If you practice personal injury law long enough you will soon enough become numb to some of the defenses insurance companies and corporations take in order to minimize “damages” in catastrophic injury cases. One of my favorites was a defense an attorney undertook in a medical malpractice case gone awry. The defense attorney actually stated that during the surgery in which the doctor committed malpractice, they had found signs of pancreatic cancer and since our “client” was going to die anyway the malpractice actually ended his suffering sooner. I have also heard a defense attorney claim that an injury victim in a coma who the doctors determined to be “vegetative” could feel no pain therefore he was not entitled to pain and suffering damages.
With that in mind, foxnews.com is reporting that Martin Monti and his group of researchers at the Medical Research Council Cognitive and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, England have found that “scientists have detected glimmers of awareness in some vegetative brain-injury patients and have even communicated with one of them”
I will note that the researchers’ findings are limited to those victims who suffer a traumatic brain injury, not victims of oxygen deprivation.
Nonetheless, these findings are astounding and ground breaking not only from a health perspective but also from a personal injury perspective. Pain and suffering damages are something defense attorneys typically try vehemently to diminish if someone dies quickly or are unable to “comprehend” what is occurring such as in the case of a mentally handicapped individual.
These findings shed new light on the concept of pain and suffering in catastrophic brain injury cases. I welcome the opportunity to read the full findings of the researchers in the coming months.