Siporin drew from our firm’s experience in obtaining a $3.3 million jury verdict a few years ago for a client with a severe concussion that, unlike some, hadn’t resolved within a few weeks or even a few months. Permanent damage on the cellular level was causing ongoing symptoms.
“I talked about the way we were able to show that and defeat the defenses,” Siporin said. “You have to obtain evidence from corollary and secondary sources in addition to physical exam findings. All of these are pieces of the puzzle. A brain injury specialist can then put the pieces together to determine there’s neuronal damage to the brain, and that it’s in this same area where the strike to the head occurred.”
Our firm’s evidence for this case included the before-and-after changes to our client, as demonstrated by videos and testimonials, neuropsychological testing, and smell and taste tests, which added up to the conclusion that the damage had not healed and would likely be permanent, Siporin said. “MRIs and CTs are negative because the science is not quite there yet to show the damage at that level.”
But even though the evidence we were able to piece together provided a reliable diagnosis that while the traumatic brain injury was relatively mild, even a mild injury can have a severe impact on the client’s quality of life, Siporin said. He spoke to ITLA about the techniques to use in different types of cases to maximize the value, such as pointing out that the plaintiff had tried to work for a couple of weeks and found he simply couldn’t do it.
The defense claimed that it was just a bump to the head and that the plaintiff was “a faker, a malingerer, and a drug addict and alcoholic,” Siporin said. “Then the defense expert was saying, ‘No, he’s faking it.’ Did this patient fool all of these board-certified neurologists? How did you factor in all these pieces of the puzzle into your assessment that it’s faking? How did you factor in the positive physical exam findings that are correlated with a brain injury—that you can’t make up—for your diagnosis of malingering?”
Presented with those pushbacks, Siporin said, the defense expert ended up looking like a “hired gun. When you build a case and obtain all that evidence, it is effective in showing the defense expert was a hired gun, and that the client’s injury is real. That’s how you can maximize the result for the client.”