Volume 43, Issue 2 (March 1998)
Post-Traumatic Movement Disorders: Effect of the Legal System on Outcome
Since patients with post-traumatic, neurologic, movement disorders often seek legal counsel and become involved in litigation, we used this group of disorders as a model for testing the hypothesis that an interaction with the legal system may influence its outcome. We reviewed 100 consecutive medical records of patients with post-traumatic movement disorders from the Movement Disorders Clinic at the Baylor College of Medicine. Additionally, 40 patients completed a detailed questionnaire and a health survey. Nineteen of the 40 respondents had obtained legal representation in regards to compensation for their medical problems. The group of patients with attorneys differed from those without legal representation in that they were significantly younger and a significantly higher percentage of these patients were disabled as compared to the group without attorneys. While most were dissatisfied with the legal system, 68% were satisfied with services provided by their attorneys. Although the patients with legal aspects of their movement disorders seemed to have more severe and persistent disability, we could not definitely conclude that the legal system had adversely affected the outcome of the post-traumatic movement disorders.