Case details

Crash caused need to work sedentary job, plaintiff alleged




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, cervical, closed head injury, cognition, head, mental, neck, neurological, psychological, radicular pain, radiculitis, thoracic head
On April 10, 2018, plaintiff Sara Moscoso, 43, a restaurant server, was entering the rightmost westbound lane of U.S. Route 101, a five-lane freeway in Los Angeles, when her vehicle’s driver’s side door was struck by a vehicle operated by Rodney Gustafson. Moscoso claimed to her head, neck and back. Moscoso sued Gustafson, alleging that Gustafson was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Moscoso’s counsel contended that, as Moscoso was entering the freeway, Gustafson lost control of his vehicle and swerved from the middle lane into the rightmost lane, where it collided with Moscoso’s vehicle. Gustafson admitted liability for the accident., Moscoso was trapped in her vehicle until the fire department was able to extricate her. She elected not to go to the hospital after the collision, but she later presented to an emergency room with complaints of pain. She claimed that as a result of the accident, she suffered from a closed head injury, lower back pain that radiated down the right side of her leg into her heel, neck pain that radiated into her upper back, left shoulder pain, and bulging cervical discs at the C4-5, C5-6, C6-7 and C7-T1 levels. She also claimed she suffered memory problems and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the crash. Moscoso received epidural steroid injections to her lumbar spine on Feb. 28, 2019 and March 28, 2019. She also received an epidural injection to her cervical spine at the C6-7 level on Jan. 7, 2021. Ultimately, she underwent a lumbar decompression surgery on Aug. 4, 2020. Moscoso claimed that she had good relief after the lumbar surgery. However, she alleged that due to her closed head injury, she had memory problems. She claimed that although her issues were mild, she did have more difficulty remembering things, including customers’ orders when she was waiting tables. Moscoso also claimed she had a mild element of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the collision. Moscoso claimed that she had trouble working as a server because it hurt to walk, and caused pain in her neck and back. She alleged that as a result, she lost five days of work from her job as a server at Uncle Bernie’s Deli and lost four days of work from Blu Jam Café, where she also worked as a server. She claimed that she ultimately had to quit her serving jobs at the two restaurants and that she was off of work for 21 months as she looked for new employment. Moscoso stated that she ultimately had to take a new sedentary job. Moscoso sought recovery of $432,848.71 in medical costs and $107,000 in lost earnings. She also sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. (Her vehicle sustained $11,850.21 worth of property damage, but it was paid for by her own insurance company.) Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Moscoso’s and damages. Counsel contended that Moscoso did not want to go to the emergency room after the collision and that when she did go to the E.R., she only claimed neck and back . Defense counsel also contended that there was no evidence of Moscoso having struck her head in the collision and that the imaging studies showed no evidence of any acute intracranial process. Counsel further contended that after a brief period of physical therapy, Moscoso received no treatment for the next 10 months. Defense counsel maintained that Moscoso had an extremely good memory of numerous events regarding the collision and that Moscoso returned to work soon after the collision. Counsel also maintained that Moscoso continued to work full time until the COVID shutdown.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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