$20M Verdict On $2M Offer: Illustrating Damage After Swing Set Smashes Skull

Sean Claggett, Esq., Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, and Al Lasso, Esq., Lasso Injury Law, Las Vegas, NV

After an HOA neglected to maintain its playground equipment despite multiple warnings, a 42-pound swing set bar crushed a teenager’s head, resulting in severe skull deformity and permanent brain damage.

Sean Claggett, Esq., and Al Lasso, Esq., needed to show jurors the damage his client suffered as a result of the injury, which the HOA could have easily prevented by maintaining its equipment for as little as $150 per month. The Defense’s largest offer after closing arguments was $2M. Jurors ultimately awarded their client a $20M verdict.

ABC Action News explains what happened.

Liability

The HOA had been warned on three different occasions after the swing set failed that it needed a maintenance and inspection plan in place to ensure the swin gset was safe - but the HOA chose not to act on these recommendations. This negligence violated its own CC&Rs, the manufacturer’s warranty, CPSC recommendations, ASTM recommendations, and Nevada Law.

As time went by, the screws that held the swing set’s crossbar became increasingly loose. The top bar began to rotate and cause friction between the crossbar and the swing frame until the metal bar literally ripped apart and crushed the Plaintiff’s skull.

Damages

Mr. Claggett and Mr. Lasso needed to show jurors the intense magnitude of pain and suffering the HOA’s negligence caused for his client, which included permanent brain damage, skull deformity, and a lifetime of depression, memory loss, migraines, and muscle spasms. He tasked our illustrators with creating Color Diagnostics® to highlight skull deformity, encephalomalacia, and brain damage throughout his client’s MRI’s.

Sean Claggett, Esq., Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, Las Vegas, NV
Working with Tyler at High Impact is always a great experience. Tyler is responsive and collaborates well with us – he knows our goals and he works hard to make our visions come into reality for the jury to see what we are talking about.
Sean Claggett, Esq., Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, Las Vegas, NV

This Color Diagnostic highlights skull deformity in the MRI of the Plaintiff.

This first Color Diagnostic highlights the intense amount of skull deformity and encephalomalacia the Plaintiff suffered from both coronal and parasagittal perspectives. Adding color helped familiarize jurors with what was being presented in these otherwise ambiguously black-and-white MRI scans.

Sean Claggett, Esq., Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, Las Vegas, NV
The Color Diagnostics of the brain clearly demonstrated for the jury the severity of the injury and it allowed our treating doctors to demonstrate that the injury was at the junctions of the frontal lobe and the parietal lobe. There was no doubt that this was a severe injury after the jury saw the High Impact demonstrative exhibits.
Sean Claggett, Esq., Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, Las Vegas, NV

This Color Diagnostic shows Encephalomalacia in the posterior left frontal lobe.

Encephalomalacia involves the softening or loss of brain tissue after a severe TBI. This second Color Diagnostic highlights the extremely prevalent loss of brain tissue in the patient’s posterior frontal lobe. Two axial shots depict the location of brain injury at two different depths.

Sean Claggett, Esq., Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, Las Vegas, NV
The Jurors' reactions were clear: they understood the devastation of the brain injury.
Sean Claggett, Esq., Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, Las Vegas, NV

Impact

The Defense’s highest offer before closing arguments was $100,000. After closing arguments, the Defense raised its offer to $2,000,000. The offers were rejected, and the jury ultimately awarded the victim a $20,000,000 verdict.

Sean Claggett, Esq., Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, Las Vegas, NV
The Color Diagnostics absolutely contributed to the verdict because it made it clear to the jury that the injury was severe and permanent. Our radiologist Dr. Jeff Markham explained that he normally sees severe brain injuries that are 1/100 the size so the jury really understood the severity of the injury.
Sean Claggett, Esq., Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, Las Vegas, NV

High Impact’s team of visual strategists, artists and developers can build and customize your digital presentation for any case involving personal injury, medical malpractice, birth trauma - or any subject involving complex information.

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