Ken Turek attended TLC in 1998 and has been on the TLC Faculty since 1999. Earlier this year, TLC alum Howard Kitay asked Ken to help on the case of Dan Bean, a 42-year-old man who was rear-ended at a light. After the collision, Dan was treated intermittently for neck pain for two and a half years, but was then struck again in a more violent rear-end collision. Within a year he underwent a C3-4 neck fusion and recovered very well. The second collision had been earlier settled for $15,000 policy limits and the case was going to trial against the first driver in a couple months. The experts disagreed on what injuries were caused by the crashes but both sides saw no future medicals or loss of earnings. The first drivers counsel offered $70,000 and never went higher.
Ken began his work by spending time with Dan and his doctors, family and friends in an effort to understand Dan and how the injury affected him. In preparing for trial, fellow TLC Faculty Member Ben Bunn (TLC 97) helped Ken by conducting a session for Ken to explore his own fears of inadequacy and loss as well as to discover Dans story. Ken continued to work with Dan until he was comfortable reversing into him to truly experience Dans fears of being less valuable in the workplace, being less able to take care of his aging mother and losing the camaraderie he had through participating in extreme sports with lifelong friends.
Ken also did his medical homework and had Ben critique a first run-through of his opening.
I was acting like a lawyer, not a person, and didnt tell the story very well, so we worked on it and it got better, Ken says.
He and his co-counsel Vickie Ross then spent the four Saturday mornings before trial with focus groups working on discovering the story and running through Voir Dire, Opening and Direct and Cross of Dan.
During trial, Ken showed his mine first in Voir Dire on personal injury cases and money, pain and suffering damages and feeling for a driver who makes a mistake. His Opening told a story this time, using scene setting, the present tense and all five senses. Direct of Dan and others took the jury to treatment rooms, sport fields, job sites and to Dan alone at home. Kens crosses came in part from the third chair, and in Closing Ken stepped into first person as Dan, the other driver and Dans spine.
The jury was out a day after a five-day trial, found liability and awarded Dan $1,271,594 ($126,594 in past medical expenses and $1,145,000 in pain and suffering, of which $850,000 was for future damages). The verdict was greater than Howards earlier statutory demand, so with costs and prejudgment interest, the result was over $1.4 million.
Ken says, This was a pure TLC win.
Ben summed it up, saying, Everyone should know Ken immersed himself into Dan Beans life in an amazing and powerful way. Using TLC methods requires extreme commitment, dedication and love. Ken was a model for all these things. As a result, Dan grew to trust Ken and Vickie and together they were able to trust this jury. The jury cared about Dan and Ken and wanted to do the right thing. It was really beautiful.