Case details

Collision with uninsured driver caused lower back pain: claimant





Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, fusion, lumbar
On Feb. 15, 2012, claimant Spartak Ghazaryan, a man in his 40s, was driving in California when his vehicle was broadsided by a vehicle operated by an uninsured motorist, who fled the scene. Two other people were passengers in the vehicle with Ghazaryan. A police investigation confirmed that the accident was a hit and run. Ghazaryan claimed to his lower back. Ghazaryan and his two passengers sought recovery via the supplementary-uninsured-motorist provision of his own insurance policy, which was administered by Mercury Insurance Group. The two passengers settled with Mercury. However, after negotiations regarding Ghazaryan’s claims failed, the matter went to an uninsured-motorist arbitration, pursuant to the insurance code., Ghazaryan initially claimed to his neck, lower back, a shoulder, and a knee as a result of the accident, but the arbitration only addressed the lower back claims. After the accident, Ghazaryan underwent an MRI, which revealed bulging lumbar discs. He first treated with conservative treatment, including physical therapy and three epidural injections to his lower back. Ghazaryan claimed that the injections provided some relief, but that he still had debilitating pain. He then underwent a lumbar fusion. Ghazaryan testified that he had not had any lower back discomfort or pain before the subject accident. However, he claimed that he now continues to have persistent pain to his lower back despite the fusion and that he may possibly require another surgery. Ghazaryan sought recovery of $26,940 in past medical costs, $60,000 in future medical costs and an unspecified amount for the damage to his vehicle. He also sought recovery of non-economic damages for his past and future pain and suffering. The respondent’s counsel argued that Ghazaryan’s lower back complaints were due to degenerative conditions that pre-existed the accident. Counsel also contended that during Ghazaryan’s initial treatment, he never mentioned any lower back problems or physical limitations and that none of Ghazaryan’s physical exams revealed any back problems. Counsel further noted that the MRI of Ghazaryan’s lower back, which allegedly revealed the bulging discs, was performed long after the accident. The respondent’s expert orthopedic surgeon testified that during his examination of Ghazaryan, he found no orthopedic or neurological deficits, nor anything that would require spinal surgery. The expert also opined that Ghazaryan’s epidural injections were unreasonable.
JAMS, Orange County, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case