Summary: Pedestrian Struck By Cement Truck
This case study covers a tragic accident that occurred in California, where a pedestrian attempting to cross the street in their wheelchair was struck and injured by a cement truck. The plaintiff in the case approached the crosswalk where the truck was stopped. Unfortunately, when the plaintiff attempted to cross the road, the driver of the truck pulled forward and began making a left turn, running directly over the plaintiff and crushing their leg.
The plaintiff’s counsel in this case needed to demonstrate that the driver of the truck had ample opportunities to see the plaintiff in the crosswalk, ultimately failing to yield to the handicapped pedestrian. The primary goal was to place the viewer in the shoes of the driver and recreate the line of sights at the time of the accident. This case study details how advanced legal animations and a virtual reality (VR) legal exhibit created by the Courtroom Animation team helped prove the defendant’s liability and secure a successful seven-figure settlement for the plaintiff.
Challenge: Accident Reconstruction from the Defendant’s POV
While there was no question as to whether or not the driver had struck and injured the plaintiff, the case focused primarily on proving the defendant’s negligent actions, making it clear that the accident was avoidable.
The defense counsel argued that from the driver’s perspective, the plaintiff would not have been visible as they attempted to cross the street. This argument was based on the fact that the driver’s vision might have been obstructed by the cement truck’s size and the positioning of the driver’s seat in relation to the pedestrian.
The plaintiff counsel, on the other hand, argued that the defendant had multiple unobstructive views of the plaintiff and that due to their negligence the plaintiff went unseen.
Steve Vartazarian, Partner of The Vartazarian Law Firm, retained the Courtroom Animation team to create an immersive virtual reality exhibit that allowed the judge and jury to see the accident from multiple angles, helping them to understand the sequence of events leading up to the collision (See Figure 1). The accident reconstruction sought to prove that regardless of the driver’s positioning, the plaintiff would have been fully visible.
Solution: Use a VR-Enabled Legal Animation to Enhance Plaintiff’s Case
The first step in successfully producing the VR exhibit was to recreate the environment in which the accident took place. Accurately modeling the roadway and the entirety of the intersection was critical as any physical feature of the scene needed to match its real world counterpart. Courtroom Animation leveraged video, photographs, 3D laser scans, police reports and more to precisely duplicate the environment (Figure 2). Using this technology, along with specialized software, we created various legal animations that demonstrated the accident from different angles, including the driver’s perspective.
Our experienced animators also used line-of-sight studies to create a VR legal visual that allowed the defense attorney and other interested parties to witness the accident from the driver’s perspective (Figure 3).
The VR legal animation was an especially impactful tool in this case because it allowed the factfinder to move their head in various positions as the defendant and see that the plaintiff would have been fully visible regardless of how the defendant had been sitting. This helped to demonstrate the defendant’s liability.
We worked closely with accident reconstruction experts to ensure that the virtual reconstruction of the incident was based upon reliable data, properly authenticated, and accompanied by adequate foundation. We took into account the size of the cement truck, the positioning of the driver’s seat, and other relevant factors to create an accurate representation of the accident.
Result: 7-Figure Settlement in Personal Injury Case
The VR exhibit provided a vivid and immersive experience for those in the courtroom, bringing the case to life and driving home the plaintiff’s argument. Virtual reality headsets clearly demonstrated that the plaintiff was in full view of the defendant in the moments leading up to the accident. The defense and all other parties could witness firsthand from the driver’s POV which helped to dispel any doubts about the defendant’s liability.
With the use of this demonstrative evidence, the plaintiff counsel successfully negotiated a 7-figure settlement for their client providing justice and closure in the aftermath of the tragic accident.
In conclusion, this case study is a poignant reminder of the importance of pedestrian safety and the devastating consequences of negligence on the road. The use of advanced technology in the courtroom serves as a powerful tool for bringing justice and closure to victims and their families.
If you have a case that involves complex personal injuries or motor vehicle collisions, receive a competitive quote and discover how our personal injury animations can support your civil case!
The Vartazarian Law Firm