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Early Use of Animations of Car Collision Helps Secure $5.85M Settlement

Western Springs, Illinois, was a place synonymous with family, safety, and community. Tragically, the dangerous driving of a speeding Range Rover tarnished its roads. The speeding SUV clocked in at what was initially believed to be 60 mph in a 35 mph zone. Its dangerous path ended when it collided with the driver’s side of a Jeep making a left turn. In the Jeep, two high schoolers — a young woman behind the wheel and Beth, a popular 17-year-old cheerleader — were on their way to cheerleading practice. The Rover collided with so much force that the Jeep vaulted, rolled, and slammed into a utility pole. Both girls suffered severe injuries, with Beth suffering a traumatic brain injury that forever altered the trajectory of her life.

The Jeep landed sideways, with the passenger's side face down. Both the girls were unconscious when paramedics arrived. Beth was hospitalized for multiple weeks. After her recovery, Beth looked like a typical teenager. But on the inside, she struggled with cognitive dysfunction, fatigue, and memory issues, becoming a shell of her former self.

Beth's family sought Timothy Tomasik, a founding partner of Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, LLC, a firm known for its dedication to victims of medical malpractice, truck crashes, and catastrophic injuries. Tim, renowned for his compassionate and tenacious advocacy, embraced Beth's challenging case. He immediately contacted his accident reconstructionist to understand how exactly the incident occurred.

As the case unfolded, Tim faced two primary challenges: proving the egregious speed of the Range Rover and illustrating the gravity of an injury that left no visible scars. He wanted information from the event data recorder (i.e., the car’s “black box”) from the Range Rover. It required sending the black box back to Europe — a common obstacle for luxury European cars. But when Tim and his reconstructionist received the data, it revealed a shocking truth: the Range Rover was traveling even faster than initially thought, at least 80 mph. In addition, an eyewitness provided testimony that helped paint the picture of the SUV driver’s reckless negligence.

Tim pursued punitive damages from the outset of the case, but he approached mediation with a strategic mindset. Early in the process, he enlisted DK Global to craft a precise reconstruction of the accident. The animation highlighted the Defendant's reckless disregard for human life and combined expert reports with black box data for comprehensive evidence. Yet, Tim went further, including in the animation a vivid depiction of the axonal damage from his client's traumatic brain injury.

The DK Global animation opened with an overview of the suburban setting of the incident, emphasizing the crash site's proximity to surrounding parks. It transitioned to a bird's-eye view tracking the Jeep shortly before the collision as it transported Beth. Following the impact, the animation paired a step-by-step replay with data from the accident reconstruction report. Viewers were then drawn into a first-person perspective from the Jeep's driver, pausing to underscore the distance of the Defendant's vehicle from the intersection at the moment of the crash. The perspective shifted to the Defendant, displaying the speed recorded at the time of the incident. After the detailed reconstruction, the focus narrowed to a 3D character model of Beth, zooming into her brain to reveal the axonal shearing at a microscopic level, effectively illustrating the invisible internal injury and its severity.

The animations and evidence were presented to the retired judge mediating the case, effectively conveying the gravity of Beth's situation to all parties involved. After two days of intense negotiations, a settlement was reached in the amount of $5,850,000 to help Beth recover.

Timothy Tomasik, a founding partner at Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, LLC, is adept at handling medical malpractice, truck accidents, and catastrophic injury cases, with a history of securing multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements. Notably, he was a leading member of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the World Trade Center litigation, contributing to a landmark $1.2 billion settlement.

"People do think visually, it's just a fact of life. They process visual information so much more quickly than verbal information, and animations in my view have changed the landscape of trial work today."
Timothy Tomasik - Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, LLC
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