Case details

Bus collision caused neck and back injuries, plaintiff claimed





Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, cervical, lumbar, neck, stenosis
On Nov. 18, 2016, plaintiff Salwa Girgis, 60, a cafeteria worker, was slowing for a yellow traffic signal at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Washington Place, in Culver City, when her vehicle was rear-ended by a Culver City bus operated by Davida McCrary. Girgis claimed to her neck and back. Girgis sued McCrary and McCrary’s employer, the city of Culver City. Girgis alleged that McCrary was negligent in the operation of the bus and that the city was vicariously liable for McCrary’s actions. The defendants admitted liability for the accident during trial., Girgis claimed that she suffered from a bulging lumbar disc at the L5-S1 level and bulging cervical discs with spinal stenosis as a result of the collision. She was taken by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Marina Del Rey Hospital, where she was treated and released. Over the next two weeks, she saw her primary care physician once and returned to the hospital for a single visit. Girgis then underwent substantial conservative treatment, including treatment with a physician, chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, epidural injections, pain management and orthopedic care. Girgis continues to work, but she claimed that it was made more difficult due to her and ongoing symptomology. She also claimed that she will eventually require a four-level cervical discectomy and fusion, costing $200,000, and future lumbar injections, costing about $85,000. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award $906,969 in total damages for Girgis’ future medical costs, and past and future pain and suffering. Girgis’ accident-reconstruction expert was precluded from testifying, and the court only allowed limited testimony from the Girgis’ biomechanics expert about biomechanics in general, but not on case-specific hearsay. Defense counsel noted that Girgis treated with her primary care physician several times between Dec. 2, 2016, and May 11, 2017, but that Girgis never complained of any neck or back pain, problems with her hands and arms, or difficulty walking. Counsel also noted that Girgis saw her attorney on May 10, 2017, and Girgis began treating with an attorney-referred chiropractor four days later. Counsel further noted that, after treating with the chiropractor, Girgis saw two spinal surgeons and one pain management physician, during which time one doctor injected Girgis’ neck on a single occasion. Defense counsel contended that for several years before the accident, Girgis complained to her internist about neck arthritis, back pain, difficulty walking, and numbness and tingling in the hand. However, Girgis denied making those complaints during her answers to interrogatories and deposition. Defense counsel argued that Girgis only sustained minor neck and back as a result of the subject accident and that Girgis’ alleged resolved after a few weeks or a couple months. Counsel also argued that the six-month gap in treatment (between December 2016 and May 2017) meant that Girgis’ attorneys, not her physicians, encouraged Girgis to seek overblown and unnecessary treatment.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Torrance, CA

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