Neuroscience Can Help Prove Ongoing Pain in Catastrophic Injury Cases
Friday, September 16, 2016By Richard Alexander
One of the problems with pain is that the only person who truly knows how it feels is the person experiencing it. Proving pain in a catastrophic injury lawsuit can be a challenge because defense attorneys try to attack reports of pain as false or exaggerated. Fortunately, neuroscience is beginning to catch up with what have previously been termed “subjective” reports of pain.
Have you ever heard of the Wong-Baker FACES® Pain Rating Scale?
You may not recognize the name, but you would probably recognize it if you saw a picture of the scale. This tool uses several faces, arranged from left to right, in various stages of pain. On the left is a happy face with the number “0” and the words “No Hurt.” On the right is a crying, frowning face accompanied by the number “10” and the words “Hurts Worst.” Many hospitals and doctors use this scale to help patients articulate their level of pain.
For years, scientists have attempted to develop accurate ways to measure pain. In lawsuits involving serious injuries and death, brain mapping is sometimes used to corroborate reports of pain made by those who are injured.
Here’s how it works. A functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine is used to scan the brain while the injured person performs simple physical activities. Blood flow is measured in various parts of the brain that are involved in mediating pain. An experienced neuroscientist compares those readings with the patient’s reports of pain to draw a conclusion about the presence of pain. You can read more about the use of fMRIs in chronic pain cases here.
This exciting technology has the potential to revolutionize personal injury law by ensuring that injury victims are properly compensated for the pain they endure with money damages.
The physical and emotional pain that catastrophic victims and families go through is truly tragic. Our San Francisco personal injury attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP
understand that this is an incredibly hard time. We are here for our clients and will passionately seek appropriate compensation for you as the result of your injuries. Contact
us today for a free case evaluation.