Spinal Injury

Nick Rowley Wins $1 Million Jury Verdict With Only $5,000 In Past Medical Bills

- Paul Zuckerman


Nick Rowley used his trial by human approach to win a $1 million jury verdict alongside Dylan Pollard in a case where the plaintiff had incurred only $5,000 in past medical bills.  The verdict was unanimous.

Nick jumped into the case only days before trial.    The mediator’s proposal had been for $60,000, which the Plaintiff agreed to but State Farm would not.  State Farm’s largest offer was $26,000 by 998 after mediation.  The plaintiff had responded with a $50,000 998 demand, which State Farm rejected.  The defendant was represented by an experienced insurance industry lawyer who had been named State Farm’s Trial Lawyer of the Year.  Liability was disputed until shortly before trial as there was no police report.

The plaintiff, a 43-year recently divorced mother of two, was in car crash while en route to her children’s school.  The plaintiff complained of neck pain at the scene and was put in C-Spine precautions and transported by ambulance to UCLA’s ER.  The plaintiff objected to the transport, stating she had to pick up her children from school and was fine and didn’t need to be evaluated.  Upon arrival to the hospital, the plaintiff continued to resist medical treatment, ultimately walking out against medical advice.  Her Glasgow Coma Scale was noted to be perfect as was her neurological exam.  As such, there were no contemporaneous medical records to support the plaintiff’s claims of injuries.  And the only complaint per the paramedics was neck pain.  Further, when the plaintiff saw her family doctor the following day, the doctor noted she only had low back and neck pain and that she was neurologically intact, had no head trauma, no headaches, and did not lose consciousness at the scene.  The neck and back pain resolved in 8 weeks and the Plaintiff was back to doing yoga and having no residuals but for a noticeable change in her short term memory.  The first notation weeks after the collision of this was a physical therapy record where the Plaintiff noted a ‘foggy memory’.  Concussions are often misdiagnosed and certainly misunderstood.  And nobody would think that whiplash (an acceleration deceleration injury could cause a concussion).  Furthermore, post concussion syndrome leaves long term residuals in 10-15% of patients.

Nick handled the trial from mini opening to closing arguments with the exception of two lay witnesses.  He put the medical records in their proper context.  He explained to the jury that the plaintiff’s conduct in the ambulance refusing medical care and at the ER were signs of combativeness, a tell tale sign of having suffered a concussion.  The Plaintiff had a history of two past concussions which Nick used as an advantage explaining throughout the trial how the residual memory loss makes sense because she came to the collision with an unusually susceptible brain.  Nick had no helpful radiological evidence as the brain MRI months later was normal.  Through testimony from the defense neurologist, Arthur Kowell, M.D., Nick explained the limitations of MRI and the common misdiagnosis of concussions in emergency rooms and how patients with concussions are often irrational and refuse medical treatment.  Also, Nick established how there was no true exam at the Emergency Room, and that no CT scan was done which could have shown bruising in the brain which would then not show up later on an MRI.  Plaintiff saw a neurologist 3 times prior to trial who diagnosed post concussion syndrome and testing by neuropsychologist David Lechuga, PhD, showed memory impairment in 2 different tests.  The defense also had the Plaintiff evaluated by a psychiatrist Dr. David Pastor and neuropsychologist Kyle Boone, PhD, both who called Plaintiff a malingerer.  Nick and Dylan established the human story of change through lay witnesses, with the best witness being Plaintiff’s 17 year old daughter.  Nick proved that despite the lack of hard medical evidence from the day of the crash, the plaintiff had suffered a concussion and had residual memory impairment.  Despite the low amount of past medical bills, the plaintiff would endure a lifetime of memory loss, and what is more important than our ability to remember.

Most important, Nick stressed the plaintiff’s human losses, what it meant for her to no longer be herself.  He explained to the jury the need for them to honor this victim and her loss.  Nick’s human approach stood in stark contrast to State Farm’s attempts to smear the plaintiff’s character and paint her as a “worrier” and complainer who was exaggerating or faking her injury.  The defense went through years of Plaintiff’s records with her therapist exposing her history of relationship problems, lack of self worth, anxiety and depression, and humiliate her in cross examination.  Nick responded by calling Defense counsel out as a bully and despicable for doing that to a woman who has never blamed relationship problems or depression on the collision.  Nick asked the jury to come back with a unanimous verdict that tells Leslie she is honorable.  After reading its unanimous verdict, the jury foreperson echoed Nick’s theme, approaching the plaintiff in the hallway, giving her a hug, and telling her: “You’re honorable.”   Every juror hugged the client after the verdict.

Nick served as lead trial counsel.  Dylan examined multiple witnesses at trial.  Of particular note, Dylan located liability witnesses, which was particularly challenging given the lack of a police report. Dylan’s devotion to the plaintiff, belief in the client, and commitment to secure her the justice she deserved was unparalleled.

