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$2,300,000 Award for Bicyclist’s Traumatic Brain Injury Resulting from Work Zone Violation

Florida’s Gulf Coast is home to some of the country’s most rapidly growing communities. Construction companies across the region busily develop the area’s infrastructure. Nearby one construction site, one company had left a large, unmarked water hose across the adjacent public sidewalk for months and did not close the pathway. One sunny Friday morning, a woman and her husband went on a bike ride around their neighborhood. Along their path, they rode by the construction site, and her front wheel clipped the unmarked hose. She was thrown over the front of the bike and landed headfirst on the hot cement. As a result, the woman suffered a devastating brain injury and orthopedic fractures to her skull, pelvis, ribs, and clavicle, so traumatic that she could not return to work as a realtor. The woman’s husband reached out to Joe Kopacz of Morgan & Morgan to help navigate their legal recourse and hold the construction company accountable.

Because the hose was unmarked, Joe’s first obstacle was to find out who owned it. When he finally located the construction company, they denied responsibility for the incident and argued the woman had comparative fault for not being aware of her surroundings. To reinforce his claim, Joe retained a team of experts to testify, including a Florida Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) professional who said the company was liable because they should have closed off the sidewalk. To refute the Defense’s comparative negligence claim, Joe brought on a human factors consultant who established his client did not have enough time to react to the hose. Next, Joe looked to convey the gravity of the woman’s condition by retaining several medical specialists to evaluate her. Then, a lifecare planner quantified the cost of her future medical care and determined her economic losses.

Finally, with ironclad evidence and testimony to support his arguments, Joe contacted DK Global. His goal was to develop an animated reconstruction of the incident and to illustrate his client’s damages.

The animation began with an overhead view, showing where the Plaintiff was injured. The presentation revealed that the hose had been left on the sidewalk for four months, violating MOT regulations. Then, the woman’s fall was recreated, illuminating her coup-contrecoup injury as her unprotected head collided with the cement. Next, all the woman’s orthopedic damages were outlined, showing her immense pain and suffering. Her medical imagery was colorized and displayed, allowing a potential jury to better identify her brain damage. Finally, with direction from Joe’s neurologist, the afflicted lobes of the woman’s brain were shown alongside her corresponding mental deficits.

Joe’s trial in September of 2020 was postponed due to the pandemic. Consequently, Joe attended a non-binding arbitration, armed with the DK Global animation. After presenting the visual and his expert testimony, Joe obtained a $2,300,000 arbitration award for his client.

Before joining Morgan & Morgan, Joe Kopacz worked as a Defense Attorney for numerous large insurance companies. He received invaluable experience and knowledge that now aids his current clients who suffered catastrophic injuries. Recently, Joe has received an “AV Preeminent” rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the best peer rating given to attorneys who rank at the highest level of professional excellence.

"The visual aids make the case much simpler, much more digestible... the animations and what DK Global offers definitely helps."
Joseph Kopacz - Morgan & Morgan
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