Bring genuine justice to the vulnerable. Get the latest science; get the right evidence.
Services for Lawyers Working with Brain-Injured Clients

Win more, lose less, and make sure clients with real brain injuries get the rights, treatment, and benefits they need. The issues in brain injury cases are complex and it can be hard to know who is truly affected by brain injury and who is malingering. Fortunately we can help you use cutting edge science and new approaches to thinking through your case in order to cut through the confusion and discover the truth.

brain activity

The right evidence makes a difference; make sure you are not building a case on the wrong evidence. Not all clinicians keep up with the latest science -- we do, so we can help you keep up too. We can guide you through understanding the latest science, effectively crossing the other side's witnesses, and choosing the tests and assessments that will be most useful to your case. We can also help you explain your client's case in simple terms a jury can understand.

What Answers About Brain Injury Does That Neuropsychologists Do Not

  • In-courtroom consulting: Dr. Stone can work as an advisory witness, sitting in the courtroom with your team, providing questions to ask to expose weaknesses in the other side's testimony. When their witnesses make a claim that isn't backed up by science, Dr. Stone can spot it and help you show up their mistakes, as well as providing questions to showcase your witnesses' expertise.
  • Request specific, case-relevant assessments: Dr. Stone can work with you to write a detailed referral request, with very specific questions for the psychologist to answer in testing, so you get the most relevant information for your case. Don't just ask "Please do a psychological assessment of my client who might have a TBI," let Dr. Stone help you write something more specific. Criminal defense attorneys, see our tipsheet on Getting an Effective Assessment here.
  • Got physics? Dr. Stone not only has a Ph.D. and postdoctoral work in psychology and neuroscience, she has an honors B.A. in physics from Harvard. Is the other side claiming something that seems physically implausible, such as "that fall couldn't cause a brain injury"? Dr. Stone can help you expose questionable claims. If the issue is complex, and requires a biophysics expert, she'll tell you.

Criminal attorneys: Help crime victims with TBI and defendants with TBI get the justice they deserve and the treatment they need.

People with TBI are more likely to be victims of domestic violence, assault, theft, and financial exploitation than the rest of the population. At least 6 out of 10 abused children and an estimated 4-7 out of 10 victims of intimate partner violence may have TBI as a result of the abuse.1   Many crimes carry extra penalties for victimizing vulnerable adults, but people with TBI may have difficulty advocating for themselves. Help crime victims with TBI find justice, and get support for their disabilities.
     Although less than 1 in 10 people with TBI commit crimes, about 4 out of 10 of people in prison or on probation have TBI.2   Problems with judgment, decision-making, emotional control, and cognition can all create difficulties in how those defendants interact with police, attorneys, judges, and probation officers. Standard police questioning techniques, procedures for plea bargains, and probation requirements are all fraught with pitfalls for defendants with TBI. Prosecutors and clinicians sometimes mistake symptoms of brain injury for the signs of an antisocial personality. Science says differently - antisocial personality diagnosis is excluded by a history of TBI. Help defend the rights of your clients with TBI through the trial process, and help them get the treatment they need to reduce probation violations and unnecessary recidivism.

Disability and Personal Injury Cases

People with traumatic brain injuries (TBI's) have disabilities that can seem subtle, but in fact significantly interfere with judgment and decision-making, and with work, family relationships, and other social relationships. Because the disabilities can be difficult to detect with basic cognitive testing, insurance companies sometimes deny benefits to people with TBI who are in fact disabled. Learn how experts can detect the disabilities suffered after TBI. Our consulting & education give you access to information vital to helping you win your clients' cases. You will learn:
  • Why the most commonly used brain scan is not sensitive enough to show damage after brain injury, and why new brain imaging techniques are sensitive enough.
  • How trouble with interpersonal and emotional issues after TBI can be a warning sign of damage that cognitive assessments won't always pick up.
  • Which new psychological tests are sensitive enough to show disability after brain injury and when you should be using them.
  • How to know the right science-based questions to ask an expert witness. The right questions can make the difference between a claim paid and a claim denied.
  • What neural circuitry for emotions and social behavior is often damaged in TBI and why this can cause your client significant problems that often go undiagnosed.
  • Cases you should avoid, where there is not credible evidence of a brain injury.

Understanding Social Relationships After Traumatic Brain Injury.
A SPECIAL PRESENTATION FOR BRAIN INJURY AWARENESS MONTH: Dr Stone gave a statewide Webinar March 14 2012, discussing:
  Friendship & Support  •  Interacting with Co-Workers •  Dating  •  Marriage & Long-term Committed Relationships •  Social Safety & Avoiding Exploitation

Sponsored by the Colorado TBI Trust Fund, the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado (BIAC), Denver Options, and Colorado Connections. The talk included question and answer time at a few points during the presentation. Video of the talk can be veiwed by clicking here, and slides of the talk at BIAC's website: click here.

Dr. Valerie Stone is passionate about getting the latest science into the hands of professionals who can use it to help people with brain-based disorders. She is a recognized international research expert in traumatic brain injury, dementia, and autism spectrum disabilities. Dr. Stone has taught continuing education courses to over 200 lawyers and judges about these issues.

1 Kwako et al. (2011). Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 12, 115-26. doi:10.1177/1524838011404251; Leventhal, Martin, & Asnes (2010). Pediatrics, 126, e104-e115. doi:10.1542/peds.2009-1076;
2  Allgulander & Nilsson, Amer J Psychiatry, 157(2), 244-47. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.157.2.244; Farrer & Hedges (2011), Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, 35, 390-94, doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2011.01.007; Fazel et al. (2011). PLoS Medicine, 8(12), e1001150. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001150; Jonson-Reid, Kohl, & Drake (2012). Pediatrics,129, 839-45. doi:10.1542/peds.2011-2529.

Dr. Valerie E. Stone

Credentials: Email Dr. Valerie Stone (vestone@gmail .com) Postdoctoral fellowships:
  • University of California, Davis, Center for Neuroscience, 1993-97
  • Cambridge University, England, 1997-98
Faculty appointments at:
  • University of Denver, 1998-2003
  • University of Queensland, Australia, 2003-2008