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Rear End Collision Results in Life Altering Spinal Surgery and $1.57M Verdict.

The Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency’s (SHRA) duties extended beyond property management and urban development. They were also responsible for ensuring their employees operated agency vehicles safely. However, one SHRA failed to stop at a red light and slammed into the car in front of it. As a result, a routine drive home for a woman named Ms. Thompson turned calamitous, the impact launching her vehicle into the middle of the intersection. Ian Barlow and Jeffrey Schaff championed Ms. Thompson’s case, ultimately bringing it to a jury and securing over $1.5 million toward her recovery.

At first glance, Ms. Thompson did not appear to have any serious injuries. However, over time, she found herself grappling with debilitating cervical myelopathy. The affliction forced her to undergo a C4-C5 cervical discectomy — a risky disc replacement procedure.

After the collision, the Defendants stonewalled Ms. Thompson, refusing even to compensate her for the repairs to her car. So, she approached Ian Barlow of Kershaw Talley Barlow and Jeffrey Schaff of Schaff Law Group to help.

The journey to vindication was fraught with complexity. The Defense argued that Ms. Thompson’s injuries stemmed from degeneration and genetic conditions unrelated to the crash. Ian and Jeff, undeterred, knew they needed a powerful demonstration to convey the severity of the surgery and the profound impact on their client's life.

Throughout litigation, a significant hurdle was the fact that the Plaintiff’s surgery was still pending. That posed a challenge to convey the gravity of her trauma to a jury. To help address this, Ian and Jeffrey collaborated with a team of experts, including Ms. Thompson’s primary treating physician, who was adamant that she needed surgery, along with Dr. Selena Ellis, a neurologist, and Dr. Andrew Fox, a neurosurgeon. Ian and Jeffrey knew that without visuals, a jury would be quick to dismiss the injuries and the need for surgery, even with her physician’s testimony. To combat this, the duo reached out to DK Global to produce a series of animations, bringing to life the invasive surgeries Ms. Thompson would undergo.

The animation started with the initial scalpel incision at the woman’s throat, effectively guiding the jury through the steps of the cervical discectomy surgery. It detailed the process of bone and tissue removal, the placement of artificial disc devices, and the fusion of the vertebrae with metal plates and screws. This visual representation transformed the abstract medical procedure into a clear and comprehensible narrative, which helped the jury grasp the severity of the Plaintiff’s condition.

The Defense, initially resistant, offered a mere $20k to settle the matter. This perspective shifted when Dr. Fox presented DK Global's animation during his expert deposition, vividly demonstrating the seriousness of the injuries. The Defense increased their offer to six figures. Not willing to settle, though, Ian and Jefferey brought the case to court. Following a 9-day trial, the jury ruled in Ms. Thompson’s favor. Ultimately, the case resulted in an award of $1,570,000, which included over $800,000 for future pain and suffering.

Ian Barlow, a partner at Kershaw Talley Barlow, specializes in complex litigation, including class actions, mass torts, and personal injury. Ian has earned accolades such as the Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Star, Best of the Bar in the Sacramento Business Journal, and Top Lawyer in Sacramento Magazine, and he holds an AV-Preeminent rating from Martindale Hubbell.

Jeffrey Schaff, the principal attorney at Schaff Law Group, specializes in personal injury, civil litigation, and select criminal defense cases. With extensive experience in personal injury law, he has managed numerous cases from inception to conclusion, conducted hundreds of depositions, and successfully led multiple trials to verdict. Schaff is known for treating each case with the uniqueness it deserves, ensuring his clients receive the attention, empathy, and vigorous representation they need.


"Having an animation at hand and having DK Global's depiction of the surgery that was at issue in our case, made the theoretical real."
Ian Barlow - Kershaw Talley Barlow
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