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The Power of Expert Testimony

Crosley Law Achieves Major Jury Award

A vital component of many personal injury cases is the use of expert testimony to dispute or support various elements of a claim. It certainly helps your case when the evidence is in your favor, but sometimes experts are necessary to add credibility to arguments and provide clarity concerning the relevant details of the case in question.

To provide the best possible legal representation for our clients, Crosley Law Firm enlists help from a vast network of educated and accomplished medical, manufacturing, and engineering experts. These experienced professionals are able to confidently and accurately determine the nature of the causes and effects of all varieties of personal injury. By utilizing the knowledge, skill, and experience of trusted experts, Crosley Law Firm sends a clear message to insurance defense counsel: We will not be bullied. We will not be intimidated. And we are always up to the challenge.

Many insurance companies also use expert testimony to emphasize their perspective, but those experts are often paid top dollar to manipulate the facts with confusing jargon, misinformation, and half-truths in order to advance their agenda. Carol Eckermann’s insurance company hoped they could use these tactics to grind her into submission, but rather than giving up, she enlisted the assistance of Crosley Law Firm to launch a successful counterattack.

Ms. Eckermann enlisted the assistance of Crosley Law Firm to launch a successful counterattack.

Double Impact

Carol Eckermann was returning home in the left lane of Loop 1604 – a road that can sometimes be heavily congested and that requires diligent driving. Abruptly, the truck in front of her shifted from the left lane to the right lane. Suddenly, there was a stalled vehicle directly in front of her without its hazard lights on. She was able to brake in time to avoid hitting the car, but she immediately felt the force of two separate impacts from behind.

The driver of the vehicle immediately behind her (a 2009 Mazda 6) claimed that he had stopped 8 to 9 feet short of impact and that his car had been thrust into Ms. Eckermann’s as a result of being rear-ended by the vehicle behind him (a 2009 Honda Accord). However, the driver of the Accord stated that she did not believe the damage inflicted on Ms. Eckermann’s vehicle could have been caused by her car pushing the Mazda 6 into Ms. Eckermann’s 2006 Honda Civic. Instead, she believed that the Mazda 6 had first made impact with the Civic before being rear-ended by her Accord.

In the peace officer’s report, the driver of the Accord was cited as having been tailgating and failing to pay adequate attention to the road. She claimed to have been traveling 3 to 4 car lengths behind the Mazda 6, but by the time she stomped on the brakes, it was too late. The collision caused a domino effect in which the Mazda 6 behind Ms. Eckermann was pushed into her rear bumper.

The collision caused a domino effect in which the Mazda 6 behind Ms. Eckermann was pushed into her rear bumper.

The driver of the Accord believed that the Mazda 6 had first made impact with the Civic before being rear-ended by her Accord.

Total Property Damages

Although the accident report cited “moderate” damage to Ms. Eckermann’s 2006 Honda Civic, her car had to be towed from the scene. The repairs were estimated at $5,134.18, and her vehicle required nearly a dozen significant repairs and replacements, including:

  • Rear bumper
  • Energy absorber
  • Right spacer
  • Right reinforcement
  • Right tail lamp assembly
  • Right quarter panel
  • Right air outlet vent
  • Floor pan assembly
  • Pull floor pan
  • Rear body panel
  • Right rear lamp pocket

The repairs were estimated at $5,134.

Medical Visits, Diagnosis, and Procedures

But property damage was the least of Ms. Eckermann’s worries following the crash. At the scene, Eckermann reported that the back of her head had collided with the headrest of her car seat twice, but she deferred treatment despite also having suffered an injured ankle. Within 48 hours of the accident, however, she began experiencing significant soreness. Three weeks later, in early October, she consulted her primary care physician because she was suffering from headaches and neck pain.

Another month passed and the pain had increased to the point where she again traveled to her physician to be examined. She couldn’t sleep through the night and was experiencing nagging ear ringing (tinnitus). The doctor determined that she had limited range of motion in her neck and significant pain when attempting to exceed her limited range of motion. X-rays were ordered, and Ms. Eckermann was diagnosed with a displaced cervical disc, neck strain, and edema. She was prescribed eight physical therapy sessions between 11/21/12 and 12/10/12 and attended each session. After she completed her therapy, it was determined that her symptoms could be managed with exercises done from home, and it was suggested that she continue monthly check-ups for the next 12-24 months.

In late January, however, she once more visited her physician complaining of serious neck pain, dizziness, and hearing loss. Her doctor discovered fluid accumulation in her tympanic membranes and diagnosed Ms. Eckermann with acute serous otitis media. She continued to experience neck pain, headaches, and tinnitus through July of 2013. Then, an MRI was ordered, and this imaging found herniation and compression throughout her cervical spine. In September of 2013, Ms. Eckermann received a cervical translaminar epidural steroid injection, which lessened the pain and eliminated the tinnitus for about one week. She received a second injection in early October of 2013, which resulted in a 90% reduction in pain but only alleviated the discomfort for four days.

In January of 2014, Ms. Eckermann met with a surgeon at Alamo Neurological Institute in San Antonio, Texas to review her treatment options, including surgery. They determined that an anterior discectomy and fusion along C4-6 was “medically necessary,” as these were the areas revealed by diagnostic imaging to be responsible for her afflictions. She underwent the procedure and was able to return to work mostly pain free within six weeks. However, it was likely that she would need further surgery along adjacent areas of her cervical spine in the future due to the damage inflicted and the likelihood of adjacent segment disease.

