$16 Million Settlement in Motor Vehicle Collision Case
Police officers are put in place to protect and enforce laws to keep everyone safe. But what happens when an officer of the law doesn’t follow those same laws? For Louis Bertsche’s client, it was disastrous. As she progressed on her motorcycle through an intersection with the right of way, a detective in an unmarked oversized pick up truck accelerated into the intersection from his stop sign, colliding with the motorcycle. A motorcycle that was decked out in fuzzy pink accessories and was very visible. The injuries were catastrophic – a near complete amputation of her right leg at the scene, resulting in an above knee amputation; shattered left ankle; shattered right hip; fractured right elbow; fractured right wrist; fractured rib; lacerated kidney; two torn ligaments in her left knee; blood clots; hemorrhagic shock; and a brain bleed. Mr. Bertsche needed a concise way to show all of these traumatic injuries, so he came to Focus Graphics. We recommended an Injury Summary Board which would represent his client, with her image overlaid on a transparent body showing all of the injuries. We also suggested colorizations of the X-rays, showing before and after images of each of the fractures. The result was a striking collection of images that would show defense that they were ready to fight this to the end, and that would shock and elicit sympathy from jurors, should it come to that. It didn’t have to, as the San Diego City Council unanimously approved a $16 million settlement for Mr. Bertsche’s client after two judicial settlement conferences.
“I knew with this case that we needed to find a way to show the injuries suffered by my client in such a way that her story could not be ignored. I knew that the defense would view the case as a ‘leg amputation’ case and I had to effectively feature the impact her various other injuries had on her life both individually and in conjunction with each other and the amputation. Her injuries will continue to plague her the rest of her life and result in significant financial implications. When I consulted with Focus Graphics, their suggestion of an injury summary board was spot-on. Showing all of my client’s injuries in graphic detail on one page was powerful and it humanized her by overlaying her face on the body. The addition of the color illustrations of each pre- and post-operative x-ray produced on a page adjacent to a copy of the actual x-ray showed each individual injury in detail and clearly showed all of the hardware used to put her back together again. They were very effective in communicating the seemingly endless surgeries my client had to endure and the extent of her various injuries. The demonstratives showed that we were prepared to take this in front of a jury, and helped secure a generous settlement for my client. I will continue to use Focus Graphics for any case requiring demonstratives, and any attorney who enters a mediation or trial without these kinds of tools in their bag is leaving money on the table.”
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