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$28.5M Settlement For Special Needs Student Struck By Vehicle Under School's Care

It’s probably safe to say that it would be every parent’s worst nightmare to receive news that their child has been severely injured – or worse. So, it’s comforting to know that there are certain programs in place that are geared toward keeping our children safe – especially while they’re at school and out of our care. For children with special needs, there’s a program called IEP – otherwise known as an “Individualized Education Plan” – to help teachers and other school staff members understand how to care for the child’s physical and mental well-being.

Of course, it should go without saying that the IEP is only effective when it’s actually being followed.

Fabian Sanchez, a special education student with executive functioning impairment, was given an Individualized Education Plan by Victor Elementary School that included what the school called “Curb to Curb Transportation” to ensure that he would be able to arrive safely at school in the mornings, and safely at home in the afternoons.

However, when Fabian’s mother moved to a house much closer to the school, the staff decided that it was no longer necessary to provide the “Curb to Curb Transportation” that was outlined in the IEP. So, when the school staff sent Fabian to walk home from school one day, assuming his mother would pick him up on the way, the unsupervised child darted out into traffic and was hit by a car, sustaining facial fractures, broken ribs, collapsed lungs – and a severe, traumatic brain injury that would change his life forever.

After hearing about this tragic incident, Wilshire Law Firm’s Jon C. Teller joined forces with Panish Shea & Boyle’s Ian Samson and Rahul Ravipudi - and together, these powerhouse attorneys prepared to take the school district to trial. Because the school district had declined any monetary compensation for the child, Teller, Sampson, and Ravipudi commissioned DK Global to create a damages summary animation that would explain how serious Fabian’s injuries really were.

Undeniable Injuries Presented Through Enhanced Imagery & Damages Summary

The presentation used a 3D character model of Fabian to outline the various injuries he sustained, allowing the viewer to see each fracture one by one. Then, enriched MRIs and CT scans showed the massive hemorrhaging throughout the boy’s skull, followed by a 3D modeled brain highlighting the impacted areas – and the coinciding deficiencies the boy will subsequently suffer from, including short-term memory loss, mood disorders, and cognitive and speech impairment.

Once presented with the visuals, even the Defense’s medical expert authenticated the contents of the presentation and the judge returned a verdict of $28.5 Million against the school district. Teller, Sampson, and Ravipudi also successfully negotiated changes to the school’s policies and procedures, ensuring a tragedy like this never happens again.

Rahul Ravipudi is a partner at Panish Shea & Boyle LLP and has spent his legal career handling catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases. Ravipudi has been named 2020 Plaintiff’s Lawyer Trailblazer by the National Law Journal and has continuously been recognized as Best Lawyers since 2013 by Super Lawyers.

Ian Samson has been recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star and has successfully secured multi-million dollar settlements for his clients. Since 2017, Samson has focused on advocating for those who have been catastrophically injured or who have lost loved ones, using his experience litigating complex class action lawsuits to assist in his clients’ outcomes.

Jon C. Teller is a senior trial attorney at Wilshire Law Firm assisting clients dealing with catastrophic injuries. Securing numerous multi-million dollar verdicts, he has been recognized as The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 under 40 since 2018 and has been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star for 2 years straight.

"We were constantly updating which graphics we needed and which we didn't, and DK Global was always very responsive. And that way, every deposition I walked into where I needed them, I would have them."
Ian Samson - Panish Shea & Boyle LLP
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