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Husband and Wife Suffer Neck, Spine, and Rotator Cuff Injuries from Golf Cart Crash

Piloting a golf cart may seem more like playing a game of bumper cars than driving a motor vehicle. It’s easy to think that the rules of the road don’t apply — speed limits, right sides of the road, they all go out the window. For a couple of RV Dealership employees, driving a golf cart seemed like a recreational part of their jobs. Unfortunately, that attitude translated into recklessness, turning one couple’s tour around the camper lot into surgery bills. While riding in the rear-facing back seats in one of the golf carts, another cart turned from the wrong side of the road and crashed headlong into them.

On the day of the incident, the couple riding in the back of the golf cart had popped into the RV Dealership lot to check out some camper vans on a whim, unsure if they were going to make a purchase. They were an outdoorsy, active pair who enjoyed motorcycling and working on cars; the accident threw a wrench into the normal life they knew and loved. The couple’s seats on the cart were unsecured by seatbelts or protective measures. When the second cart T-boned them, the woman’s neck whipped violently to the side, causing a vertebra in her cervical spine to slip underneath a disc. Her husband, on the other hand, suffered a number of injuries in both arms that required eventual rotator cuff surgery.

After Filing the lawsuit, Henry DeGive, and the Law Office of Perry Ellis associated Michael R. Braun of The Law Office of Michael R. Braun to help. Henry and Michael came to the table with all hands on deck to tackle the new case. They faced several hurdles as he began working: the Defense denied all liability for the accident, and he had a difficult time painting a picture of the accident with words alone. Also, the sound of ‘golf cart accident’ simply didn’t do justice to the serious damage the Plaintiffs suffered.

Michael immediately decided to use an animation to tell the story of what had happened to the Plaintiffs and called on DK Global to help. He took careful measurements and photos of the accident site and sent a videographer to the scene to gather as much information as possible. He hired medical experts, causation experts, and even a biomechanical engineer to assist with the case. He wanted to simplify the case for an imagined jury by using as much demonstrative evidence as he could — evidence that also informed the video he eventually presented to the Defense.

The video began with a bird’s eye view of the area of the incident, accompanied by photos. It then switched to an animated rendering of a lot with several large white campers and a golf cart speeding through a passageway between the rows of campers. The cart made a fast, tight turn, revealing the Plaintiffs sitting in the back of the cart without any seatbelts or protection from hazardous driving. Next, the animation showed the cart getting broadsided by another golf cart while making a left turn from the wrong side of the road. The crash pinned the male Plaintiff’s arm between both carts before sending both Plaintiffs lurching to the side. The video then focused on the female Plaintiff’s neck anatomy, displaying the hyper-flexion of her cervical spine. Lastly, the animation depicted the musculature of the first Plaintiff’s arm and the muscle tears he suffered during the incident.

Michael approached mediation with a trial-ready mindset; he wanted to show the Defense that he was prepared to take the case to a jury verdict. The animation was a key factor in that strategy, and it worked. While the Defense’s initial offer was a nuisance value offer, after seeing the animation, the offer increased significantly-during mediation. When the case still didn’t settle at mediation, the Defense attempted to block the use of the animation in trial. However, the judge ruled that the majority of the video was admissible And the Defense returned to Michael with an offer that was almost three times the amount of their previous offer.

Michael R. Braun is a personal injury attorney and partner at The Law Office of Michael R. Braun. His Marietta, Georgia-based office is a go-to firm for attorneys struggling to resolve and settle their cases. He has attained settlements for his clients as high as $9 million and verdicts as high as $5 million and has been selected as a Georgia Super Lawyer every year since 2013. He also works as a mediator at Bay Mediation & Arbitration Services.

"Part of what we do as trial attorneys is we're telling the story to a jury. There's a lot of truth in that a picture is worth a thousand words. A video is probably worth a million words."
Michael R. Braun — Law Office of Michael R. Braun
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