Delayed Medical Treatment Causes CRPS

I wanted the liability to surface, I wanted the damages to surface, I wanted people on the defense to look at it and say “we’re in trouble” and “there’s exposure” – and this animation did exactly that!

– Steve Vartazarian, The Vartazarian Law Firm

Summary: Medical Animation Helps Secure $8 Million Dollar Settlement

This case study examines the challenges faced by a client who experienced a significant delay in medical treatment after suffering a Bennett’s fracture. As a result of the delayed treatment, the client developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), leading to additional complications. With the effective legal representation of Steve Vartazarian and the use of Courtroom Animation’s medical exhibits, the case was successfully resolved, resulting in a settlement of $8,000,000. The complex nature of the fracture and the unfortunate events during the treatment process presented obstacles that needed to be overcome for a favorable outcome. The client suffered long-term damage due to the improper healing of the fracture. This study explores the consequences of the delayed treatment and the subsequent development of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

Bennett fracture
Before: Fresh Bennett fracture
Bennett fracture after delayed medical treatment
After: Fused fracture after delayed treatment

Challenge: Overcoming Insufficient Evidence of Causation in a Delayed Medical Treatment Case

The client suffered a Bennett’s fracture, a specific type of fracture occurring at the base of the thumb where it connects to the wrist. This fracture involves multiple bone fragments and requires prompt surgical intervention to realign the bones and restore thumb function. Failure to treat this fracture promptly can lead to complications such as malunion and long-term disability. Unfortunately, misdirected referrals and difficulty finding an appropriate surgical facility resulted in a 23-day delay in receiving the necessary treatment. As a consequence of this extended delay, the bones misaligned, necessitating a more invasive surgical procedure. Moreover, the client developed CRPS due to the invasive surgery, causing severe debilitation and spreading to other extremities, including the legs and feet. The case was initially tried by another law firm and resulted in a favorable verdict of 7 million dollars. However, the court set aside the verdict due to insufficient evidence regarding causation.

Solution: Medical Animation Helps Highlight Delayed Medical Treatment

Attorney Steve Vartazarian assumed the client’s case, acknowledging the concerns surrounding causation and the consequences of the delayed treatment. To enhance the presentation of the case, The Vartazarian Law Firm enlisted the assistance of Courtroom Animation to develop a visual representation of the case. This visual aid effectively highlighted the critical time frame for surgery and the subsequent invasive procedure required due to the misalignment of the bones. Through months of diligent work Steve Vartazarian and his team conducted a comprehensive investigation and meticulously gathered evidence to establish causation and liability. 

Medical treatment of Bennett fracture preventing CRPS and long term nerve damage
Right: The fresh fracture site on the date of the incident May 19th
Left: Expeditious medical treatment which would have repositioned the fracture for proper healing

Case Timeline: How Delayed Medical Treatment Turned Into CRPS

Initial Injury and Consultation:

  • The client breaks his thumb, sustaining a Bennett’s fracture.
  • The client contacts his health insurance company for timely treatment.

Misdirected Referrals:

  • The health insurance company arranges for the plaintiff to see an orthopedist who is not a hand specialist.
  • The orthopedist notifies the health insurance carrier of the need for a hand specialist.

Delayed Referral to a Hand Specialist:

  • After 23 days, the health insurance company directs the plaintiff to a hand specialist but who is not covered by the health plan.

Struggle to Find Appropriate Facilities:

  • The recommended surgical facility is not covered by the health plan either, causing further delays in scheduling the necessary procedure.

Extended Delay and Worsening Condition:

  • The bones in the plaintiff’s thumb grow together due to the extended delay.
  • The surgical procedure required becomes more invasive than initially anticipated.
  • The plaintiff develops CRPS, leading to physical debilitation and spreads to other extremities including legs and feet.
Delayed medical treatment of Bennett fracture causes Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
Unattended fracture site causes nerve damage in the hand sending pain signals to the brain

“I did everything within my power with the help of this animation to get this case resolved for more than the original verdict was.”

– Steve Vartazarian, The Vartazarian Law Firm

Result: $8 Million Dollar Settlement In Delayed Treatment Case

Supported by compelling evidence and the persuasive medical animations, the strong case presented by Attorney Steve Vartazarian prompted the defendants to swiftly settle the matter. Through skillful negotiation, Vartazarian Law Firm secured a remarkable settlement of $8 million, surpassing the original verdict amount. As a result, the client received appropriate compensation for the damages endured as a consequence of the delayed treatment and the ensuing complications arising from CRPS.

Lessons Learned: Act Fast! Avoid Delayed Medical Treatment

In cases involving complex fractures, such as a Bennett’s fracture, timely and appropriate medical intervention is of utmost importance to prevent complications. This necessitates effective communication and coordination among health insurance companies, healthcare providers, and patients to ensure prompt treatment. Thorough investigation and evidence gathering play a vital role in establishing causation and liability within legal cases. Additionally, the use of visual aids, like those provided by Courtroom Animation, can greatly enhance a plaintiff’s case by offering a clear depiction of complex medical concepts. Lastly, engaging an experienced attorney with specialized knowledge in relevant areas of law can significantly influence the overall outcome of your case.