Wireless Glove Meant to Teach Piano Used to Help in Spinal Cord Injury Rehab

- Paul Zuckerman

California Spinal Injury LawyersA wireless, electronically controlled glove meant to help teach students how to play the piano has become a surprisingly useful instrument in helping spinal cord injury victims recover. The gadget, which uses a small box on the back of a glove to vibrate individual fingers in order to help users identify which fingers they should use while playing the piano, has helped rehabilitating patients make surprising gains in a study conducted at Georgia Institute of Technology, according to Fox News.

The glove was used on patients with tetraplegia, a partial paralysis in the limbs, which has occurred due to injuries suffered approximately one year before the study. During the study, spinal cord injury patients were required to practice piano for 30 minutes for three times each week for eight weeks, with half wearing the glove and the other half not. Additionally, patients wore the glove two hours per day for five days a week with only feeling the vibrations, which would help them to learn to play faster.

At the end of the study, patients performed grabbing and sensing tests, with those who used the glove having much better results than those who did not. Some of the participants revealed that they were able to feel the texture of bed sheets and clothes for the first time since they were injured. According to researchers, significant improvement in rehab one year after an injury is rare for those who suffered a paralyzing injury.

Research such as this study helps to provide new and crucial avenues for spinal cord injury victims to recover, but treatment is often difficult and expensive. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another party, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses and the medical care required to recover. At Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley, our Beverly Hills spinal cord injury lawyers can help you find success in your search for justice and compensation. For more information on how we can help you, contact us at 213-514-8332.

What Devastating Side Effects May Result from a Southern California Spinal Cord Injury?

- Paul Zuckerman

Spinal cord damage is one of the most serious injuries a person can suffer in the event of an accident. While other types of injuries are more likely to result in death, spinal trauma can lead to severe disabilities that can permanently alter a person’s life and make what was once routine nearly impossible. These injuries can result from a wide variety of accidents, but car crashes, slip and falls, and other incidents that result in a direct impact on the spine of a victim are the most likely to cause such damage.Los Angeles Catastrophic Injury Attorney

In order to understand the dangers of such accidents and the trauma you may be suffering from, it is important to understand the nature of such injuries.

The spinal cord transmits neural signals to and from the brain in conjunction with the rest of a person’s body. When the spine is damaged, such as being severed, crushed, stretched, or twisted, this connection is interrupted either partially or fully depending on the nature and severity of the trauma. As such, the victim will have problems controlling his or her body normally, and the higher the injury, the more widespread the effect. Spine injuries at the neck have the possibility of resulting in quadriplegia and even an inability to breathe without mechanical assistance, while injuries at the base of the spine can affect the legs and waist. Any injuries between these two points can affect the rest of the body, such as muscle control in the waist and chest or arm movement.

While recovery from some types of spinal cord injuries is possible, many types can never be healed, leaving victims disabled for life.

At the law firm of Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley, our Beverly Hills spinal cord injury attorneys understand the devastating nature of such injuries and the need for both emergency and long term medical care. If you have suffered a spine injury due to the negligence of another party, our legal team can represent you in your search for compensation. For more information on how we can help in your case, call us today at 213-514-8332.

Understanding the Complexities of Spinal Cord Damage

- Paul Zuckerman

Spinal Cord Injury EffectsWhether it is during a car crash, slip and fall, dog attack, or any other dangerous incident, a spinal cord injury can have some of the most serious and varied effects on a victim. Victims of spinal cord injuries can suffer two categories of damage: complete and incomplete, which depends on whether the spine has been damaged to the point of being fully incapable of sending nerve signals through the point of injury.

But perhaps most importantly, spinal cord damage and its effects on the body are directly related to the exact location at which the injury occurred. The human vertebral column is made up of 33 vertebrae, which are placed into different categories depending on their location. Determining the exact location of spinal cord trauma is key to understanding the effects of the damage and administering proper treatment for a victim.

  • Cervical: C1-C7, the highest section of the spinal column, injuries here affect not only neck muscles, diaphragm control, and arm movement, but all other areas of the body listed below.
  • Thoracic: T1-T12, injuries to this section affect the abdominal muscles and some possible small muscle control in the hand, as well as everything below.
  • Lumbar: L1-L5, trauma damages various types of muscle control in areas of the upper and lower legs, as well as the feet, depending on the exact location of the injury.
  • Sacral: S1-S5, damage here can also harm muscle control of the legs, but is most often directly connected to the feet, bowel, bladder, and sexual function.
  • Coccygeal: Tailbone, also known as the coccyx, injury of this section can result in lasting pain, but is less likely to result in any paralysis.

If you or a loved one has suffered spinal damage in an accident caused by the negligence or recklessness of another party, you deserve to have your rights protected through skillful legal representation. The Beverly Hills spinal cord injury lawyers at Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley are dedicated to helping injured victims find justice and the compensation they need to move on with their lives. To learn more about how we can help you, call 213-514-8332.