Video Transcript

New York Brain Injury Lawyer Michael V. Kaplen Provides Practical Tips for Working with Brain Injury Victims

Michael V. Kaplen: In each and every aspect of representing a client who is a victim of traumatic brain injury, there are ethical challenges that must be considered and properly dealt with by the attorney.

First and foremost, your lawyer needs to understand that representing a person with a brain injury requires a great deal of patience and understanding of the unique issues that are faced by victims of brain trauma. He or she needs to understand that not every lawyer is right for a brain injury case because brain injury is very different from every other injury.

Here are some tips that your brain injury attorney needs to know in order to have a good working relationship with you:

  1. As an attorney, you must understand that you are working with your client because they have cognitive and often emotional problems– You must treat them with respect.
  2. Because a person with a traumatic brain injury may have memory deficits, concentration problems and is very afraid of the entire legal process, it is necessary that you allocate sufficient resources and have an appropriately trained staff to work with your client.

They must possess sufficient patience and understanding.

A lawyer representing a person with a brain injury needs to know that if not properly prepared and if not enough time is set aside, a meeting with a person who has a traumatic brain injury often results in a minimal amount being accomplished, frustration on the part of the client and family and frustration on the part of the lawyer.

As an attorney you need to keep in mind that your client may have:

  • difficulty in keeping up with a normal paced conversation
  • Is slow in making a response back to you
  • And may be impaired in their ability to read and comprehend documents that you are presenting to them

As a brain injury attorney, what can you do to assist your client?

  • Allow extra time for meetings with clients who have sustained brain trauma.
  • Avoid time pressures that may cause you to cut the meeting short and avoid needless distractions .
  • Slow down your pace of conversation and constantly repeat and reiterate what you have said to make sure your client has absorbed the information that you are presenting to them

Other helpful ideas that may facilitate a good client relationship include

  • Scheduling a meeting that only focuses on one topic at a time
  • Get feed back from your client to make sure that they are understanding what you said.
  • It is helpful to take frequent breaks and put your thoughts in writing so that your client can refer back to them when he or she leaves your office.
  • Finally, it is important that you ask someone that your client trust’s to accompany them to the meeting so that important information can be explained again later when your client may have a question about the meeting.

Hopefully these tips will make the representation of a brain injury survivor a better and more rewarding experience for both the client and the lawyer so that a person with a brain injury obtains the justice they deserve

You have the right to be treated with understanding and respect by your attorney. If you aren’t then you have the right to change attorneys.