Lindsey McKay explains how she views the impact of working with trauma survivors for attorneys and how attorneys cope with vicarious traumatization.
Attorneys and Vicarious Traumatization
Trauma affects all aspects of the work with clients and impacts every communication. Lawyers should be both attorneys and counselors; however, many fall short on the counseling side of the equation. One of our strong suits at McKay Law is the empathy we show our clients in their time of need. We listen to our clients carefully, Lindsey said.
She emphasized that she believes personal injury attorneys should learn to be better listeners in order to hear the trauma stories and how trauma has impacted clients. Texan lawyers, especially in Tyler & Longview, TX, need to be better empathic listeners in order to understand their traumatized clients. Attorneys need more training in dealing with trauma, Lindsey added.
Early in her career, Lindsey McKay found that severe victimization cases were sometimes overwhelming and required emotional distancing to cope. She has since learned how to better manage clients’ emotional reactions to situations of extreme victimization, injury, and sometimes death.
When Should a Car Accident Survivor Contact an Attorney?
For a number of reasons, Lindsey McKay advises that if you have been injured in a car accident in Tyler, TX, or Longview, TX, you should likely contact an experienced car accident lawyer. According to McKay, there are a number of reasons to do so. Most importantly, victims and their family members are hungry for information to protect their rights.
A Tyler / Longview car accident lawyer can inform them of the resources available, explain the insurance practices and legal processes, and support them in getting needed care. For example, victims are often unable to work because of their injuries, and they need to be informed about insurance coverage for lost wages. They also may benefit from the general and case-specific information that the attorney can provide.
When Should an Attorney File a Lawsuit?
If a case has merit, a lawsuit should be filed immediately.
Many lawyers do not want to do this because of the initial costs involved. However, by filing a lawsuit, we’re already in a better position to preserve evidence that might otherwise be lost. Once a case is filed, the Tyler / Longview car accident lawyer would have the power to issue subpoenas for records and can obtain what is referred to as an Exparte Order from the judge.
This order can be used to prevent vehicles involved in the accident from being sold or scraped, for example. It is important to preserve any evidence so it can be forensically examined and provide legal proof at trial, preventing what is termed “spoliation of evidence.”
While doing so is expensive for the attorney, we think that insurance companies often will not pay large sums of money on a case without having all of the evidence.
How Long Does a Lawsuit Take to Be Resolved?
Lindsey suggests that the typical auto accident lawsuit should take around one year to be resolved.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been no trials in many places for months. This might give an advantage to insurance companies as it is the risk of a trial that triggers settlement. Lindsey says that bigger cases will typically not settle for high dollar amounts without a trial date being set.
What is the Biggest Mistake a Client Can Make?
The biggest mistake clients make is to have too much contact with the insurance company. It’s important to remember that the insurance company is not your friend when you are injured, and they want to get you cut off from services and benefits as quickly as possible. For example, in complex polytrauma cases, insurance companies will often assign case managers who present themselves as working for the client’s best interest, but in fact, they are often working for the insurance companies’ best interest.
The second biggest mistake clients make is not getting enough treatment when they are injured. People not getting the care they need is a problem that we see in many cases. At McKay Law, medical treatment is covered.
When it comes to clients getting emotional care for injuries, Lindsey encourages traumatized clients to get the mental health care that they need.
Often, clients are dealing with chronic pain, anxieties about their physical conditions, loss of occupational roles, and family strain due to restrictions and limitations. These factors can have a significant mental health impact.
Tyler / Longview car accident lawyers have to work with their clients to overcome fears of stigmatization for receiving therapy. Many clients have never received mental health care, chiropractic care or medical care and do not understand the benefits. There is a huge need for the education and support that an informed attorney can provide.
When a client is dealing with chronic pain, every aspect of their lives is impacted, sometimes resulting in severe depression and changes in brain chemistry that negatively impact their ability to engage with others.
The Importance of a Neuropsychological Evaluation
We recommend clients have neuropsychological evaluations if the accident is severe because the results can give both attorneys and clients a better understanding of the conditions.
