Case details

Collision with turning car caused lumbar injuries, plaintiff claimed





Result type

Not present

back, fusion, herniated disc, lower back, lumbar, neurological, radiculopathy
On July 9, 2011, plaintiff Michael Szabadi, 26, a counter clerk in the Seafood Department at Whole Foods, was driving a Mazda RX4 on westbound Campbell Avenue, in Campbell, when he was struck by a Lexus RX 300, which was traveling in the opposite direction when it attempted a left turn in front of him. Szabadi claimed he injured his lower back in the accident. Szabadi sued the operator of the Lexus, Jodi Seip Otwalt. Szabadi alleged that Otwalt was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Specifically, Szabadi claimed that Otwalt was traveling in the opposite direction when she reached the entrance to a shopping center and then turned into his path of travel, thus causing the collision., Szabadi claimed he suffered an injury to his lower back, resulting in radiating pain into his right leg. He was not treated at the scene or taken by ambulance to a hospital, but later presented to his treating orthopedic surgeon. Szabadi was diagnosed with right-sided herniated discs at the L4-5 and L5-S1 levels, resulting in lumbar radiculopathy. He ultimately underwent a lumbar discectomy and, later, a lumbar fusion. Szabadi claimed he missed time from work as a result of his injury and surgeries. Thus, he sought recovery of $327,895 in past medical costs and $135,909.50 in past loss of wages. He also sought recovery for his pain and suffering. Defense counsel contended that Szabadi’s lumbar condition was caused by pre-existing degenerative disc disease at the L4-5 and L5-S1 levels. Counsel also contended that Szabadi had pre-existing lower back problems, including a back injury from a fall at work two months before the collision, and that Szabadi had previously treated with a chiropractor for some years before the accident. Thus, defense counsel asserted that Szabadi’s lumbar condition was not caused by the accident. In addition, the defense’s medical experts would have testified that due to Szabadi’s pre-existing condition, he would have required surgical intervention at some point, regardless of the motor vehicle accident.
Superior Court of Santa Clara County, Santa Clara, CA

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