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Child Suffers TBI From Defective Toy Cart Rolling Downhill

A popular children’s toy cart was defectively designed with a detachable handle fastened by a removable pin. These pins degraded over time, making the handles prone to disconnecting when used. One day, three-year-old Juan sat in one of the defective carts during a family walk around their neighborhood. The pin fell out as the family began walking down a ramped walkway. Juan rolled down the 115-foot slope uncontrollably and crashed headfirst into a cement wall. Tragically, he fractured his skull and sustained a traumatic brain injury. To make matters worse, his condition went untreated for ten years, stunting his academic growth. Ara Jabagchourian of the Law Offices of Ara Jabagchourian, P.C. and Howry, Breen & Herman LLP’s Christopher Lavorato attained a favorable settlement for the boy. Key to their success was a products liability animation recounting the incident and demonstrating the mechanism of his brain damage.

At the hospital after the collision, doctors stated Juan’s injuries were minor. However, no medical imagery was taken and no treatment was given before his release. Ten years later, Juan had difficulty reading, retaining information, and focusing in school. In hindsight, his family knew his problems stemmed from the incident.

Ara Jabagchourian and Christopher Lavorato were called to help Juan and his family navigate their legal recourse and medical treatment. Unfortunately, with no imagery documenting the damages, supporting their case was a challenge. Thus, the two organized Juan to be evaluated by several experts: a pediatric neurologist, a neuropsychologist, and a rehabilitation specialist. In addition, they brought on a products liability expert to testify to how the incident happened.

The medical experts assessed Juan and discovered the first doctors did not treat his injuries properly. Still, new medical imagery taken found no evidence of damage. The neurologist opined that even if there were no blood or brain contusions, a diffuse axonal injury still occurred and would not show in imaging. The products liability specialist examined the cart and its design, then reconstructed the crash at the location. With so much complex expert testimony, Ara and Chris brought on DK Global to help synthesize their findings into an animation.

The presentation began by highlighting the toy cart’s design, showing the removable pin securing the handle only by friction. An excerpt from a document explained a product recall was issued, warning owners of the defect. Then, using the products liability expert’s analysis, the slope was reconstructed to simulate Juan careening down the hill and into the concrete wall. Next, Juan’s likeness was modeled in 3D to display his damages. Finally, the mechanism of his coup contrecoup and axonal injury was animated using the neurology experts’ testimony, explaining his reduced cognition.

Chris and Ara shared the animation, their evidence, and expert testimony at mediation. The Defense raised their offer, but Chris and Ara declined and prepared for trial. Several days before trial, the Defense agreed to settle the matter for Chris and Ara’s demand.

Ara Jabagchourian of the Law Offices of Ara Jabagchourian, P.C. prides himself on being a trial lawyer, representing his clients in personal injury, product liability, and business litigation matters. Ara has been named a Northern California “Super Lawyer” since 2019 and has had his law firm recognized as one of the “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, Ara was awarded the highest single wrongful death verdict in San Diego County history.

Christopher Lavorato is a partner at Howry, Breen & Herman LLP, specializing in representing the survivors of catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, and construction defects. Rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale Hubbell in 2014, Chris was recognized as one of the Top 100 Civil Plaintiff attorneys by The National Trial Lawyers, securing multi-million-dollar resolutions for his clients.

"There is a surprise factor when they see what actually happened. Sometimes they'll gasp, they can't believe what they're seeing. My partner calls it the 'DK Global Effect'."
Christopher Lavorato - Howry, Breen & Herman, LLP
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