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Cognitive Impairments - Involved in Two Litigations

Haddonfield, NJ |
Filed under: Litigation

I have cognitive impairments and am disabled. Should my lawyer take that into consideration? I don't process information very quickly, I frequently forget things, have short-term memory deficits, get easily confused, have overwhelming fatigue, misuse words, etc.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Yes.

    Remind your lawyer of your disability and ensure he or she adjusts delivery to make sure you understand what us happening.

    NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. DO NOT RELY ON ANY ADVICE YOU RECEIVE FROM ME OR ANY OTHER ATTORNEY IN THIS FORUM. Legal advice comes after a complete review of the facts and relevant documents and an expressed (written) agreement of representation that forms attorney-client confidentiality. Neither of these two events can occur in this forum. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. His answers to any Avvo question are rooted in general legal principles--NOT your specific state laws. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this or any other matter.


  2. Hard to know what you're asking for. If you're asking whether your attorney should keep your condition in mind when communicating with you, then yes, absolutely.

    But if you're asking whether your condition has any bearing on the substance of your case, it's really impossible to say. It could, but it could just as easily not matter in the slightest. That's something you're going to want to ask your attorney about.

    This answer does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


  3. A lawyer should take everything into consideration. They should take the amount of time needed to make sure their client understands what is going in and document everything in writing if need be.

    Michael J. Dennin, Esquire www.denninlegal.com 866-665-5709 (toll-free) mdennin@ciecka.com


  4. The quick answer to your question is a hands down, "Yes, absolutely!"

    When your lawyer had that first face to face meeting with you (which I assume took place) s/he should have made an evaluation of your ability to understand and to process information. I will assume that the lawyer likely has access to your medical records as well and thus, s/he can examine your medical history which will help him or her to also understand your current conditions.

    Even if your type of issue does not involve your medical records, the lawyer should have been able to pick up on your cognitive issues at that first meeting. You should have also filled out an information form(s) of some sort and that should have given your lawyer insight into your impairment issues.

    Once the lawyer came to this understanding s/he may have had a duty to seek to appoint a guardian, especially if your claim/case will involve a money award or involves complex decisions. A guardian would be a person, deemed trustworthy by the court, to work with the lawyer to make decisions in your claim/case. The guardianship may end upon termination of your claim/case or at a later date determined by the court.

    The lawyer might have decided that your impairments are not such that a guardian is needed. S/he may just make extra efforts to keep you informed, to make sure you understand what is occurring in your claim/case, and to take extra time to explain things to you. I would also think your lawyer would want to meet with you frequently face to face.

    Finally, your lawyer should be communicating with you. You should be receiving copies of relevant letters and pleadings if your case is in litigation, or of documents if you have a claim of some sort (for example, accident claim, work comp claim, or perhaps an SSDI claim). When you call the office you should be able to talk to your lawyer or have your call returned the same day or within one day. You should be able to schedule appointments to meet and to talk with your lawyer.

    Talk with your lawyer if you have concerns (and it sounds like you do) and certainly, s/he will work with you to discover a system of communication that you understand and one that keeps you informed.

    Best of luck to you.

    The information provided was in answer to a general question and cannot be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the information provided establish an attorney client relationship. Seek out an attorney with whom you can fully explain your unique situation and enter into an attorney client relationship with that attorney.

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