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Lighting Expert and Reconstruction Animation Key to Seven-Figure Settlement for Cyclist’s Wrongful Death

A driver of a large fuel truck stopped behind a public bus at a Las Vegas intersection. He waited to make a right turn and scanned ahead, looking for potential oncoming traffic. However, he failed to check for pedestrians in the crosswalk to his right and proceeded. He ran over a cyclist, fatally dragging her underneath the truck. Larry J. Smith and Brett A. Carter of Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen represented the woman. They attained a confidential settlement for her surviving family using an animation that showed the driver’s perspective that morning.

First responders investigated the area and recorded the driver’s statement. The driver asserted that the bus in front of him and the sun’s position made it impossible to see the woman coming. Thus, police declared the woman liable for the incident, citing traffic laws that forbid cyclists from using the crosswalk and traveling in the opposite lane.

Shaken by the woman’s death, her family contacted Brett Carter and Larry Smith to help clear her of fault and attain justice. Larry and Brett retained an accident reconstructionist to examine the fuel truck’s event data recorder and analyze the driver’s inputs. They also brought on an illumination specialist to determine the sun’s position that morning and verify if it affected the driver’s vision.

As they prepared for mediation and a potential trial, Larry and Brett anticipated they would need to show the driver’s point-of-view that day. They knew the best way to do that was with a reconstruction animation. However, to ensure the visualization would be admissible in court, it needed to be accurate and authenticated by Larry and Brett’s experts. Thus, they brought on DK Global to create an animation using their experts’ testimony and data. DK Global’s 3D Generalist, Alain Manzo, worked closely with the illumination expert to precisely recreate the sun’s position and the surrounding environment. Then, the 3D vehicle’s movements were simulated using the positional data obtained from the truck. Finally, the Defendant’s point-of-view was simulated using his height.

The animation commenced with a view behind the fuel truck as it prepared to turn right into the intersection. The woman was clearly shown in the middle of the crosswalk. Then, the woman noticed the truck advancing toward her and attempted to move out of the way, but it was too late. The driver continued for almost 100 yards before realizing what he had done and parked. Next, the Defendant’s point-of-view demonstrated how the sun’s rays did not impede his sight. And finally, the animation transitioned into a photo taken of the scene, showing the accuracy of the recreated environment.

Larry and Brett shared the animation with the opposing counsel, showing the woman’s death was preventable. Shortly after, the Defense deposed DK Global’s 3D Generalists to contest the animation's accuracy. However, the artists asserted the demonstrative was created using real-world data and authenticated by Larry and Brett’s experts. With the driver undoubtedly liable, the Defense looked to resolve the matter and offered a confidential multi-million-dollar settlement, clearing the woman of fault.

Lawrence J. Smith is an attorney in Nevada with over 20 years of experience relentlessly advocating for his clients. A member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Lawrence has recovered multiple high-value verdicts. Lawrence was selected into the prestigious Super Lawyers collection in 2019, recognized by his peers for his professional achievements and philanthropy.

Nevada Justice Association Past President Brett A. Carter has been recognized with several awards for his work within the personal injury field since he began practicing in 1996, including The National Trial Lawyers “Top 100 Trial Lawyers.” A recipient of “America's Top 100 Attorneys Lifetime Achievement”, Brett is also a “Multi-Million Dollar Advocate” and Super Lawyers member. In 2019, Brett was featured as one of “Las Vegas' Top Lawyers” by Real Vegas Magazine.

"Our attorney client was present ... he basically said, 'Look, when they saw the animation it was pretty much over. There really wasn't a defense or rebuttal for them.'"
Alex Deaconson - DK Global, Inc.
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