Case details

Collision aggravated prior back injury, plaintiff claimed





Result type

Not present

back, chiropractic pain, forehead
On Sept. 26, 2012, plaintiff Benjamin Amir Jahanbani, 35, a car sales manager, was driving in the number two lane of southbound Valley Circle Boulevard, in Woodland Hills, when he moved into the number one (far left) lane behind a vehicle operated by Alec Sugar. After Jahanbani entering the number one lane, Sugar attempted a U-turn. As a result, the front of Jahanbani’s vehicle collided with Sugar’s turning vehicle. Jahanbani suffered a laceration to his forehead and he claimed he injured his back. Jahanbani sued Alec Sugar and the co-owner of the vehicle, Carole Sugar. Jahanbani alleged that Mr. Sugar was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Ms. Sugar was vicariously liable for Mr. Sugar’s actions. Jahanbani claimed that he had just changed lanes from the number two lane into the number one lane, behind Mr. Sugar, when Mr. Sugar made an illegal U-turn from the number one lane, causing the collision. Mr. Sugar claimed that he made a U-turn from the median, not a lane. Thus, he claimed that Jahanbani caused the crash by speeding and driving recklessly. Defense counsel presented a sub rosa video that depicted Jahanbani driving fast and continually changing lanes a few weeks before trial. Counsel argued that the video showed that Jahanbani had a pattern of driving erratically and fast, as Jahanbani did on the night of the collision., Jahanbani sustained a two-inch gash to his forehead. He also claimed the collision aggravated a prior back injury, which he originally sustained in 2007. Jahanbani was subsequently taken by a family member to a hospital on the day of the crash. He then treated his back condition with chiropractic care and pain management through the use of epidural injections. Jahanbani’s chiropractic care commenced two days after the crash and continued through May 3, 2013. He then received his first epidural injection on May 16, 2013, after which he reported 80 percent relief until Feb. 5, 2014. As a result, he received a second epidural injection on Feb. 7, 2014, after which he reported 50 percent relief. He then treated with a third epidural on Feb. 13, 2014, after which he reported significant improvement. For eight months, Jahanbani underwent no treatment. However, when his back went out in mid-October 2014, he treated with two more epidural injections: one on Oct. 29, 2014, and one on Nov. 6, 2014. His last reported doctor visit was on Feb. 25, 2015, during which he complained of leg weakness. Jahanbani claimed that he will require ongoing treatment, as his pain returns and due to his leg weakness. He also claimed that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the collision. Thus, Jahanbani sought recovery for his past and future medical costs, loss of vehicle use, and past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that Jahanbani’s were a natural progression of his underlying, pre-existing condition. Counsel contended that Jahanbani’s December 2012 MRI of his back, performed three months after the September 2012 collision was identical to his MRI from 2007. Counsel also contended that Jahanbani’s MRI from December 2014, which showed a herniation, reflected pathology from an unrelated accident that happened a few months prior to the December 2014 MRI and was unrelated to the collision on Sept. 26, 2012. In addition, defense counsel again pointed the sub rosa video, which depicted Jahanbani driving fast and continually changing lanes, and argued that it contrasted with Jahanbani’s claim of developing a fear of driving after the September 2012 collision.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Santa Monica, CA

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