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Legal Counsel

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Legal Counsel

As noted in the Funding and Advocacy section, there are many specialized rehab and support services in the community that are not paid for by the Government. Funds may be required to pay for services such as post acute rehabilitation, life long care and compensation for lost income and/or earning capacity.

In British Columbia, individuals who suffer injury as a result of someone else’s fault may be entitled to compensation. In these situations, it may be necessary to seek legal counsel, as litigation may be the only route to access the compensation required to pay for the necessary services.

Accessing funding through specialized legal representation

It is important that families of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) survivors seek the best specialized help at the earliest possible time. Prior to leaving the hospital, families should start to assemble a team of qualified experts.  This team may include specialized legal assistance.Lawyers with experience in the field of TBI litigation have unique professional experience specifically relating to rehabilitation and financial compensation. They act as advocates for the needs and interests of the survivor and their family (See also the Advocacy page). As most survivors of TBI have none (or a minimal amount) of their own insurance to cover these expenses, the key to obtaining these services is often through accessing a responsible third party’s insurance. Qualified legal counsel may be required to do this.

Lawyers in the field of TBI litigation may also have knowledge of neurology, neuroanatomy, neuroimaging, neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry, rehabilitation medicine and related disciplines. This enables them to understand the complex and unique needs of each person with a TBI. To ensure that survivors of TBI receive the best care, rehabilitation, lifelong support and compensation, it is recommended that the survivors (and their families) retain experienced lawyers with expertise in the field of TBI.

The following websites also provide valuable information and additional resources to help guide an individual when seeking legal assistance:

Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia resources

Canadian Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service

 


Guide for reviewing legal counsel

Top tips:

1.     Start as soon as you are able

2.     Search out specialized experts. Recovery from TBI is a complex life long process.

Though the following questions were designed to help select legal counsel, they can form the basis for the selection of a specialist in any related field. Not all professionals are equally qualified to provide services following brain injury. Search for and retain the best in each field.

For each of the criteria listed below, individuals are graded from 0 to 3. To guide your selection process you may want to base your decision on which legal counsel received the highest overall score.

 

1. RECOMMENDATIONS

Question: How would clients and families describe their experiences working with you? Are you willing to provide me with client and family references?

A specialist will have satisfied clients and family members and will be known to professionals specialising in brain injury work. If you would feel more comfortable with speaking to someone about the lawyer you are considering obtaining to represent you you must not hesitate to ask this question.

      0– poor service

      1– consistently provided good services (in the opinion of clients) over time, willing to provide references

      2– consistently provided excellent services over time, willing to provide references

      3– consistently provided services beyond the call of duty, willing to provide references

2. SPECIALIZATION

Question: What proportion of your present workload is brain injury?
The answer to this question will tell you whether or not the person you are interviewing is a specialist in brain injury and is capable of handling a serious injury case.

      0– none, just general personal injury

      1– does substantial brain injury work, but also other work, all in the personal injury field

      2– practice consists mostly of brain injury cases

      3– specializes in brain injury cases only and office is set up to provide service for the survivors and families and to be sensitive to their needs

 

3. PROVEN TRIAL EXPERIENCE

Question: How long have you been practising in the field of brain injury? How many brain injury cases are you currently handling?
The answer will give you a good idea of the individual's experience, and their familiarity with brain injury work, i.e. whether or not they deal with such cases on a regular basis.

      0– has been leading counsel for plaintiff in less than three Supreme Court brain injury trials

      1– has reported cases of brain injury litigation and more than 3 trials

      2– has cases involving substantial awards for brain injury , takes difficult cases and is reputable as superior lawyer

      3– has managed the most advanced and complex litigation for brain injuries, takes difficult cases, has extensive trial experience, reputation as excellent trial lawyer for plaintiff

 

4. ADVOCATE FOR REHABILITATION

Question: Describe your involvement in your client’s medical and rehabilitation care? 

It is necessary to advocate on behalf of clients to obtain the best care available. The first priority is the TBI survivors’ care and well-being. Your lawyer should assist in the recovery process however possible.

        – does not advocate for rehabilitation of the survivor

      1– is active in rehabilitation, which is understood to be a primary goal and service

      2– attends team meetings, support the families, is an active advocate within his/her professional boundaries, believes rehabilitation is fundamentally important to survivor and family

      3– devoted to rehabilitation, supports all professionals as needed and, if necessary, has paid rehabilitation out of his/her pocket

 

5. EXPERIENCE/INVOLVEMENT IN THE BRAIN INJURY COMMUNITY

Question: Describe your experience working within the brain injury community?

Level of involvement in the brain injury community reflects the counsel’s commitment to the field as well as their understanding of brain injury and related medical, social and legal issues.

      0– has few cases, new at the practice, never lectured, rarely attends brain injury conferences, has had no special training

      1– has had a number of cases over a number of years, attended brain injury conferences on a regular basis

      2– many cases over many years, regularly lecturing at brain injury conferences, attends brain injury conferences

      3– decades of experience involving brain injury cases, lectures at brain injury conferences, including national conference. Has published in area of brain injury litigation, has been involved in un-paid advocacy

 

6. SUPPORT FOR TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY CAUSES

Question: How do you and your firm support brain injury related causes and the brain injury community including local brain injury societies or related associations?
The members of these associations are often very helpful to people with brain injury and their families. Counsel’s involvement with them reflects their commitment to the brain injury field and the lifelong care of their clients.

      0– has never belonged to nor supported brain injury associations

      1– has provided some regular financial support, known to be interested in the causes of brain injury survivors, supports and espouses brain injury family values; understands the need for advocacy

      2– supports brain injury associations financially and non-financially, is an advocate for unfunded survivors and families

      3– long supporter of the cause of brain injury advocacy, brain injury associations, is known to be an advocate for unfunded survivors and families, provides financial and temporal and moral support for brain injury associations and their values

 

Additional questions/considerations

7. ACCESSIBILITY

Question: Can your clients reach you 24/7?  If not, what type of back-up do you provide?

A crisis can arise at any time and a TBI lawyer must be accessible to their clients at all times.

 

8. REPRESENTATION

Question: Does your firm work as a team on behalf of your clients?
Brain injury cases are all about teamwork. A team in the hospital, a team for rehabilitation, a team with family and health care experts, and a team in the law office. It is too complex and important to be a one person show, ever

It is helpful to note that specialized lawyers in this field typically do not charge for an initial consultation and investigation of these issues.

In the answers that you receive consider if the lawyer:

  • Listens to you and your concerns
  • Answers questions in a way that is easily understood

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Project launch made possible by:

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We acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia. 

Brainstreams.ca is an online education and networking site for the Brain Injury Community in B.C. and beyond.

The material on this web site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.