This month, we’re excited to bring you the key takeaways from one of our most recent PILMMA Management Roundtable discussions. Facilitated by Micki Love (President of CJ Advertising with over 20 years of law firm management experience), these roundtables are designed to create space for PILMMA members to discuss the hottest topics in the world of PI law firm management.
In this roundtable, Micki walked through her supervisor file review process for managing cases, discussed the importance of a TBI checklist, touched on the role of working closely with a client’s family, and more!
We’re bringing you some the key takeaways surrounding TBI checklists from this discussion, but as a PILMMA Gold or Mastermind member, you have access to all recordings of all prior roundtables via your Member Resources account – and you’re able to join all future roundtables LIVE by jumping on the monthly call.
TBI CHECKLISTS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
“Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most missed injuries in a law firm because most case managers – and a lot of attorneys – believe that in order for there to be any type of TBI, there must be a severe change in the injured person. This is problematic, because it’s these mild changes that really are indicators that there’s some type of TBI happening.
I found (a missed TBI) last week when I was working with a firm. This particular attorney I was working with had no idea that the symptoms he was reading off to me – that this client was telling him they’d experienced – had anything to do with a traumatic brain injury.”
If you don’t have a TBI checklist in your firm, that’s something you should definitely do. Then, you need to have a meeting with your entire staff to talk through: what does this TBI look like? Because it comes in very different forms ranging from just a change in personality of the client all the way through loss of speech, stutter, frequent headaches, eye pain or blindness, and different things that can really be standout. And, it’s often those more subtle TBI injuries that are often missed by our team, mostly because they haven’t been educated.”
TBI CHECKLISTS: BEST PRACTICES DISCUSSED
- Educate your client on how long it takes for certain TBI symptoms to manifest. While they may be eager to settle quickly, make sure they’re aware of the drawbacks in failing to allow time for symptoms to surface.
- Have a family member or caretaker of the client perform the TBI Checklist. This is important, because there are certain signs and symptoms that the client themselves may not pick up on, but their family will.
- Complete the TBI checklist more than once, over the lifespan of the case. Certain TBI symptoms (especially irritability, change in personality, withdrawal symptoms from normal life) can be delayed showing up – or delayed in getting noticed by the family member – for up to 90, even 120 days after the injury originally occurred.
- Continue to involve the client’s close family member or caretaker in the process. Welcome them onto a call so that you can explore how they’re doing + hear their side of the client’s story. Even if you don’t find a TBI, you’ll be able to write a better demand or be able to defend the client better to the defense adjustor.
Mastermind member Justin Lovely chimed into the discussion, sharing his concern:
Justin: “Here’s what I’m worried about. We do the TBI checklist at 90 days, maybe we think that the client wants to settle, we’re looking at it, thinking about that soft tissue and that’s always worried me. Hey, you know, we settled somebody for $50,000 and then, you know, 9 months later it turns out they had a damn brain injury! We could have gotten a million bucks. But the client doesn’t want to sit and wait and let the symptoms mature.
Micki: “This is where being able to take your client and really talk to them about how long it takes for symptoms to progress – and how to make sure they’re well so that you can get the maximum recovery for them possible – is so important.
You’re always going to have those one-off clients that are never going to want to wait for money, right? And unfortunately, those are probably the clients that may most likely have a TBI – or there’s something else going on in their life that’s pressuring them in some way. That’s when you have to get the family involved, if they’ll allow you to do so, to really start talking to them about the symptoms they’re having and why they need to wait. Because if a family can do anything for you, it’s have influence over your client, helping them see that you’re kind, you’re patient, and you’re on their side trying to make sure every injury is discovered and treated (or at least diagnosed) so that we can get the most money in THEIR pocket.
It’s always important to talk about getting money in “their pocket”. Your clients have seen all the messaging around money here – “no fees unless we win”. So they’re more likely to think, or even say to you “You just want to get more money so that you can get paid more.” And that’s where you respond “Yes, we do get paid more – but you also get significantly more money in your pocket.” You have to flip the script here a little bit on some of those.
But overall, it’s so important to systematize that TBI checklist. And with the Supervisor File Review process*, that supervisor follows you, has done it after 30 days and then it’s done every 30 days after that to look for these very things – these outliers like TBI symptoms that we may be missing early on that we need to come back and circle around to one more time.
*SUPERVISOR FILE REVIEW:
The purpose of Supervisor File Review (SFR) is to maintain active reviews of all files on a recurring basis to guide individual client medical and/or case management in order to reduce time on desk and increase client recovery. The goal here is for every open case to be reviewed by a supervisor every 30 days.*
SFR is critical in making sure that nothing slips through the cracks, that your clients are getting the recovery, care, and compensation that they need, and that your firm is steadily increasing in revenue.
To learn more about SFR and walk through Micki’s detailed template, visit www.pilmma.org/member-resources and view the management roundtable discussion “File Review Process, May 2023”.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Gracie Howes is a Marketing Copywriter and Social Media Strategist at PILMMA. As a former AP English teacher, she is passionate about breaking down complex concepts in the world of marketing and tech in order to facilitate increased access and growth within the world of business.