Malpractice Lawyer Mellino Asks People to Be Mindful of TBI Victims November 25, 2010.

One of the main problems with traumatic brain injury is that no one is able to see it. It may manifest itself in many ways, including slurred speech.

"Over the years that I’ve been practicing law, I’ve seen a fair number of traumatic brain injury victims. Each one has their particular story and each one manifests their injury in a different way. Typically speaking, some of the similarities amongst victims are loss of short-term memory, cognitive impairment, slowed reaction time, inability to make quick decisions, inability to express themselves and for some, slurred speech that may sound like they are drunk," said Christopher Mellino. Mellino is a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer of the Mellino Law Firm LLC, in Ohio.

Sounding inebriated is just the tip of the iceberg, as people who are not familiar with traumatic brain injury may mistake the person as being under the influence and treat them accordingly. Take the case of a Nova Scotia, Canada man who was involved in an extremely serious car crash 25 years ago. It left him with slurred speech and brain damage.

This now 52-year old gentleman was boarding a bus and the driver ordered him to the back, then turned to the rest of the passengers and made a comment about how he normally boots drunks off the bus. The man tried to explain he was not drunk, but instead had a speech impairment. No one on the bus listened and he was shunned for the remainder of his trip. This isn’t the first time the man has had difficulties making himself understood to others.

"As you may have already guessed, he has spent a night or two in a police lockup being ordered to take repetitive breathalyzer tests and has had his car impounded for drunk driving. However, he doesn’t drink. People are not taking the time to realize what’s going on and instead jump to conclusions. There is a valuable lesson in this for juries who hear traumatic brain injury cases; that what you see is not necessarily what you get and you need to look deeper than the surface injuries," Mellino said.

Chances are if there was more awareness of the consequences of traumatic brain injury in areas where it counts – such as first-line responders, police officers, teachers, and other health care professionals, people would get a true picture of what a brain injury involves.

"There are at least 1.5 million people in the US alone who live with brain injuries and that means you may run into someone trying to deal with their radically altered life at any time," Mellino said.

"If you have been in an accident and have sustained traumatic brain injury, call my office at (440) 333-3800 and we can discuss your case. There are many things you will need to know to move forward, and that’s my job; to help you get fair and equitable compensation for your injuries," he said.