Rowley & Effres Take a Zero Offer to $9.5M Paid by School District After 3 Weeks of Trial

Brain Injury Animation Aids Attorneys in Securing Settlement - See Exclusive Interview

A six-year-old boy in the first grade was injured during school recess while a group of fourth-graders were playing a game that should have been prohibited. One of the older students picked up this boy – the smallest in his class – and ran with him like a football, tripped and fell, and landed on him. The younger child’s head subsequently hit the asphalt, and he suffered a fractured skull and multiple brain bleeds resulting in traumatic brain injury. There were eight aids in the schoolyard who should have ensured that older children did not enter the area where the younger students were playing – and none of these assistants even called for any medical help for this child.

Attorneys Justin Effres and Steve Effres, of Effres and Associates, had to prove the negligence of the school district, and they contacted DK Global to develop visuals that would explain their client’s complicated injuries to people involved in this case. Attorney Nicholas Rowley, of Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley, also joined their team and was instrumental in bringing out the issues that were necessary to overcome the hurdle of securing a multi-million-dollar judgment against a school district. After three weeks of trial, the attorneys obtained a $9.5 Million settlement from the district to aid in taking care of the child’s life-altering damages.

The biggest hurdle for Attorneys Justin and Steve Effres was proving that the school district, through their employees, was responsible. The attorneys did not want to focus the blame on the older student, but rather show how the school district was at fault. If the school district had enforced their own rules, the incident would not have occurred.

Another significant obstacle was the little boy’s injuries and how they would develop in later years. The client’s brain injuries would manifest fully over the course of several years. It wasn’t until their client was in the third or fourth grade that it became apparent his working memory and executive function were impacted due to the damage this incident caused to his frontal lobe. The Effres team asked the court to continue the case for two years before trial so that the real effects of the damage would be apparent.

The team of animators at DK Global were asked to show the severity of the injuries to the boy’s brain, and to explain through forensic animation how these traumatic injuries will affect him. We collaborated with the attorneys’ medical experts (a pediatric neurologist, neuropsychologist, and neuro-radiologist) to create an informative and dynamic presentation, illustrating the damages this little boy endured.

Brain slices were developed from the medical images that represent the significance of the injuries, and these aided laypeople in better understanding the damage. A video was also created to show the brain deficits and how the boy’s life has been altered by each of them. Before the trial, the defense wanted to negotiate, but the attorneys knew this was not the right decision for their client. The case went to trial after the two-year continuance and resolved in the middle of the proceedings.

Attorney Steven B. Effres has received extensive recognition for his trial and litigation work. Since 2011, he has been selected to the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 in the State of California. He has obtained numerous multi-million-dollar results for his clients. Attorney Justin J. Effres earned his J.D. from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law in 2012. Mr. Effres tried his first 5 jury trials in just 21 months. He has played an integral role in recent multi-million-dollar settlements: $11.25M, $5.75M, $2.015M, and $1.6M.

Attorney Nicholas Rowley is the winner of the 2018 Trial Lawyer of the Year and five-time finalist.  He has extensive courtroom experience representing victims of serious injuries and medical malpractice, especially those who have suffered traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, and chronic pain.



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"It is essential when illustrating and animating damages to understand the science behind the injuries. We work with medical experts from all specializations to create effective presentations that are accurate."

Michael Caldwell, Founder & CEO

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