After a brain injury, families are left with a unique responsibility to help their loved one cope and adapt to a new life. Lawyers quickly become a trusted resource for families. This post will discuss how a lawyer can go above and beyond to help family members cope after an accident that has left a loved one with a traumatic brain injury.
Brain injuries are devastating with lasting repercussions. The brain-injured individual must rely on family members for care and compassion. While family members want to everything in their power to help their loved ones recover, cope, and adapt to a new life, they’re often left on their own to figure it all out. As they juggle caring for the injured with personal injury litigation, they often turn to their lawyers for additional help. As a lawyer, you can do more than settle brain injury cases, you can go above and beyond to help family members after an accident has left a loved one with a traumatic brain injury. Here’s how.
Recognize that Surviving Family Members are Accident Victims
It’s easy to focus on the brain-injured individual. However, surviving spouses, children, and other family members have suffered a loss, too. When representing a brain-injured client, you have a whole family of clients to attend to. The surviving spouse is often overlooked and is likely suffering from distress, anxiety, guilt, and depression. In addition, the surviving spouse is expected to step into one or more unfamiliar new roles including: caregiver, decision maker, bread winner, and primary parent. The spouse may be ill-equipped to manage household chores, children, personal finance, full-time work, and round-the-clock care.
Serve as a Liaison
Lawyers aren’t social workers, but you may feel like one at times. As a lawyer who specializes in brain injuries, you likely encounter the same issues and concerns multiple times. As time goes on, your network will grow to include resources that can assist families such as counselors, home health aides, respite caregivers, and so on. Keep track of the people that have been the most beneficial to your clients and introduce them to new clients as needed.
After referring other professionals to family members, make sure to follow up. Did the referral do a fantastic job? If so, you can feel confident referring that person to future clients. If not, find out what happened and how it can be avoided in the future.
Hold Caregiver Support Workshops
If your firm has a lot of brain-injured clients, hold a series of caregiver support workshops. Not only is this a value-added service, caregivers need a break from litigation and their caregiving duties. Consider bringing in experts to discuss medical, financial, therapeutic, and recreational topics. You could have a different theme each month. Every so often, bring in a masseuse, hair stylist, or nail professional and pamper your clients. Chances are, they feel as if they don’t have time for personal luxuries.
Become a Brain Injury Prevention Advocate
In addition to providing competent legal representation and helping family members find the resources and relief they need, consider taking an active role in preventing brain injuries. You could do so in many ways. For example, you could offer to speak at local schools or senior centers. You could submit articles to various publications. You could join a professional brain injury association such as the Brain Injury Association. Organizations like these exist to prevent brain injuries, improve treatment, and improve the quality of life for those affected by a brain injury.
These are four ways that you can go above and beyond for your brain-injured clients and their families. You can make an important difference in their lives by recognizing their needs, matching them with resources, holding support groups, and becoming a vocal advocate. These four steps can help you get more satisfaction out of your job as well.
Guest post contributed by Kevin Krist, a Brain Injury Attorney based in Houston Texas. Kevin has been practicing law since he was 22 years old. He is one of the most qualified and experienced personal injury trial attorneys in Texas. For more information about brain injury, visit the Texas brain injury resources section of KevinKristLaw.com