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Mechanism of Injury Animation Assists in $929,000 Verdict for Woman Injured by Large Iron Gate

A Los Angeles autobody shop secured its parking lot with a 750-pound sliding metal gate. However, the landlord and tenants neglected to maintain the track the gate was supposed to glide across. This parking lot was also used after business hours as overflow parking for a nearby church. One evening, the gargantuan barrier fell on top of a churchgoer named Ms. Yi. Covered head-to-toe with bruises, Ms. Yi suffered several disc protrusions and required years of agonizing medical treatment to manage her pain. Ted Wacker of TBW Law used an animated reconstruction of the incident and a timeline of Ms. Yi’s medical care to demonstrate that all three parties – the autobody shop, the landlord, and Ms. Yi’s church – were liable, and attained a $929,000 verdict.

Before the incident, Ms. Yi was invited to a church event. The last to arrive, she was directed to park across the street at the autobody shop. Two deacons overseeing parking struggled to close the broken and rusted gate. They forcefully maneuvered the gate, causing its wheels to slide off the metal tracks and fall onto Ms. Yi. The two deacons panicked and rushed to free her from the massive weight pinning her down. Fortunately, good Samaritans nearby heard the loud crash, called 911, and lifted the gate off her. 

Paramedics rushed Ms. Yi to a nearby hospital. She complained of radiating pain in her back, neck, and knees. Doctors ordered MRIs to be taken and discovered numerous disc protrusions in her cervical and lumbar spine. Before opting for more invasive surgeries, Ms. Yi underwent months of chiropractic sessions, acupuncture, and epidural steroid injections.

Ted was referred to help Ms. Yi attain compensation and resolve the contest of liability among the three parties. The landlord of the autobody shop argued his tenants were liable for maintaining the property. However, the autobody shop owners retorted they were not responsible. They stated they were only helping the church and were not present when the gate fell. Ted deposed the church’s representatives and discovered they did not have insurance covering the overflow parking. Then, in a shocking attempt to avoid responsibility, the church lied and said the gate never fell on Ms. Yi.

Ted learned the landlord and autobody shop owners were covered under the same policy. During mediation with both parties, they offered to settle the case for $150,000, but Ted declined, knowing that amount was insufficient given the severity of his client’s permanent damages.

With all parties vehemently denying responsibility, Ted set his sights on trial:

He unearthed several Google Earth photos from years before that showed the landlord and his tenants tried to salvage the gate by welding metal scraps to the tracks. To undermine the church’s egregious claims that the gate never fell, Ted obtained an affidavit from one of the good Samaritans who helped Ms. Yi that night. With trial approaching, Ted worked with DK Global to visualize the incident and bring his evidence to life, creating a reconstruction animation and a timeline of Ms. Yi’s medical care.

The animation began with a satellite view of the autobody shop and the church. Ms. Yi was shown on the sidewalk, waiting for the deacons to close the parking gate. Then, Google Earth photos displayed the eroded metal track as the deacons struggled to move the gate. After the massive barrier tipped over onto Ms. Yi, her shoulder, knees, neck, and back were highlighted alongside photos of her painful bruises. Finally, a timeline of her medical care illustrated her arduous road to recovery over the span of three years.

Ted shared his evidence and the animation at trial. The jury was shocked to hear the church’s attempts to sidestep responsibility and found all three parties liable, awarding Ms. Yi a $929,000 verdict.

For over 25 years, trial attorney and Golden Advocate Award winner Ted Wacker has represented the victims of catastrophic injury cases. A member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Ted has also been recognized as a "California Super Lawyer" and a “Top Trial Attorney” by The National Trial Lawyers.

"DK Global I've worked with and used for many years... They're easy to work with, everybody there is very professional... They care about your case and they care about you."
Ted B. Wacker – TBW Law
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