MINNESOTA PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS: HOW TO DIAGNOSE & PROVE LIGAMENT INJURIES OF THE CERVICAL SPINE – EXCERPT
This article is an excerpt from a soon-to-be-released handbook, titled HANDBOOK FOR DIAGNOSIS AND PROOF OF LIGAMENTOUS INJURIES OF THE CERVICAL SPINE. The author is Schmidt Salita Law Team’s senior attorney, Doug Schmidt, an expert personal injury lawyer with over 40 years’ experience in handling neck and back injuries resulting from CAD (Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration) or “whiplash trauma.” The introduction of Doug’s handbook says this:
A large percentage of personal injuries involve injuries to the human spine, the neck and back. Many of those injuries involve damage to the ligaments of the spine which cannot be objectively determined with normal X-rays, MRIs or CT scans. They often are overlooked as minor “soft tissue” injuries that insurance companies value at $20,000.00 when they actually are serious, permanently disabling injuries which can cause significant accelerated degeneration of the spine that can be objectively proven by the “Golden Triangle” of Digital Motion X-ray, Computerized Mensuration Analysis and Upright MRIs.
Personal injury lawyers owe it to their clients and to their dedication to bring justice to injury victims to pursue the full and accurate diagnosis of these ligamentous injuries. This Handbook is dedicated to that purpose.
Digital Motion X-ray (DMX) is an “X-ray movie” showing X-ray images of the movement of the human body in motion. DMX, when used to assess for ligament damage in the cervical spine, is one of the greatest medical developments in my 40-year career as a personal injury lawyer.
Computerized Radiological Mensuration Analysis (CRMA) can then be used to precisely measure the amount of ligamentous laxity and, thus, ligamentous injury and damage.
Digital Motion X-ray, combined with CRMA technology and the usage of an Upright MRI forms the “Golden Triangle” that provides valuable and reliable objective proof of ligamentous injuries of the cervical spine.
Acceleration/Deceleration Injuries (CAD or “Whiplash”) are estimated to produce 3 million injuries per year. For many years, ligamentous injury has been at the core of most Cervical Acceleration/ Deceleration injuries (CAD).
However, until recently there was no objective proof of the ligamentous injuries. DMX now provides that proof.
This science is firmly recognized in respected medical literature, i.e., that whiplash injury to cervical ligaments causes spinal instability, which is recognized as Alteration of Motion Segment Integrity (AOMI). This concept is well- respected in medical research and literature, but poorly recognized in the everyday practice of the general medical community.
For the first part of my legal career as a personal injury Attorney, we didn’t have MRIs – and, in turn, no objective proof of disc injuries. Without that objective proof, many victims of personal injury were dismissed by the medical community as “complainers.” They were told to just “grin and bear it.” They received minimal compensation for their injuries.
Later, when I started seeing MRI scans proving the existence of disc injuries, I was saddened to think of all of those past clients who didn’t get justice because they couldn’t prove their disc injury. The same is now true for ligamentous injuries that were actually seriously disabilities that were overlooked because of the absence of this new technology.
Digital Motion X-rays now can objectively prove injury to the ligaments that are so important in maintaining structural integrity to the human spine. I am now seeing case after case where my clients’ ligamentous injuries are now being objectively proven. I can’t help but reflect on all the victims of whiplash injuries that haven’t received the justice they deserved because there was no objective proof of ligamentous injuries.
Now, the good news!!! This combination of technology has come together as one of the biggest single medical advancements of my 40+ year legal career!!!
The ‘Golden Triangle’ now provides objective proof of ligamentous injury and the devastating consequences of the accelerated degeneration that follows:
- Digital Motion X-ray (DMX);
- Computerized Radiographic Mensuration Analysis (CRMA); and
- Multi-positional MRI.
Nearly 100% of the DMX’s that have been performed on my clients have revealed objective proof of ligamentous laxity. (Note: These cases have been carefully selected, i.e., the majority being clients with significant symptoms that are resistant to conventional treatment modalities and that last more than 1 year after the motor vehicle collision.)
Another remarkable development has ensued. It has been well established in the medical literature for many years that flexion-extension trauma results in accelerated degeneration of the spine, including the intervertebral discs. Until recently, that has only been a theoretical concept based on clinical observations. Recently, we have ‘circled back’ and sent a number of our clients with objectively documented Alteration of Motion Segment Integrity back for repeat MRIs. The results have been astounding, showing clear proof of shockingly accelerated degeneration of the intervertebral discs in a matter of just a few years. [See Appendices A and B for case examples.]
The evidence that DMX videos provide in the court room setting is also amazing. In the very first case in which DMX was introduced as evidence in a court trial, the jury was obviously fascinated. They ‘scooched’ forward in their seats, craned their necks forward, and stared ‘buggy-eyed’ at the screen as the DMX film played out. The result was a jury verdict of $743,188.95, in a case where the last formal offer before trial was only $10,000.00. [See Appendix C for a copy of the jury verdict in that case.]
DMX is an amazing technological development. It is well recognized and respected in the medical literature – but the vast majority of the medical community has virtually no knowledge of it. It has been accepted as reliable evidence in court in a number of cases. The courts and arbitrators have accepted DMX/CRMA in over one hundred cases where the Schmidt Salita Law Team has represented the victim without a single case where the evidence has been rejected.
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