Congratulations to Todd Romano of the Romano Law Group in West Palm Beach, Florida and Thomas Robes of Robes Law Group in Delray Beach, Florida for their recent result on behalf of two Plaintiffs in a case involving a test drive gone wrong and complications from prior injuries. The Plaintiffs – whose names are to remain confidential, referred to here as Mr. & Mrs. Smith – were both passengers being driven by a dealership employee. The car in question was equipped with “pre-collision stopping” technology. Intending to demonstrate the vehicle’s automatic braking system, the dealership employee aimed the car at a convenient tree and accelerated. Unfortunately, the employee failed to consider the loose gravel surface on which they were driving – a surface that dramatically reduced the automatic braking system’s ability to stop the vehicle. The resulting crash inflicted multiple, significant injuries to both passengers. The challenge in this case arose from the delayed onset of symptoms after the accident as well as the fact that the Plaintiffs, both in their sixties, had prior histories of back and neck problems. To overcome these difficulties, the Romano Law Group made exhaustive preparations and used demonstrative evidence from MediVisuals to turn an initial offer of $0 into a successful resolution matching the Plaintiff’s pre-trial demand.
Despite later development of severe symptoms, the Plaintiffs’ complaints immediately following the accident were mostly of minor, generalized pain, with the exception of a broken nose sustained by Mrs. Smith (fortunately requiring no surgical intervention). However, as symptoms in multiple areas worsened considerably over time, the need for surgery and additional treatment became evident.
Mrs. Smith ultimately required a two-level cervical fusion, lumbar decompression and fusion, and rotator cuff surgeries. Mr. Smith required multiple neck and elbow injections, knee arthroscopy, and a two-level cervical fusion. Mr. Smith also suffered from a post-traumatic stress disorder that was diagnosed following the collision. The couple accumulated approximately $300K in owed past medical expenses and estimated future medical expenses of over $100K, although ongoing treatment was minimal or non-existent during the year leading up to case resolution.
The case was additionally complicated by the discovery of medical records forgotten by the Plaintiffs: a knee injury seven years earlier for which Mr. Smith required injections. The defense naturally used this in their attempt to attribute the Plaintiffs’ surgeries after the accident to unrelated, prior events. The dealership’s attorneys also attempted to foist fault for the accident onto the vehicle manufacturer, claiming that the manufacturer was negligent for failing to adequately train the dealership’s employee regarding the pre-collision stopping technology. The defense even argued that the Plaintiffs themselves were at fault for requesting a demonstration of the braking system.
3D Reconstructions Made with 3D Precision Diagnostics
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Lumbar Spine Fusion Hardware – CT Findings
In light of the causation defenses, Plaintiffs’ counsel did their homework on the Defense medical expert prior to trial and spent considerable time preparing to depose him. They knew every detail of the couple’s voluminous medical records and were able to build a timeline related to the Plaintiffs’ subjective symptoms following the collision and the lack of symptoms prior to the incident, which had been significant factors in the expert’s prior testimony about causation in other cases. During the deposition, they were able to successfully obtain concessions from the defense expert about the relationship of subjective complaints after a traumatic incident to a finding of causation. Plaintiff’s counsel were then able to confront the expert with prior testimony from another case involving an individual who had suffered multiple, similar prior injuries from multiple prior traumatic incidents, and in that case, the same defense expert had supported causation for the most recent incident despite the many prior incidents, prior subjective complaints, and treatment.
Prior to mediation, the Defense’s offer was $0. At mediation, a minimal offer was made that accounted for a portion of the Plaintiffs’ past medical expenses. Following the failed mediation, MediVisuals was contacted to develop demonstrative aids to clearly visualize the severity of the couple’s injuries and their most impressive interventions.
“We had multiple medical illustrations and an animation demonstrating some of our clients’ invasive medical procedures prepared by MediVisuals and approved by our treating physicians/surgeons after consulting with them before trial about their trial testimony. Just before trial, proofs of those exhibits were shared with defense counsel in our trial exhibit disclosure, and it demonstrated to the Defense that case-specific demonstrative exhibits had been prepared well in advance and were ready to be used with the treating doctors and surgeons the next week at trial. One exhibit in particular evoked a strong response from the Defense. The collision itself was also a psychologically traumatic event which resulted in a PTSD diagnosis to Mr._____ . The MediVisuals creative team was able to develop a demonstrative exhibit that was accurate to the scene and which descriptively captured the unexpected and traumatic nature of the shocking incident that initiated the diagnosed PTSD.”
– Joint quote from Plaintiffs’ counsel:
Todd Romano, Esq.
Thomas Robes, Esq.
Just before trial, MediVisuals’ illustrations and animation of an epidural injection were disclosed to the defense by way of the trial exhibit disclosure. Shortly thereafter, the defendants finally confirmed they were admitting the driver’s negligence for the collision itself. As a result, Plaintiffs immediately filed a motion in limine to prevent the Defense from apologizing in front of the jury insofar as it would have been a veiled attempt to claim the Defense were somehow accepting responsibility for the entire incident and the resulting injuries, while they were actually continuing to proffer affirmative defenses that the Plaintiffs’ injuries were pre-existing; that the incident did not cause or aggravate any injuries; that the Plaintiffs allegedly claimed at the scene they were not hurt; and that the Defense continued to partially blame the non-party vehicle manufacturer for allegedly failing to properly train the defendant driver whose actions caused the incident to occur.
Shortly after disclosure of the demonstrative aids and the filing of the motion, the Defense resolved the case for the Plaintiffs’ final pre-trial demand (undisclosed amount).