragedy of having a loved one injured in this manner?

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