In the legal process involving proving negligence, collecting information about fault, and calculating damages, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the underlying issue: someone’s life was turned upside down–often permanently. Our Chicago brain injury attorneys appreciate that, at the end of the day, our work in the civil justice system is about fairness. The underlying principle of justice is that, where possible, those hurt by the misconduct of others receive redress from those parties for the damage. In that way, those affected can be given the best chance of getting their lives back together.
Often, however, that isn’t possible. That is particularly true when it comes to traumatic brain injury. External physical injuries often heal, like broken bones. Even severe physical harm, such as those involving permanent paralysis, do not fundamentally alter the person affected. Brain injuries, conversely, sometimes seem to strike at the very essence of who someone was–their personality, humor, wit, and engagement with life. It is crucial to understand these effects and include it as part of the overall assessment of the damage caused by these injuries.
Perhaps the best way to understand this issue is to hear about it first-hand from those actually affected. For example, as explained in a recent Aiken Standard story, a new book has just been published by a man following a traumatic brain injury. The article explains that the those meeting the victim for the first time might not have any idea that he suffered a brain injury. But his family knows. That’s because the man has very little recollection of life before the injury–suffered in a car accident in 2005. Before the accident he had just taken the Bar exam and was scheduled to start a new job as an attorney. But that all changed. He has no memory of the accident and only fragments of memories from any time before 2005.
He has recently published his autobiography on the tale–called “The Detours.” The man eloquently explains, “When I create the past me, that person in many ways was destroyed and will never exist anymore. But I’ve learned my capabilities now and about growing up again. I’m not a finished product, but I’ve seen a lot of growth.”
The book recounts how the man was driving in the rain when he hydroplaned, sending his van flipping multiple times off the road. He was fortunate to survive at all. He needed to spend three weeks in a trauma unit before moving to a rehabilitation facility. At first he was in bad shape, without the ability to walk, talk, or form any memories.
Over time that changed. After ten weeks of key recovery it was almost as if he was back to normal. But, he wasn’t. He never would be exactly as before. For one, he soon learned while working part time a law firm that it was almost impossible to practice as he previously intended–he couldn’t remember details of client cases.
He notes of this difficult time that he “realized this was my new direction. I needed to align my goals with reality and begin to accept my present self as what I wanted to become.”
Our Chicago brain injury lawyers encourage all those interested to read more personal stories about those affected by these injuries. Lawsuits and settlements are important to ensure accountability and resources for recovery, but dealing with these injuries are long-term battles. That should never be forgotten.
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