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Truck Driver’s Negligence Causes Crash, Traumatic Brain Injury for Business Owner

In the darkness of a December evening, a semi-truck driver barreled down a Georgia highway, indifferent to construction traffic building ahead. That lack of attentiveness literally crushed the lifelong dreams of a small business owner named Steve. The semi-truck slammed into Steve’s vehicle, causing a severe accident. In the crash, Steve not only suffered a traumatic brain injury — he also lost the ability to manage the business he’d worked to build for 20 years.

Steve, an audio/visual specialist, had been driving a small box truck down a three-lane highway in Georgia on his way to a job in Florida when he pulled off to stop for gas. Upon re-entering the highway, he observed signs warning drivers to merge because the first lane would be closed for road construction. Steve complied and moved into the middle lane, slowing down to match the bottlenecked traffic. However, the semi-truck driver failed to notice the changing highway conditions. At 60 mph, the semi-truck rear-ended Steve’s box truck. Because the semi driver didn’t brake until impact, Steve’s truck rolled over several times after being hit. Steve was found draped over his seat, still wearing his seatbelt.

The night of the accident, a friend introduced Steve’s family to Timothy Whiting of Whiting Law Group. Tim’s law firm specializes in large truck accidents, and they immediately knew that they needed to jump on the case.

Steve remained in a coma for roughly two weeks in a Georgia hospital. He was eventually released and flown by helicopter back to his home in Chicago. Steve spent more time in the hospital once he arrived in Illinois, trying to rehabilitate. Steve had to re-learn how to walk, talk, and use his hands to eat and care for himself. He made a miraculous recovery. However, Steve’s emotional damage and impaired cognitive abilities ultimately compromised his ability to make a living as a business owner.

Steve’s case needed to overcome several obstacles. First, Steve had no recollection of the accident whatsoever. Second, he had recovered miraculously from his traumatic brain injury, though he would be faced with life-long challenges due to permanent damage to his frontal lobe. In the first mediation meeting, the Defense used both of these factors to create a theory that Steve had cut off the driver of the semi, caused the accident himself, and, because he had recovered so well from his injury, needed only a small settlement.

Seeing the challenges ahead after the first mediation, Tim gathered a team of experts, including an accident reconstructionist, a truck safety expert, a doctor specializing in traumatic brain injuries, and a life care planner. They also assembled some eyewitnesses who saw portions of the crash. Portion by portion, Tim and his team constructed their argument to attain justice for Steve. With the pieces in place, Tim sought the help of DK Global to connect the dots with a visual presentation. Tim, his experts, and DK Global collaborated to develop two animations illustrating the crash scene and the damage to Steve’s brain.

The first animation reconstructed the collision. Beginning with a drone-style flyover, the animation showed where the construction signs started to warn drivers of merging traffic ahead and to slow down. Next, the presentation showed the accident from a variety of angles, including a first-person and bird’s eye view, depicting Steve’s truck being hit. The animation revealed how the Defendant should have known that danger was ahead, chose to ignore the signs, and caused the crash. In addition, the Defense’s theory that Steve caused the accident himself was also quickly disproven when DK Global and Tim showed that if Steve had caused the accident, his truck would actually have rolled the opposite way.

Next, the second animation took an in-depth look at the kinds of frontal lobe injuries Steve suffered — animations that the Defense wasn’t able to dispute. The video showed a 3D image of Steve’s brain, a reenactment of the blow Steve received to his head during the accident, and an explanation of the effects of rotational forces on his brain. The animation included Steve’s actual brain scans and the corresponding struggles Steve now suffers, such as impaired reasoning, problem-solving, cognitive flexibility, and much more. Tim’s team also reiterated that as a result of Steve’s accident, he could no longer manage his business and travel to work for clients due to post-traumatic stress disorder.

The animations from DK Global, along with expert testimony and the accurate portrayal of the emotional damage Steve now carries with him, were brought to the final mediation with the Defendant’s legal team. The Defense realized they could not refute the Defendant’s negligence, and the exposure from a jury trial would be extremely costly to the trucking company. As a result, Tim secured Steve a $5,000,000 settlement.

Timothy M. Whiting of Whiting Law Group is a nationally board-certified truck accident trial attorney. Tim works on behalf of victims who have suffered as a result of the negligent conduct of trucking companies, drivers, and others involved in the transporting chain. He has represented victims of trucking, auto, and construction accidents, as well as malpractice and personal injury cases around the US. Licensed to practice in Wisconsin and Illinois, Tim was named one of the Top 10 trucking accident trial lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association, has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association since 2008, and is rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell.

"3D animation is just one of the most powerful expressions of visual strategies that you can use in a case."
Tim Whiting — Whiting Law Group
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