Athletics-related brain injuries have received a great deal of media attention in recent years. In accordance, large numbers of sports teams have implemented, or reinforced, athletic concussion policies in hopes of reducing the incidence of player brain injuries.
The Pacific Northwest is an epicenter for traumatic brain injury (TBI) research, reported injury attorney Scott Blair listing several concussion studies and facilities dedicated to TBI, including the Washington Medical Sports Health and Safety Institute, created and run by the University of Washington after receiving a 2.5M grant from the National Football League in 2015.
Blair, and wife Victoria, co-own a private legal practice based in downtown Edmonds called Brain Injury Law of Seattle. As the company name implies, Blair’s firm caters only to those suffering from brain injuries, and supports clients with trauma-cased pituitary and brain stem injuries, sleep disorders, post-traumatic narcolepsy, memory difficulties, and more.
A lifelong injury lawyer, Blair was introduced to brain injury cases early in his career and realized the traditional way of proving a medical case doesn’t work as well for brains. “You can’t open the brain up like you can other parts of the body, and that got me thinking,” he said. “It graduated from an interest to a passion, and the idea of getting paid to study the brain — the last frontier — was intriguing.”
The Blairs established the specialty firm with the intention of helping victims of brain injury navigate the complex medical and treatment system. “We’re here to advocate for the client, and that’s what people with brain injuries need, because they can’t guide themselves through the jungle,” explained Blair.
Blair said the practice operates with a unique “client-first” approach. “We don’t put the money first; we put the people first,” he explained. “When you put the person first, the case takes care of itself.”
The practice also was branded to stand out in the market with an out-of-box name that helps clients and referral parties intuitively search and find the firm online.
“A lot of folks say they do brain injury, but the consumer doesn’t really know how to find a specialty attorney,” Blair said. “We also see referrals from doctors or other attorneys that don’t know brain injury well.”
Blair said the practice’s role is to provide “quarterback care” for clients. “We get people into the right doctors to get evaluated, and once they are evaluated, they can get on the right track for treatment. The medical profession does a great job, but they are siloed, and the insurance companies also have an impact.”
Surprisingly, clients often don’t seek help until a year or two after an injury occurs, when family and others notice a persistent problem or pattern. For example, Blair said, “Mild brain injuries might only impact functionality by 10 percent and can be hard to detect.”
The Blairs also have taken care to ensure their offices are extra friendly to the unique clientele. “We made our environment for brain injured people and designed the office with low lighting and a quiet, peaceful setting to lessen anxiety,” Blair said. “From the warmth of our staff to the ambience, we want it to feel meaningful, relaxed, and trustworthy.”