A Philadelphia Sensory Loss Lawyer Discusses Loss of the Five Senses – Part 3
This is a continuation of a series. View part two here.
The five senses are traditionally thought of as sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. The loss of even part of one of our senses can be devastating. How much moreso when the loss is total and/or to multiple senses. Perhaps the sense of taste is the one that most people would choose, if they had to lose one. But think how life would be so much less full without the ability to truly enjoy a good meal. In this series of blogs, I examine paralysis, spinal cord injury and the sensory losses that accompany this type of injury.
Hearing Injury Cases Following Brain Trauma
Trauma to the brain can also result in hearing loss, which can be temporary or permanent. Trauma can cause the cochlea inside the ear to be concussed with the tearing of supporting membranes. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and hearing loss are two of the most commonly reported side effects of a TBI (traumatic brain injury). Other problems can include normal situations seeming unbearably loud; difficulty filtering one set of sounds from background noise; or inability to recognize the meanings of certain sounds.
Clearly, if a client is suffering from physical difficulties such as balance problems resulting from brain injury these problems can be further exacerbated by hearing loss. It is therefore critical that such clients are examined by an specialist audiologist to assess the extend of any hearing loss following a brain injury.
For every kind of injury claim involving Tinnitus, you need to know how to effectively prove your damages to the jury. This will affect the jury’s evaluation of the damages.
There are special ways to prove to the jury what the Tinnitus sufferer suffers. One client had incessant ringing in his ears after a car accident. The American Tinnitus Association offers a CD called “Sounds of Tinnitus.” They cost $10. Tinnitus has different sounds. The client will likely find what he or she hears on the CD similar. Go to www.ata.org to sample the Sounds of Tinnitus.
I sent one of these discs to my client and asked her to identify the sounds she hears. I also sent it to the insurance claim adjuster, indicating the sounds on the CD that my client identified, along with a settlement proposal.
The claims adjuster was impressed with the CD and concerned about a large jury verdict. The jury would be able to hear what my client hears, which would help them fully appreciate the effect the accident had on him. It is always a good idea to try to place the jury in the client’s shoes, to hear what the client hears. As a result, the jury will be more likely to return a large verdict. The case settled successfully, and I believe, it was because of this disc.
It is necessary to authenticate the CD, that is, to prove that the sounds accurately represent what the client hears. This is simple. During the doctor’s deposition, I played the disc and the doctor agreed that it was accurate. The client also testified at her deposition that this is what she hears.
Another technique to get this type of case settled is to download the Emergency Broadcasting tone we have all heard on the television. To hear this sound, click here.
That’s the sound this my client heard all day and all night. By placing this sound on a loop and playing it for the jury, the jury would literally got into the head of my client. In closing argument to the jury I asked what this was worth in dollars and cents. I stated, “This tone is the first thing Jill hears in the morning, and the last thing she hears at night. More often than not, it’s what she hears all night as she struggles for relief in sleep. Her ears will stop ringing when her heart stops beating, and then, but only then, will she have peace and quiet for the first time since Mr. Jones rear ended her.”
There is no cure for Tinnitus. Anyone with Tinnitus or any neuro-otolaryngologist will tell you it is a serious injury. It is more than the deficit of hearing that makes it such a serious injury. The loss of quiet, the inability to read a good book, watch television, have a quiet conversation, fall asleep, etc. all figure into the computation. There have been cases reported of suicide secondary to Tinnitus.
So don’t underestimate the value of a case involving Tinnitus. These techniques are quite effective in producing large settlements and jury verdicts. Seven figure settlements are possible.
Click here to read part four.
Click here to read part one.