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Why hasn't my attorney already filed my brain injury claim?

If you've suffered a traumatic brain injury, you've got a lot of frustrating things to deal with—so it doesn't help if you're also frustrated or confused about why it seems to be taking so long for your attorney to actually move forward on your case. It makes sense that he or she should at least get the claim filed already, right?

Not quite.

It might help ease your frustrations to understand that if your attorney isn't rushing to file your case, he or she probably has a very good reason for waiting. In fact, rushing to file your claim could actually hurt your chances of being fully compensated in the future because of the unique nature of TBIs and how the recovery from one progresses.

Most people who suffer brain injuries see the most improvement in their condition within the first six months after the injury. There's usually a considerable slowdown in progress after that, even though the typical TBI victim will continue to see improvements for up to two years after being injured. There are no hard-and-fast rules, however, with TBIs because each person's injury and recovery is unique. Some symptoms of a TBI—like problems with impulse control or depression—may not even manifest themselves right away. That makes patience important when it comes to fully understanding the depths of someone's injury.

Your attorney is also waiting for you to reach a state of maximum medical improvement, or the point where you're no longer expected to get significantly better. It doesn't mean that your need for ongoing medical care has ceased, however. Instead, it's the starting point your attorney may need to adequately put a value on your claim. It will help show what type of ongoing medical care you'll need and what limitations you'll likely have to endure for the rest of your life. Your attorney can use this to calculate out how much to ask for in damages.

Part of your attorney's job is to try to maximize the amount of money that you receive for your injuries. Your attorney isn't being lax by not filing your claim. Instead, he or she is protecting your interests by avoiding a rush to a premature settlement during the early and most promising stages of recovery after a TBI—because that amount of money may turn out to be far less than you need to secure your future.

Source: Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center, "Understanding TBI: Part 3 - The Recovery Process," Thomas Novack, PhD and Tamara Bushnick, PhD in collaboration with the MSKTC, accessed Nov. 22, 2016

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