CASE STUDY: How Our Medical Illustrations Helped Win a $6.6 Million Verdict

Case Type: Personal Injury

In 2022, a federal jury awarded $6.6 million to a Local 498 Ironworker, Tyler Dahlstrand, who was injured while working at Chrysler’s Belvidere Assembly Plant. Dahlstrand tripped and fell over a piece of unsecured plywood covered by welding blankets in his work area. While twisting to catch himself, he landed on the steel “D-ring” harness strapped to his back, injuring his lumbar spine. The impact resulted in vertebral disc herniation and eventually required surgery.

Midwest Steel employed Dahlstrand at the Chrysler plant, a subsidiary of FCA US LLC. Dahlstrand’s attorneys argued that FCA was essentially working as its own general contractor and was in charge of construction, repairs, and inspection at the plant. Dahlstrand alleged that Chrysler retained control over the work of his employer Midwest Steel, which negligently failed to exercise that control in permitting a concealed piece of plywood to remain in place on the elevated walking surface, causing a tripping hazard for the workers.

After a 10-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Manish S. Shah of the Northern District of Illinois, the jury found in favor of the plaintiff, ruling that Chrysler failed to reasonably inspect the premises and provide safeguards to prevent the injury.

For the trial, our team at ADM created three legal demonstratives that helped showcase Dahlstrand’s story, ultimately leading to the successful verdict.

Mechanism of Injury

A 3D illustration that showed the condition of the floor and where the worker tripped over the hazard. Visualizing the danger and how difficult it was to detect.

Enhanced Radiology

A detailed medical illustration showcasing the injuries caused to Dahlstrand’s spine by the D-ring harness he wore during the accident. By colorizing and labeling the radiology, we see pre-op injury in sharp contrast to the radiology in the corner, which we keep to underscore the veracity of our illustration.

Surgical Summary

Taking the operative report and visualizing it in sequential images from multiple perspectives cuts through the dense verbiage. This step-by-step visual helped the jury understand the extent of the injuries and the surgical details of a complicated medical procedure.

Overall, our medical illustrations played a crucial role in helping to win the $6.6 million verdict for Tyler Dahlstrand. They helped to showcase the story of the incident, the injuries, and the performed surgery clearly and compellingly so the jury could understand. We are proud to have been a part of this case and hope analysis can help more attorneys understand the value of medical illustrations in winning cases.