Visualize Your Case
Animation Refutes Defense‚Äôs Argument on Liability, Resulting in $824,000 Award

A California Lyft driver was transporting his passenger, a tall, young man named James, in his Honda Civic. James sat unbelted in the backseat, his head a few inches below the roof of the sedan. Suddenly, as the driver made a left turn, the vehicle’s front end was impacted at a low speed by an underinsured motorist. James thrust backward, hitting his head on the roof. He suffered injuries to his spine and shoulder that later worsened, requiring a one-level spinal fusion and arthroscopy surgery to manage his symptoms.

Shortly after the collision, James sought representation from Jon Teller of Wilshire Law Firm, PLC. James had claims against the underinsured driver as well as Lyft since both shared liability. Jon located the underinsured motorist and obtained the carrier’s $15,000 policy. Next, he shifted his focus to Lyft’s culpability and demanded compensation for James under their uninsured motorist coverage.

However, because James was not wearing a seatbelt, the Defense argued they were not liable and refused to acknowledge his injuries. Moreover, they compared the impact’s force to a game of bumper cars, stating that the small change in velocity could not have harmed James. To further contest the claim, they retained a medical expert who argued James’ injuries resulted from degeneration. The Defense offered to settle the matter for $450,000, but Jon refused.

Jon believed the collision caused James’ injuries, irrespective of whether he was buckled in. However, he anticipated difficulty explaining the seatbelt’s irrelevance. Jon retained a roster of experts to rebut the Defense’s arguments, including an accident reconstructionist, a biomechanical engineer, and a spine surgeon. Then, to prepare for arbitration, he called on DK Global to collaborate with his experts. The team created an animation visualizing the crash’s mechanics, demonstrating how a seatbelt would have been futile in preventing James’ injuries.

The animation began with a 3D model of the Lyft driver’s Honda Civic as it was hit in the front. Because of his height, James’ head whipped backward and struck the roof of the car, injuring his cervical spine and tearing his shoulder’s tissues. Photos taken of James in the sedan were displayed, measuring his head only two inches away from the car’s roof. The presentation then showed an alternative reimagining of the accident, with James wearing a seatbelt. However, the seatbelt was ineffective at reducing the force exerted on James’ neck, resulting in the same injuries. Next, the camera swings to James’ left, presenting a skeletal view of his cervical spine as it fractured when his head hit the roof. Finally, the scene replayed with James wearing a seatbelt, ultimately disproving the Defense’s argument.

During arbitration, Jon presented the DK Global animation to the judge and opposing party. After deliberating for six days, Jon proved the effects of the collision would have been identical even if James wore his seatbelt, securing an award of $824,000.

Jon C. Teller is a Partner at Wilshire Law Firm, PLC, advocating for the survivors of catastrophic injuries and sexual misconduct. In 2020, he was recognized as the “Consumer Attorney of the Year” by the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) and has been consecutively named “Top 40 under 40” by The National Trial Lawyers. Additionally, as a Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum member, Jon has produced over $60 million for his deserving clients, attaining a landmark $28,715,000 school-liability settlement in 2019.

"Having an animation for a trial or arbitration is very beneficial. It really makes someone see what our clients have undergone in a way they could not with traditional case evidence."
Jon C. Teller - Wilshire Law Firm
Let's Get Started
Get A Consult

Related Content

Refracted Sunlight Causes Greenhouse Effect for...
$5.29M Verdict for Amputee in Shoulder Surgery...
$39.5M Settlement for Surviving Victims of...