Legal teams and case managers supporting clients with head and brain injury should be aware of the many ways the injury can adversely affect the quality of a person’s life, and the expertise a skilled brain injury medico-legal expert can bring to a case.

A head injury can be classified in several ways, ranging from mild and temporary to catastrophic and permanent. However, regardless of how a traumatic or acquired brain injury is categorised, it is always likely to result in some level of impairment for the individual.

A brain injury can affect nearly every aspect of a person’s cognitive, perceptual, emotional, behavioral, and physical functions. It can alter the individual’s ability to see, speak, taste, swallow, smell, move, touch, express ideas, plan, and execute tasks.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Traumatic brain injuries refer to the severe disruption in brain function resulting from a sudden blow, jolt, or penetrating head injury. 

Severe traumatic brain injury often occurs in accidents like falls, motor vehicle collisions, sports-related incidents, or assaults. The external force applied to the head causes the brain to move rapidly within the skull, leading to damage such as bruising, bleeding, or tearing of brain tissue.

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

Brain injuries that occur after birth and are not congenital or hereditary in nature are referred to as acquired brain injuries (ABIs). ABIs can stem from various causes, extending beyond traumatic incidents. These injuries can result from birth injuries, leading to neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, infections such as meningitis and encephalitis, exposure to toxins, and other non-traumatic events.

ABIs can be caused by strokes, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or its protective membranes (meningitis), as well as brain injuries resulting from medical conditions like tumours or degenerative diseases. Each of these causes presents unique challenges and implications for individuals who experience ABIs.

Hypoxic & Anoxic brain injury

The brain requires a continuous supply of oxygen, and without it, it can only survive for up to six minutes unless its supply is restored. Hypoxic and anoxic brain injury occurs when there is partial or complete deprivation of oxygen to the brain, leading to death and damage to brain cells. Hypoxia and anoxia are used interchangeably, but hypoxia is when the oxygen supply to the organ is lessened, and anoxia refers to the complete absence of the oxygen supply to an organ.

These types of brain injuries can happen due to various causes, such as near-drowning incidents, carbon monoxide poisoning, choking, suffocation, blood loss, or medical emergencies that result in decreased oxygen supply to the brain, such as cardiac arrest – the most common cause of hypoxic brain injury. Mild cerebral hypoxia may occur in cases of asthma, ascent after deep diving, and at high altitudes.

Expert Witness Brain Injury

Find a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury experts providing expert witness reports by searching our directory.

Brain injury expert  witness

What kind of legal cases may require an expert in traumatic brain injury or ABI?

Given the intricate nature of traumatic brain injury and acquired brain injury, it’s crucial to have a qualified medical expert witness. These experts have specialised knowledge and insights into the nature of traumatic brain injuries, their impacts on individuals, and the potential long-term consequences of such injuries.

A medical expert witness with specialised knowledge in neurology, critical care medicine, or emergency medicine may be required to assess the medical aspects of brain injuries in legal cases. This could include evaluating the cause, extent of brain damage, and long-term effects on the affected individual’s functional abilities and quality of life.

Our panel of expert witnesses for brain injury at NRC includes Consultants in Rehabilitation Medicine, Spinal Injury Consultants, Clinical Psychologists, Neurologists, and more.

Brain Injury Clinical Negligence Cases

Allegations of medical malpractice relating to the diagnosis, treatment, or management of brain injuries may necessitate the expertise of a medical expert witness in brain injuries.

The expert witness can provide insight on whether the healthcare provider adhered to the appropriate standard of care, identified and managed the brain injury effectively, and if any negligence or errors occurred that resulted in harm to the patient.

Personal or Catastrophic Injury Cases

Brain injuries resulting from incidents such as motor vehicle accidents, slips and falls, sports-related injuries, or workplace accidents may necessitate an expert in brain injury to evaluate the cause, severity, and long-term effects of the injury.

The expert witness can offer views on the standard of care, causation, and prognosis, which could be critical in determining liability, damages, and compensation in personal injury cases.

Assessment of Mental Capacity

Legal cases involving individuals with brain injuries may necessitate an expert to evaluate the individual’s cognitive capacity, functional abilities, and need for support or accommodations in decision-making or financial matters, through neuropsychological assessment and the expertise of a leading head injury expert.

Life Expectancy, Care Planning and Cost Projections

Brain injury cases may involve estimating the future medical, neurological rehabilitation, and support needs of the individual over their estimated lifespan.

Through expert witness reports, our brain injury specialists can provide invaluable insights into the anticipated medical care and neurorehabilitation therapy, assistive devices, and other support requirements, and provide cost projections for life care planning purposes, which can be crucial in determining the appropriate compensation or damages in a legal case.

How Do I Find Brain Injury Expert Witnesses?

Selecting a medical expert witness for brain injury cases is a critical step in building a robust legal case. A medical expert witness can offer valuable insights and opinions based on their expertise and experience, which can help bolster the legal arguments and increase the chances of a successful outcome in a brain injury case.

Seek a medical expert witness who possesses specific qualifications and extensive experience in brain injury cases. Brain injuries can be complex and multifaceted, requiring a deep understanding of neurology, psychiatric disorders, clinical neuropsychology, and related fields. A specialised expert witness with significant experience in diagnosing, treating, and managing brain injuries can offer valuable insights and opinions on the medical aspects of the case.

Consider the legal experience of the medical expert witness. Have they testified as an expert witness in previous legal cases, particularly in cases involving brain injuries?

The brain injury specialists at NRC Medical Experts assess, evaluate, and produce high-quality court reports and expert witness testimonies to aid legal teams in building the best case for your client.

What Kind of Neurological Rehabilitation is Possible Following a Brain Injury?

Every brain injury is unique in its effects and presentation in a person, so neurorehabilitation must be personalised to ensure the individual’s needs are fully met. The recovery process can be lengthy and challenging.

Neurorehabilitation may require the input of speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and nursing, depending on the symptoms presented by the patient and the part of the brain affected.

It will almost always require the input of a specialist brain injury case manager to coordinate this complicated and intricate rehabilitation process. All of these efforts collectively play crucial roles in minimising the long-term impact of brain injury and enhancing the quality and independence of a person’s life.

What kind of impact can a brain injury have?

A brain injury can cause difficulties in decision-making, understanding others, and processing information. Symptoms can include headaches, pain, seizures, mood disorders, language disorders, paralysis, sleep disorders, and loss of consciousness.

Even individuals who have no physical impairment may be profoundly affected cognitively, such as being unable to live an independent life or maintain personal relationships. Damage to specific parts of the brain can also lead to socially inappropriate behaviours and moods such as aggression, psychosis, impatience, irritability, and anxiety. Some people experience anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their injury and the trauma of adapting to a new way of life.

Many patients suffer multiple traumas, further complicating the recovery from a traumatic brain injury. Co-morbidities might include spinal cord injuries and peripheral nerve injuries, also requiring rehabilitation.

Instruct a Brain Injury Expert Witness

The brain injury specialists at NRC Medical Experts assess, evaluate and produce high-quality court reports and expert witness testimony to assist legal teams in building the best case for clients with head injury. Through NRC Clinical Practice, our specialist rehabilitation consultants ensure individuals living with the impact of acquired and traumatic brain injuries receive the neurorehabilitation they need to thrive.

To instruct us or learn more about appointing an expert witness for your case, request a call back or contact us directly.