Visualize Your Case
Record $15M Settlement for Napa County Truck Crash Attained by John Carpenter

On a clear Spring day along a two-lane stretch of Napa Valley’s Silverado Trail, a city-employed truck driver hauling nearly 30,000 pounds of asphalt traveled down the road. He didn’t notice that up ahead was a White Honda Accord carrying three young women, waiting to turn left into a parking lot. Suddenly, the truck crashed into the small sedan with a colossal amount of force. The destruction looked fatal. While, thankfully, all three women survived, they were far from unscathed. John Carpenter of Carpenter & Zuckerman represented Diana, who was sitting in the back seat of the Accord, and attained a record $15 million settlement during mediation by using a crash reconstruction and damages overview animation.

20-year-old Diana sat in the back seat while her two best friends sat up front. They were on the way to a relative's house, but wanted to stop by a strawberry patch along the way. As they signaled to turn left into the parking lot, the massive truck careened into the rear end of the car at 45 miles per hour — without braking. Diana was thrust forward and hit her face on the back of her friend’s head, knocking her unconscious.

Diana suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, facial lacerations, and multiple orthopedic fractures. She was taken to a hospital and remained in a coma. When she awoke, she could not remember the accident. MRIs of her brain revealed dead brain tissue and damage to the frontal lobe – the area regulating emotions, speech, and more. Doctors consulted with Diana and her family, stating her brain injury would manifest into early-onset dementia in her thirties.

Considering the magnitude of the crash, Diana made a remarkable recovery after several months. She began exercising and jogged three times a week with no neck or back pain. Indeed, when Diana returned to her studies at a state university, her grades were even better than before the crash. Unfortunately, her mental difficulties persisted and aggravated pre-existing psychiatric impairments. She contacted John Carpenter to lead her legal recourse.

John needed to show the unseen truth: Diana’s mental health and cognition worsened after the collision. However, because of Diana’s recovery and improved grades, the Defense downplayed the severity of her damages. They retained neuropsychologists who evaluated her post-incident IQ at 98.

John’s mission was to communicate to the Defense just how much the impact affected her. He discovered Diana learned English as a second language, was an avid reader, and attained ACT/SAT scores in the 93rd percentile. John brought on an educational psychologist who translated Diana’s high school ACT/SAT scores to a pre-incident IQ of 118 to 124, revealing that she lost an astonishing 20 IQ points.

Using the Defense's findings against them, John framed the case around Diana’s IQ score. He determined the best way to communicate his arguments was with visual aids. Thus, John and his experts collaborated with DK Global, creating animated demonstrative exhibits that reconstructed the crash and illustrated the severity of Diana’s damages.

The animation set the scene with the 24,000-pound Napa County dump truck loaded with over 28,000 pounds of asphalt. Then, an interior view from inside the Honda Accord showed the massive vehicle in the rear windshield barreling towards Diana and her friends. The collision was reconstructed with the experts’ direction, depicting the women being hit with a force equal to a sedan crashing at 160 miles per hour. The incident's aftermath captured the destruction before illustrating Diana’s injuries. Finally, a 3D overview of Diana’s damages, including her rib fractures, brain hemorrhage, and subdural hematomas, were displayed adjacent to her medical imagery.

John shared the animation with the Defense and their multiple insurance carriers. After reviewing the video, Napa County’s counsel opted to mediate the case. As a result, John attained Diana an unprecedented $15 million.

For over 25 years, John Carpenter of Carpenter & Zuckerman has secured monumental awards for his deserving clients. With a focus on love and truth, John prides himself on attaining justice for those devastated by wrongdoings. In 2017, John was nominated for “Attorney of the Year” by the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles and was selected among the “Top 100 Attorneys” by The National Trial Lawyers.

"One of the reasons I think this case settled for what it did is because the defense knew that this [DK Global] video was coming in."
John Carpenter - Carpenter & Zuckerman
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