If there are indications of a traumatic brain injury, we want to review all pre-injury records, such as school performance and all pre-injury medical records, to be as informed and prepared as possible to assist our client.
What If Clients with Traumatic Brain Injuries Don’t Remember Prior Injuries?
Lindsey McKay explained that in the real world, people often forget about prior injuries. It doesn’t mean they are intentionally attempting to conceal something. A pre-accident injury can actually make the person more susceptible to later injuries, particularly involving brain injuries. Many attorneys do not understand brain injuries or the issue of exacerbation of pre-accident injuries.
Again, as much data as possible can help to tease out issues of apportionment and causality based on the evidence, and at trial, the jury is faced with having to make these tough determinations. If a jury is unable to make the determination, according to law, they must award the whole.
Coping With the Stressful Situation
Tyler / Longview car accident lawyer at McKay Law shares tips to cope with the accident.
Negative Behaviors To Avoid
- Self-victimization. We ask ourselves “Why is this happening to me? Why am I so unlucky? Why doesn’t this happen to anyone else? It’s not fair!”
- Reacting in anger. We lash back at the situation, or even people around us, for what’s happening.
- Self-blame. We make self-depreciating comments like “Why am I so stupid to have done that?” “Only someone like myself can make such a dumb mistake.”
- Slipping into depression. For those of us who have faced cases of depression before, we might fall back if we’re not careful at managing our emotions.
- Dejection or giving up. We lose hope, or worse still, we give up. We decide it’s not worth it, that life is out to get us, and we should just stop trying altogether.
9 Tips to Cope with Negative Situations
The thing is, as long as you live in this world, you are subjected to the same chaos, the ups and downs, the good and bad, the positives and the negatives of life. You are not the only person facing this.
What sets you apart from others though, is how you choose to deal with this situation. Here are my personal steps to cope with bad situations and create something good out of them:
- Release your frustrations.
Don’t bottle them up because you might just implode. Talk to a friend about it. A listening ear does wonders. Go exercise and release the tension. Journal it out.
- Realize you are not alone.
No matter what you may think, you’re not alone in this. Somewhere around the world, someone else is thinking the exact same thing as you. Someone out there is feeling down and out too, wondering why she is experiencing this. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset. Let McKay Law help you.
- Being frustrated isn’t going to solve anything.
The problem will still remain whether you go berserk or whether you think about it calmly. The former will create more problems as your agitation prevents you from making good decisions. I knew remaining frustrated was not going to help me get my health back, so I focused on what could be done instead (#6).
- Know you always have a choice.
Realize no matter what happens, you always have a choice in how you react. While you may not be able to control what happens to you, you can most certainly control your behaviors. You can face the worst things in the world, but if you make a choice not to let yourself be affected by them, you won’t be.
- Objectify it.
An incident is an incident; we’re responsible for the feelings attached. Remove the feelings and look at the situation objectively. This will help us cope a lot better.
- Focus on what you can do.
Action creates empowerment. It brings possibilities. It creates results. By taking action, you are no longer a passive recipient. You are a conscious creator. With McKay Law’s help, you can reclaim your life.
- Ask for help if you need to.
It’s okay to ask for help if it makes the situation easier. Remember, you are not alone in this if Lindsey McKay is your lawyer.
- See it as an obstacle to be overcome.
Life is a journey of learning and growth, and everything happens for a reason. Obstacles are the things stopping you from getting your goals, and if you keep overcoming these obstacles, you’ll eventually get what you want.
- Identify the lesson learned.
There are always things to be learned from every situation. For Lindsey, she learned to rigorously back-up everything she’s doing now—even saving files in different versions so I can still recover the last version if the latest version ever gets destroyed.
No matter what bad stuff life throws your way, as long as you cope with it constructively, nothing can get you down. With McKay Law helping you with your injury claim, things will get better fast, and you can be comforted to know you will receive maximum compensation for your injuries, and your life will improve with Lindsey McKay’s help.