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Brain scans gain favor in the courtroom

As the connections between brain injury and aggression grow, it seems that lawyers are increasingly using brain scans as evidence in criminal trials. This tactic is generally used to secure a reduced sentence by way of proving that a client wasn’t entirely responsible for his or her behavior. One study cited in a recent issue of The Atlantic found that judicial opinions that cited brain scans as evidence doubled between 2005 and 2012.

Brain scans are similarly gaining traction in civil cases as well, as a way to demonstrate that a person is, in fact, in a degree of pain that might qualify as disabling.

Historically, the pain has been a difficult thing to measure. It’s easy to show a court, for example, that a severed limb not only exists but is likely to cause disability. It’s more difficult to prove that a person’s severe pain is a cause of disability because doing so requires in large part that a jury take a person at his or her word that he or she is in severe pain. Traditional pain scales, for example, often ask the person in pain to rate his or her pain on a numerical scale. So what would keep a person from simply lying about it? Brain scans, on the other hand, show promise as a potential way to make a person’s pain visible and mappable to others.

If you’ve suffered a brain injury or other type of injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s important that a court understand the full scope of your injuries so that you can receive appropriate compensation for your recovery. Brain scans may eventually be used more commonly to illustrate accident victims’ levels of pain. In the meantime, partnering with an experienced personal injury attorney remains one of the best things you can do to ensure you get a fair and full settlement for your injuries.

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