$3.63M Verdict Colorizing Numerous Fractures After Car Hits Scooter

S. Edmond El Dabe and Jonathan Ritter, El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, Los Angeles, CA

A husband and wife were out riding their scooter when another vehicle ran a red light and the scooter collided with the front passenger door.

The husband suffered a fractured clavicle, knee, and thumb. His clavicle and knee fractures would each require an open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) procedure. He would also need a third surgery to clean out adhesions within his knee. His future care would require him to undergo a knee arthroscopy, a patellofemoral replacement 10 to 20 years later, and a full knee replacement 10 to 15 years after that.

The wife suffered a comminuted clavicle fracture, ulna fracture, and a severely lacerated forearm. Her fractures would also require ORIF procedures, and her forearm would need to be debrided, irrigated, and sutured closed.

Attorneys S. Edmond El Dabe and Jonathan Ritter needed to convey their clients’ pain, suffering, and ongoing recovery to a jury. They tasked High Impact with adding color to their client’s pre- and post-op X-rays to familiarize jurors with the otherwise black-and-white films. They also tasked us with illustrating the surgical procedures his clients would need to undergo as a result of the injuries.

After being presented with the following visuals, jurors awarded the victims a $3,626,000 verdict, which included $2,384,000 for the husband and $1,242,000 for the wife.

S. Edmond El Dabe, Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers
After the verdict, jurors stated that the injury illustrations impacted their view of the seriousness of the injuries. I saw the jury paying attention to them when necessary and I believe they added value to the verdict.
S. Edmond El Dabe, Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers

Exhibits A-C: Highlighting Husband’s Fractures

The first three exhibits focus attention on the husband’s three fractures to his clavicle, knee, and thumb. Adding color to these otherwise black-and-white images helped jurors understand what was being depicted in these radiographic films.

Comminuted Mid-Clavicle Fracture Before and After Surgery

The first Color Diagnostic illustrates the husband’s mid-clavicle fracture both before and after having a metal plate fixated to his collarbone to reduce the fracture. The original films are pictured in the bottom-left corner without color for reference.

Fractured Patella Before and After Surgery

The next image highlights the husband’s severely fractured patella in his right knee, an extremely painful injury that would require a lifetime of surgical recovery. Realistic color added powerful context to both the pre- and post-op conditions.

Fracture Through the Base of the Thumb

The third Color Diagnostic exhibit shows a fracture through the base of the first metacarpal from a dorsal angle. Comparing the colorized image to the original black-and-white film in the lower-right corner shows clearly the amount of value color adds to this visual.

Exhibits D-F: Illustrating Husband’s Surgeries

After establishing the husband’s damages, Mr. Ritter needed to walk jurors through the surgical procedures his client would undergo as a result of his injuries. We illustrated the husband’s two ORIF surgeries and the arthroscopic lysis of adhesions that was needed to clear out scar tissue around the knee.

Open Reduction and Internal Fixation of Husband’s Left Clavicle

The first illustration demonstrated the step-by-step ORIF of the Plaintiff’s left clavicle fracture. After cutting open the shoulder, a mini-frag plate was screwed into the top of the clavicle and a second plate was screwed into the anterior. Illustration captured each of these surgical chapters in vivid detail.

Open Reduction and Internal Fixation of Husband’s Right Patella

The Plaintiff also needed an ORIF to realign and secure his fractured patella, which also involved the debridement of hematoma and devitalized tissue. The illustration concludes by showing the final fixation with two cannulated screws.

Arthroscopic Lysis of Adhesions in Husband’s Knee

Two months after the surgeries, the intra-articular scar tissue adhesions began to disrupt the husband’s range of motion in his knee. He would need to undergo an arthroscopic lysis to clear out the adhesions. Seeing this post-traumatic arthrofibrosis anchored the jury’s understanding of not only the patient’s pain but also the limited mobility he would likely suffer for the rest of his life.

Exhibits G-H: Highlighting Wife’s Fractures

Similar to how we presented the husband’s damages, we added color to the wife’s X-ray films to focus attention on her severely fractured collarbone and forearm.

Fractured Clavicle Before and After Surgery

The image on the left depicts her severely fractured clavicle; the image on the right shows how a metal plate was screwed into the length of the bone to secure it. Color helped emphasize the fractures with brutally realistic context.

Fractured Ulna Before and After Surgery

The next Color Diagnostic focuses attention on the wife’s forearm injury, followed by the hardware that was needed to reduce fractures and secure the bone. The original black-and-white X-ray films are presented in the bottom-right corner of each slide, which shows the significant amount of context color adds to radiographic evidence.

Exhibits I-K: Illustrating Wife’s Surgeries

After establishing the magnitude of damages suffered by the wife, it was time to demonstrate to jurors how each of these injuries was repaired, step-by-step. We illustrated the most important chapters of each procedure to help jurors understand the totality of this person’s experience.

Open Reduction and Internal Fixation of Wife’s Patella

First, surgeons cut open the patient’s shoulder and reduced the fracture using a mini-frag plate. A second, larger plate was then screwed in over top of the smaller to complete the ORIF.

Debridement and Irrigation of Wife’s Lacerated Forearm

Before surgeons could address the forearm fracture, her laceration would need to be debrided of infectious material and then irrigated. The wound would later be closed with sutures.

Open Reduction and Internal Fixation of Wife’s Ulna

Finally, doctors were able to reduce the forearm fractures and secure the bone by screwing metal plates into her ulna. The final image depicts the completion of the ORIF.

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