Orange County Injury Attorney Uses Photos to Get Large Settlement for Client

Orange County personal injury lawyer John P. Burns recently obtained a very large settlement for a client who received spinal injuries in a rear end car accident. The impact to the rear of the client’s car virtually destroyed the client’s car.

The Impact

The impact was severe. The photos of the client’s car show that the impact crushed the trunk of the client’s car. Photos of the interior of the client’s car showed that the force of the impact broke the back of the client’s seat.

The Pain Management Procedure Photos

Attorney John P. Burns went with his client to one of his client’s appointments with the client’s pain management physician. Mr.Burns asked the pain management physician if the physician would have a medical assistant take photos of the epidural injections being given to the client while the client was under anesthesia.

The physician indicated that, as long as the patient provided a written consent, such photos would be taken by an assistant during the procedure.  

On the day of the pain management injections, attorney Burns met his client at the surgery center. When the pain management physician arrived at the facility, Mr. Burns gave the doctor a small digital camera and showed the doctor how to operate it.  Mr. Burns then waited with his client’s wife for the procedure to be completed.

After the procedure was completed, the physician came out to talk to the client’s wife. At that time, the doctor handed the camera back to Mr. Burns and advised that a medical assistant had taken the requested photos.


The Hospital Operating Room Photos

To obtain photos of the low back surgery, performed by a neurosurgeon, Mr. Burns went with his client to one of his client’s appointments with the neurosurgeon and made the same request.  Again a written consent was provided the neurosurgeon.

Mr. Burns went to the surgical appointment at the hospital and again gave the small digital camera to the surgeon when the doctor came to talk to the client and his wife before the patient was taken back for surgery. When the surgeon came out to speak with the client’s wife after the surgery he handed the camera back to Mr. Burns. The surgeon indicated that a medical assistant had taken photos of the surgery being performed and that the photos were on the camera.

The Mediation

At the mediation attorney Burns gave photos of the car crash damage, the pain management needles being injected and the surgery being performed on client’s low back to the mediator. Mr. Burns asked the mediator to give the photos to the defense attorney and the insurance company adjuster, who were in a separate room. The mediator agreed to do so.

The Settlement

After several hours of negotiation, the mediator advised Mr. Burns that the defense attorney and insurance adjuster did not want to have the photos Mr. Burns had produced shown to a jury at trial.  The insurance adjuster then made a call to her supervisor to obtain authority to offer more money than the insurance company had thought would be its highest offer.

The authority was granted and the case settled for an amount in excess of one half a million dollars. The last thing the mediator said to Mr. Burns was “We don’t know how you got those photos but they clearly resulted in a great settlement for your client.”


Like many things in life, you don’t know whether or not someone will give you something you want until you ask for it. If you speak to your client’s physician in a respectful and professional manner, provide a written consent, provide a small and easy to manage digital camera and ask that a medical assistant take the photos the physician may allow such photos to be taken. These photos can be of great value to a client when shown to insurance adjusters in settlement negotiations or shown to a jury at trial.


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