In late January, however, she once more visited her physician complaining of serious neck pain, dizziness, and hearing loss.

Doctor’s determined that an anterior disectomy and fusion along C4-6 was “medically necessary.”

Expert Testimony

Months passed, and then years. Eckermann became nervous about receiving reimbursement for her medical and repair bills, and she was concerned about her health. She tried pursuing her case alone at first, but after becoming anxious and overwhelmed, she decided to enlist the services of Crosley Law Firm. They assured her that they would handle her legal issues and encouraged her to make sure her physical and mental health were her top priorities.

From the outset, the staff and associates at Crosley Law Firm went to work putting Carol at ease and fighting to bring the truth to light. To that end, they deftly anticipated the defense counsel’s legal strategy and took aggressive measures to retain the perfect expert witnesses to defeat it. The Crosley team utilized testimony from six experts, including Ms. Eckermann’s medical providers, an auto accident investigator, an auto valuation assessor, and a medical forensics researcher.

The core dispute in the case was the source of Ms. Eckermann’s injuries. The defense claimed that her injuries predated the car accident she had been involved in, but Crosley’s team of experts were able to prove that this was not the case, and the combined testimony of these experts exposed the defense’s erroneous and deceitful tactics and brought the truth to light.

Thomas Crosley

Ms. Eckermann tried pursuing her case alone at first, but after becoming anxious and overwhelmed, she decided to enlist the services of Crosley Law Firm.

The initial accident report stated that the double impacts Ms. Eckermann felt were the result of her body being subject to violent motion and seatbelt restriction. It also reported that the injuries Ms. Eckermann was experiencing were consistent with the significant force of the collision. Further investigation into the accident and Ms. Eckermann’s injuries was conducted by Dr. Charles Bain (for the defense) and Dr. Michael Freeman (for Ms. Eckermann), an MD and PhD specializing in forensic medicine and epidemiology. These two experts came to decidedly opposing views, but it was Dr. Freeman’s well-researched and analyzed version of events, as well as his exposure of Dr. Bain’s irresponsible use of junk science, that prevailed.

Dr. Bain reported that Ms. Eckermann’s injuries were not the result of the car accident, and he was shown to have used reckless pseudo-science in trying to prove this. In independently reviewing the details of the accident as well as Ms. Eckermann’s injuries, Dr. Freeman vehemently refuted Dr. Bain’s assessment, stating that the latter’s claims were “entirely lacking a foundation in science, medicine, or the facts in this case.” He further stated that Dr. Bain’s basis for making his determination was not “scientifically reliable” and even went so far as to refer to Dr. Bain’s methodology as “junk science” several times in his report.

As Dr. Freeman explained, Dr. Bain did not refute Ms. Eckermann’s diagnosis nor supply an alternative theory for her injuries, which obviously left open the question of causality. Dr. Freeman cited several credible studies and provided a number of verifiable charts, graphs, and images to prove the very high likelihood of the accident in question being the cause of Ms. Eckermann’s injuries.

In addition to the reports provided by the experts named above, a radiologist with the American Society of Neuroradiology, came to the conclusion that the vehicle collision Ms. Eckermann endured was the cause of her injuries. In his report of diagnostic imaging, he refuted testimony given by defense counsel’s medical experts who asserted that the crash was not the cause of her injuries. In doing so, he also mentioned a litany of errors made by the defense counsel’s medical witness, including the use of inappropriate terminology, a gross misunderstanding of degenerative anatomical timeframes, and a willful ignorance of Ms. Eckermann’s condition.

In conclusion, the radiologist delivered the defense a fatal blow:

Ms. Eckermann’s herniations all came from some sort of trauma… if the patient had new symptoms that appeared only after the 9/18/12 freeway collision that correlate with the areas of the herniations and bulges, one must conclude, within medical probability, that at least the collision caused a pre-existing asymptomatic condition to become symptomatic and to require surgery, and depending on the symptoms, that the collision caused some or all of the herniations.

A radiologist came to the conclusion that the vehicle collision Ms. Eckermann endured was the cause of her injuries.

The Crosley Approach

As with all of the cases taken by Crosley Law Firm, our experienced, professional staff worked together as a team to conduct research, collect evidence, and depose expert witnesses. We anticipated that the defense would attempt to deceive the jury with unreliable science and speculative assumptions. Our foresight allowed us to counter the defense’s strategy by retaining bona fide experts who rationally explained, step-by-step, exactly what led to the accident and how those actions resulted in Ms. Eckermann’s significant and persistent injuries despite defense counsel’s attempts to disguise the truth.

Carol Eckermann’s case was difficult, but the persistence and hard work of Crosley Law Firm’s entire team eventually prevailed, and she was awarded over $300,000 dollars (case expenses were 19%, attorney fees were 1/3 of the award, and the client net recovery was $148,617) to cover the medical and property costs associated with the car accident, as well as compensation for lost wages. The expert testimony provided to refute the defense’s absurd claims was paramount in this result. Mr. Crosley and our staff were able to relieve Carol of a major burden and provide her not only with much-deserved financial compensation, but also the sense that justice had at long last been served.

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries or property damage in a car accident or other form of personal injury, Crosley Law Firm has the resources and experience you need to get the results you deserve. We offer free consultations, and our “No Fee” policy ensures that you do not pay a dime until we provide you with the justice and financial reward to which you are entitled. Please contact us at (877) 535-4529 or visit our website to learn more about the Crosley Approach and to retain our exemplary legal representation today.

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