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Medical Illustrations Aid in $1.5M Verdict for Woman Injured in T-Bone Collision

It was a warm summer in Santa Cruz, California. Beachgoers, fishers, and tourists headed to the wharf to enjoy the day and fresh seafood. A taxi driver eager to capitalize on the surge of people approached a traffic light on Water Street. The light turned red, and he barreled through the intersection. He t-boned a Volkswagen sedan, inflicting debilitating orthopedic injuries on the driver, a woman named Yolanda. After the Defense refused to accept responsibility for the accident and contested the severity of Yolanda’s injuries, Dan Schaar of Schaar & Silva LLP used a series of medical illustrations to detail her arduous road to recovery, securing a $1,510,000 verdict.

With both vehicles totaled, Yolanda, a frequent hiker and runner in her late 50s, refused ambulatory service and walked over a mile to get home. The next day, her back and shoulder pain worsened. She visited a local hospital where imagery revealed a left rotator cuff impingement, lumbar radiculopathy, disc protrusions, and pinched nerves along her upper body. Doctors stated she would need a lifetime of medical care to ease her symptoms. She was given two choices: proceed with invasive surgeries that may aggravate her pain or undergo conservative measures like physical therapy, chiropractic sessions, and epidural injections.

Yolanda chose the latter and underwent bi-weekly treatment over two years. Unfortunately, her pain continued. Having no options left, she underwent a subacromial decompression and spinal surgery.

Yolanda’s initial attorney referred her case to Dan Schaar. Dan subpoenaed the footage from the taxi’s dashcam. However, the company stated it was lost and argued Yolanda ran a red light. Dan offered to settle the matter for $500,000, but the Defense declined and countered with $300,000. Dan prepared for trial. Finally, only a month before their court date, the Defense released the dashcam video and admitted liability. Subsequently, Dan shifted his focus to Yolanda’s damages.

To bring Yolanda’s medical records to life, Dan shared his evidence and worked with DK Global to create a series of medical illustrations that detailed her painful recovery. The presentation began with a chronological display of Yolanda’s injections over two years. A staggering view of 70 syringes covered her back. Next, Yolanda’s surgeries were illustrated. A shaver debrided her rotator cuff’s inflamed bursa before excising her clavicle. Then, her discectomy and cervical fusion showed an incision in the front of the neck to access her spine. Scalpels, rongeurs, and curettes removed the damaged discs before implanting artificial ones using metal plates.

Dan and his experts used the video during trial. After witnessing Yolanda’s agonizing attempts to recover, the jury returned with a verdict of $1,510,000 in non-economic damages.

Dan Schaar of Schaar & Silva LLP has over a decade of commendable experience in the courtroom. He serves as a Trial by Human instructor, educating attorneys nationwide with his knowledge and expertise. For three consecutive years, he has received recognition from his peers and was nominated for “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association. Additionally, Dan has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” for the past several years.

"It's that extra bump you get from the visuals. It completes the picture, and I think it definitely helped our jurors reach the right result."
Dan C. Schaar - Schaar & Silva LLP
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