$500K Verdict: Illustrated Spine Injuries Overturn Underestimation

Matthew Price, Esq., Law Offices of Brent A. Duque, Newport, CA

A woman lived two-and-a-half years with chronic lower back pain after an insurance company severely underestimated the level of damage to her spine, and under-delivered on the care needed to fully rehabilitate her life-changing injury.

Although the patient’s MRI showed she suffered six disc protrusions that would require spinal surgery, the insurance company would only offer pain treatment in the form of epidural steroid injections.

As years progressed and pain permeated, she requested a second MRI that showed the same five disc protrusions had worsened and would require major surgery. The patient was recommended a lumbar angioplasty to relieve pressure under two of the vertebrae, but the insurance company refused to compensate. The largest amount the Defense was willing to offer was $18K.

Attorney Matthew Price, Esq., of Duque Law needed to show why his client not only deserved compensation for her lumbar surgery - she would likely also need compensation for a complete discectomy, and probably more surgeries to address her other disc protrusions.

Mr. Price tasked our team with delivering the following exhibits:

  • Color Diagnostics to compare how her spinal injury worsened from 2013 to 2015.
  • Treatment Illustration to show the epidural steroid injections she received between three of her six disc protrusions.
  • Surgery Illustration to demonstrate the angioplasty she received to alleviate the chronic pain that steroid injections failed to address.

The visual presentation helped the jury understand the severity of the plaintiff’s damages, how they were treated, how they worsened, and why her severe condition warranted an angioplasty. Jurors awarded Mr. Price’s client a $500K verdict - more than 27 times what the Defense told the jury this case was worth.

Exhibit A: Colorizing Injury Progression

This first exhibit highlights two snapshots in time of the plaintiff’s spine injuries, comparing 2013 and 2015. The colorized MRI’s clearly show the victim suffered five severe disc protrusions that worsened significantly.

Matthew Price, Esq., Law Offices of Brent A. Duque
The plaintiff’s treating physician and retained expert who actually performed the surgery used the illustrations to explain in detail why the surgery was required by demonstrating what exactly was causing Plaintiff’s pain.
Matthew Price, Esq., Law Offices of Brent A. Duque

Exhibit B: Treating Pain Instead of Injury

Instead of affording the patient a lumbar spine angioplasty or discectomy, the insurance paid for pain treatments that would only address a small percentage of the actual damage. The plaintiff would receive epidural steroid injections between the L5, L4, and L3 vertebrae - and the rest of her spinal injury would be ignored.

Matthew Price, Esq., Law Offices of Brent A. Duque, Newport, CA
[The expert] then used the second illustration to show what the surgery entailed and how it would relieve her symptoms. The jury seemed to very much value the ability to see a clear depiction of the condition and also have visual aids when learning why Plaintiff was in pain, what the procedure she had entailed, and why that procedure was going to alleviate her symptoms.
Matthew Price, Esq., Law Offices of Brent A. Duque, Newport, CA

Exhibit C: Long Overdue Surgery

Finally after the injury worsened significantly, the patient received this angioplasty to patch the issue. However, the surgery simply relieved pressure from two vertebrae, and ignored addressing other damage throughout her spine. With the new verdict, the plaintiff will now be able to afford a much more intensive discectomy, and finally be able to address the painful injuries throughout her entire lumbar spine.

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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