Alberta Brain Injury Lawyer

This video features Steve Grover, a Personal Injury attorney based in Alberta, Canada.

Why Brain Injuries Are Invisible

Video Transcript:

Steve Grover: 

Unfortunately a lot of TBI, traumatic brain injuries are missed in the emergency room, and so that is a challenge.

Rob Rosenthal: 

So some injuries are very noticeable while others, like a brain injury, sometimes called the invisible injury, and does that make it harder for you to get help and where do you turn? We're gonna find out right now. Because we're gonna ask those questions on this episode of Ask the Lawyer. My guest is Calgary lawyer Steve Grover. I wanna remind you right off the top, if you'd like to ask Steve questions about your situation, it's simple, go to askthelawyers.com, click the button up at the top that says Ask a Lawyer, it'll walk you right through the very simple process, or you can call the phone number that you'll see on the screen during our conversation. Steve, good to see you as always. Thank you for helping us out.

Steve Grover: 

Hi, Rob. Nice to see you again.

Rob Rosenthal: 

So I mentioned that a brain injury is sometimes called the invisible injury, can you explain that to us a little bit?

Steve Grover: 

Yeah, traumatic brain injuries are very interesting. Obviously, if you have a fracture of your hand or your wrist, there's x-rays or MRIs that can show the fracture, obviously, if you'll know the pain right away, if you have a fractured hand or wrist, unfortunately, traumatic brain injuries, they are called the invisible injury, because obviously the damage happens within your head. They're not so detectable right away. Obviously, they are a serious concern, obviously, we know what the NFL... With CTE, in the development of concussion protocol in the NFL, the invisible injuries are becoming more paramount now, people are more educated about it, but unfortunately, a concussion or brain injury is called the invisible injury because it's not so noticeable, sometimes it doesn't show up on diagnostic imaging, like in MRI. And so those are concerns we have on a TBI, especially with the insurance companies, if you're suing them, they just question if there's there really is a concussion or a traumatic brain injury.

Rob Rosenthal: 

You mentioned that sometimes they're not diagnosed right away. What happens there? Does that make things more difficult as far as if somebody has a personal injury case?

Steve Grover: 

Yeah, unfortunately, there are statistics in the United States, there's been studies done where 56% of brain injuries are missed at the emergency room, obviously, you know when you go in there, the doctors are concerned about if there's a fracture or if you have any bruising, if you have neck pain, unless there's a serious fracture, your skull, unfortunately, a lot of TBI, traumatic brain injuries are missed in the emergency room, and so that is a challenge on taking on these cases, and so it's developing the case properly to prove that to the other side that your client has a traumatic brain injury.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Tell me a little bit, in your experience, what are some of the challenges that someone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury faces, what is their life like after that?

Steve Grover: 

There's a lot of challenges involved in a traumatic brain injury, and that's probably why I enjoy the area. I've taken the time to go to seminars, read a lot of papers, fortunately for me, a lot of my side of my family, they're medical doctors I've asked my family members about concussion protocol, how to diagnose a concussion. So it takes patience, it takes time to develop the case, obviously the most important thing, and a concussion, like you mentioned, it's invisible injury, credibility, the plaintiff, the person that's injured is key on developing a the case, you have to send the client out for diagnostic testing, sometimes an MRI will show a lesion on the brain frontal lobe, which shows that you have executive function deficiencies. A lot of times, MRIs will come back normal. So the insurance company for the other side will say, Hey, there's no objective evidence of an injury, but on top of that, neuropsych testing, neuropsychologists are hired by our office to test people on their cognitive abilities, and if there was a traumatic brain injuries, there are ongoing residual impact that's affecting them in their lives and in their daily work also.

Rob Rosenthal: 

As far as the residual impact, I would think that it also would have a huge impact on the family, caregivers of someone with a traumatic brain injury. Is that something that could be figured in when it comes to compensation?

Steve Grover: 

Yeah, I mean, the interesting point is I never have a client coming in to say, Hey, Steve, I got a traumatic brain injury, if someone comes in my office and says that right away, first of all, I'll question if... Do you have a concussion? So usually the person that is the injured party that has a concussion, like traumatic brain injury, they don't know that they have the injury, they think, Hey, I'm acting normal, but then it's important to talk to friends, family, co-workers, people that knew before and after the injured party so they can attest, Hey, Paul was fine, and now he has irritability and he loses his temper all the time, or... Paul and I used to go skiing every week and then I haven't seen the guy in two years since the accident, it's important to have the medical evidence, but I think more importantly, traumatic brain injury, what makes it so difficult for lawyers to take them on is you have to go out and talk to his these friends, you have to talk to his these family, you have to get these lay witness statements. I mean, that's all part of building the traumatic brain injury, and sometimes those lay witness statements from the family member like the wife is gonna be more impactful on the case in court than a neuropsych assessment.

Rob Rosenthal: 

When it comes to figuring damages. I think a lot of people might then go immediately think of medical bills, but are there are other types of damages that can be sought in these kind of cases and maybe people don't think about it right away? 

Steve Grover: 

Yeah, there's a lot of heads of damages in Canada and Alberta that we can present to the court to get reasonable compensation for our injured party. Number one is pain and suffering. Those are called general damages. Unfortunately in Canada, they're capped at $412,000. That's the most you can ever get. Obviously, if there's a past loss of income, we can recover the loss of income from the day of the accident to the date of settlement or trial of the action, and one of the big cases on these cases, our future loss of income or loss of earning capacity. Is this gonna affect the ability of the person to have their job before or maybe they can't... They don't have the capacity to go back to work, and then obviously future cost of care is a big thing, future cost of care is the goal is to give the person the tools medically so they can function like they did before the accident, and that may involve home care that may involve additions or making changes to the house for the person if they have a severe brain injury or moderate brain injury, going for counseling in the future so they can manage their concussion symptoms and try and get some normal function as they had before the accident.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Is this the sort of thing, handling a case that has a traumatic brain injury, is this the sort of thing that any lawyer... Someone could go to just any lawyer and have them help them with this, or is it really important to get somebody that has experience and knowledge?

Steve Grover: 

I think traumatic brain injury cases are a specialized area of personal injury now, just like trucking cases are just like motorcycle cases are. I don't think any lawyer could just handle a traumatic brain injury, I know myself, when I went out this... To this area over 20 years ago, I read a lot of books, I went to a lot of seminars, both in Canada and the US, talked a lot of doctors, I'm always educating myself on the changes medically or diagnostic imaging that's changing in the area. So I would recommend if unfortunately, someone is injured in an accident and they do have a traumatic brain injury, do your research... All lawyers are not the same, like not all doctors are the same, you're not gonna go to... If you want plastic surgery, you're not gonna go to a family GP to have your nose job, you're gonna go to a plastic surgeon, pay the money, but do your research, find out if the lawyer you're looking at or the lawyers you're looking at have specialized area, have training, have they handled these kind of cases before, 'cause they are complicated and they take time to develop properly, you have to have patience as a lawyer too.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Lots of really helpful information as always, Steve. Thank you for answering our questions, I appreciate it.

Steve Grover: 

Great, thank you for having me, Rob. I hope you have a great day.

Rob Rosenthal: 

That's gonna do it for this episode of Ask the Lawyer. My guest has been Calgary lawyer Steve Grover. Remember, if you'd like to ask Steve questions of your own, go to askthelawyers.com, click the button up in at the top that says Ask a Lawyer it'll walk you right through the process, and doesn't cost you anything to ask your questions. Thanks for watching. I'm Rob Rosenthal for Ask the Lawyers.

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