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A Miami Attorney’s Obligations When a Client Has a Traumatic Brain Injury


A man holding his bandaged head in pain after having being diagnosed with a brain injury.

Lawyers are bound by certain ethical obligations when they interact with their clients. Some of these include working to achieve a resolution that protects their client’s best interests and not promising a specific outcome. When a lawyer works with a client who has suffered a traumatic brain injury, it raises questions about a lawyer’s legal and ethical obligations.

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury in Miami, a lawyer can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Understanding a lawyer’s obligations in this situation helps clients and their loved ones identify that a lawyer has their best interests at heart.

How a Traumatic Brain Injury Impacts the Lawyer-Client Relationship

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is common. Personal injury lawyers often handle cases that involve helping clients recover compensation after suffering this type of injury. However, the impact of traumatic brain injury (TBI) varies by individual. It can be difficult for a client to navigate the process of seeking brain injury compensation.

A client living with a TBI may experience a variety of symptoms. Some of the most common include:

  • Memory loss
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty with logical thinking
  • Issues with decision-making
  • Impulse control

A lawyer’s job is to explain a client’s options and the possible outcomes. When a client struggles to recall past conversations or think logically about the long-term impact of their legal choices, it raises ethical questions about how a lawyer should proceed.

If a client’s ability to make sound decisions about finances and legal proceedings is compromised due to the injury, a lawyer might not be in the right to do whatever the client is asking.

A Lawyer’s Obligations When a Client Has a TBI

Representing a client with a traumatic brain injury places certain legal obligations on an attorney. One primary question lies at the center of this type of lawyer-client relationship: does the client have the capacity to make their own decisions?

A lawyer’s primary obligation is to ensure that their client meets the legal and ethical criteria for making these choices. From there, a client with a brain injury has all the same rights as any other client — but a lawyer might need to make certain accommodations to ensure a client gets the representation they deserve.

In such cases, a lawyer has the following responsibilities:

Determine Mental Capacity

When a potential new client has suffered a brain injury, a lawyer’s first job is to ascertain whether they are mentally fit to make their own decisions. A lawyer is ethically obligated to consider the client’s injuries and take appropriate action.

Ignoring brain injuries that impact a client’s ability to make choices in their own best interests is an ethical violation on the part of a lawyer.

An attorney may need to assess the client’s ability to think logically and recall events and conversations. When a lawyer doubts a client’s mental capacity, they may work with a doctor to get a medical professional’s opinion.

Take Protective Action

A lawyer has the responsibility to protect the client they are representing.

If a lawyer assesses that a client with a brain injury is mentally sound and capable of making their own choices, protective action simply means protecting the client by acting in their best interests. As in any case, this would mean working to build a case that achieves the desired outcome for the client.

Protective action can be far more complicated if a lawyer believes the client does not exhibit sound mental capacity. In most cases, taking protective action would entail working with the client, the client’s family members, or the court to designate a legal guardian or power of attorney.

Strive for Normalcy

Regardless of a client’s mental capacity, a lawyer must strive for normalcy in the relationship. Treating a client with respect, communicating fully, and fighting for the case outcome they deserve all fall under the concept of normalcy in an attorney-client relationship.

A mentally sound client may still struggle with the effects of a brain injury. It’s a lawyer’s responsibility to accommodate a client’s needs. This may involve summarizing past conversations or taking the time to help a client fully understand legal options and possible ramifications.

Speak with a Miami Brain Injury Attorney Today

The experienced brain injury attorneys at Schrier Law Group understand deeply the ethical obligation to fully accommodate a client’s needs after a brain injury. We always strive for courtesy, professionalism, compassion, and effective communication.

Contact Schrier Law Group today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Miami brain injury attorney.