$7.361M Verdict: The Carlson Law Firm

$7,361,314.00 Texas Jury Verdict:

Cervical Fusion Case with Hard Contested Causation

Congratulations to partners Todd Kelly, Esq. and Jaime Lynn, Esq. of The Carlson Law Firm in Austin, Texas for overcoming the challenges of a difficult contested causation case and securing a $7.361 million verdict, both achieving justice for their client and helping to ensure safer practices on the part of the defendant to prevent future similar injuries to motorists across Texas.

This case involved a 72-year-old gentleman who was injured when a heavy turnbuckle dislodged from an oncoming truck and crashed through his windshield.  The plaintiff presented to the ER with only minor initial complaints, including lacerations to his face, superficial injuries to his arm and hand, and cervical pain.  The contested causation in this case stemmed from two central points: firstly, the cervical pain that the plaintiff suffered following the incident corresponded with the area of significant, preexisting (but asymptomatic) cervical degeneration; secondly, the plaintiff fell outside of his home four days after the crash, requiring another ambulance ride to the hospital and resulting in additional reports of back and neck pain.

“The quality of work from Medivisuals is always superb, and I have always found that the value to my cases is clear in the results I am able to obtain with them on my team.”

-Todd Kelly, Esq.

After the fall, the plaintiff began to experience worsening neck and radicular arm symptoms and was treated by a neurosurgeon. In June of 2017, two months after the collision, he underwent an MRI that demonstrated disc protrusions, cervical stenosis, and cervical myelopathy. Stenosis of the spinal cord necessitated a multilevel cervical laminectomy and segmental instrumentation with lateral screw placements also at multiple levels.

Prior to trial, the plaintiff’s medical expenses amounted to approximately $60K, and his future life care plan totaled $1,049,550; so the expenses were not submitted to the jury. The defense offered $60K to settle at mediation – a sum that fell far short of the plaintiff’s initial demand of $750K. The defense increased their offer to $150K just before trial, and the plaintiff increased the settlement demand to $1,000,000. Following a question related to punitive damages during jury deliberations, plaintiffs offered a high/low of $2 million and $1 million respectively, which was rejected.

The defense’s counsel focused heavily on challenges of causation during trial, arguing that the plaintiff’s surgery was unrelated to the collision and was instead necessitated by a combination of preexisting cervical degeneration and the plaintiff’s fall four days after the collision. Confident of success, the defense even denied wrongdoing outright and had been continuing to operate in the same, unsafe manner that lead to the injuries, but the plaintiff’s counsel persevered and were able to secure a verdict nearly ten times greater than the initial settlement demand: a total of $7,361,314.

Reflecting on their experience in trial, the plaintiff’s family wrote their legal team at The Carlson Law Firm to express their gratitude and satisfaction, saying, “There are not enough words to express how we feel about all of you… (we) deeply appreciate all the hard work, time, and effort everyone put in.”

“The impact that the demonstrative exhibits had on the jury were instrumental in telling this story. The demonstrative showing the mechanism of this injury was particularly helpful to explain how this unique collision caused the injury, and the medical exhibits were so accurate that even the defense hired guns could not dispute them.”

-Todd Kelly, Esq.

MediVisuals was entrusted to develop exhibits that would assist in demonstrating the injuries as well as clarifying the causation issue for the jury.  The defense fought the causation aggressively, but with the help of MediVisuals’ illustrations, the plaintiff’s team was able to effectively correlate the injuries with the traumatic event, and the amount of the award for damages was driven by illustrations emphasizing the additional trauma the plaintiff had to endure during the surgical procedure.  View some of the exhibits created for the case below.