Physician Checklist

The other parties to the litigation will scrutinize the treating physician, medical experts, diagnosis, and treatment provided. The following should be evaluated, and strategies to defend against any perceived improper diagnosis or treatment should be considered and prepared.


Patient Sought Treatment from Defendant Physician

  • Patient-plaintiff’s stated symptoms
  • Date of first consultation with physician
  • Dates of subsequent visits and other contacts with physician


Patient Medical History

  • Evaluation of patient’s medical history
  • Evaluation of any baseline testing information
  • Prior history of concussion injuries


Diagnosis and Treatment by Physician-Defendant

  • Initial evaluation of patient by physician
  • Evaluation of patient in follow-up examinations to assess late-developing or lingering concussion symptoms
  • Physician’s diagnosis demonstrated in the medical records
  • Physician provided the proper treatment as stated in the witness testimony


Proof of No Breach of Standard of Care

  • Facts showing high standard of care given to patient
  • Expert testimony demonstrating no deviation from the standard of care


Physician’s Treatment Did Not Cause Patient's Injury

  • Expert testimony showing no proximate causation between physician’s care and the patient’s injury
  • Expert testimony demonstrating other causes of patient’s injury


Patient Contributed to Multiple Concussion Injury, Post-Concussion Syndrome, or Second Impact Syndrome

  • Evidence of negligent conduct by patient that contributed to injury
  • Patient concealed symptoms of concussion
  • Patient took medication against physician instructions (Example: took painkillers stronger than over-the-counter pain medications after a head injury)
  • Patient failed to follow physician’s instructions (Example: failed to abstain from alcohol for several days following head injury; failed to remain under observation by a reliable person for recommended period after injury)
  • Patient put him or herself in the way of harm (Example: returned to contact sports activities before receiving medical clearance; failed to wear helmet or other safety equipment during practices)


An Intervening Cause May Have Been a Proximate Cause of the Injury

  • Evidence of intervening causes that resulted in the patient’s injury
  • Negligent treatment by another health care provider, unknown to defendant
  • Concussion from an automobile accident occurring between multiple concussions while employed as a professional athlete


See: Attorneys Medical Advisor, Concussion §§ 36:56 to 36:70; Traumatic Brain Injuries, 72 Proof of Facts 3d 363; Litigating Sports Injury Cases, 114 Am. Jur. Trials 269.