Case Study: The Power of Accident-Reenactment Video in the Case of an Injured Fetus

A long-running suit filed by a mother whose unborn child was injured when the car she was driving collided with a truck has reached a conclusion with a precedent-setting $3.75 million settlement.

What made her case so compelling – and what we at MotionLit and her attorney, Joseph Barrett, believe made the payout so great – was the graphic animation of the crash, from mapping out the intersection to depicting the impact of the car’s airbag exploding on the mother and 17-week-old fetus.

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The expectant mother, a Los Angeles resident, was driving through a suburban intersection when her car was hit by a large cement truck that ran a red light. Despite her injuries from the 2014 crash, she continued to carry the baby but gave birth prematurely. The child, now 7, has experienced delays in speech and motor skills, as compared to the mother’s older children, and he has suffered from seizures since birth.

The identities of the mother and child are confidential under the terms of the settlement, as is the name of the defendant, a trucking company.

The video illustrates how the mother drives through the intersection and her car comes into contact with the left-turning truck from several perspectives – from a bird’s-eye view, at eye level, from the mother’s point of view, and from the side as mother and child are injured from the crash and resulting airbag deployment.

Creating such a detailed video required designating myriad experts, including medical illustrators, a neurologist, a mechanical engineer, a pediatric neuroradiologist, and a biomechanical expert who laid down the scientific foundation. The science behind the animation established the precise physics, the measurements and the anatomical integrity, which ultimately helped surmount the incredible challenges in scaling the fetus correctly, depicting the speeds of the vehicles accurately and representing the impact of the crash to the unborn baby.

Under the creative direction of our team, the analytical data was integrated with the high-quality 3D animation to provide that critical emotional “wince factor” that moved this case toward a favorable settlement for mother and child.

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