Case details

Defense argued plaintiff’s MRI showed no significant changes





Result type

Not present

back, head, headaches, neck, sensory, speech, tinnitus
On Dec. 21, 2009, plaintiff Eve Samet, 59, an administrative employee for the Los Angeles Unified School District, was at the intersection of Mulholland Highway and Old Topanga Canyon Road, in Calabasas, when her vehicle was sideswiped by a vehicle operated by Christine Picker. Samet claimed to her neck and back. No police report was taken and no emergency personnel arrived at the scene. However, it was determined that damage to Samet’s vehicle was located in the area of the front, passenger wheel well and that damage to Picker’s vehicle was located on the driver’s side’s front corner. Samet sued Picker. Samet alleged that she was stopped on Old Topanga Canyon Road when Picker struck her. Thus, she claimed Picker was negligent in the operation of her motor vehicle. Picker claimed she was almost stopped on Old Topanga Canyon Road when her right tire struck a piece of curb that had broken off from a concrete slab, which caused her to sideswipe Samet’s vehicle. Thus, Picker stipulated to liability at the time of trial., On Jan. 13, 2010, almost a month after the accident, Samet presented for medical care with complaints of to her neck with radiating pain to both shoulders, left wrist, her entire back, and her hips. She also complained of headaches and ringing in her ears. Samet claimed the accident caused soft-tissue to her neck and back, as well as caused a flare-up of her ulcerative colitis, which had been in remission for 20 years. She subsequently started physical therapy on Jan. 22, 2010, and ultimately underwent 11 physical therapy visits from February 2010 to June 2010. On her first visit with an orthopedic surgeon on Feb. 25, 2010, she mentioned the aggravation to her UC condition. Samet claimed that she was very active prior to the collision, but that she can no longer walk, bike or dance. She also claimed that she was able to use the treadmill before, but that now she cannot, since she can only walk for 20 minutes at a time. In addition, she claimed that she can no longer sit or stand for long periods of time and that she can no longer hold her granddaughter. In addition, Samet claimed that although she went on a cruise at the end of December 2009, she was supposed to visit her son for Spring Break in 2010, but that she could not travel due to her UC condition. Her husband also testified about how Samet’s UC condition flared up again and caused problems. The plaintiff’s treating physician testified that Samet was not a surgical candidate. Thus, Samet sought recovery of over $13,000 in total damages for her medical costs and pain and suffering. Defense counsel did not dispute that Samet had treatment, but argued that only some of the treatment was reasonable and necessary. Counsel contended that reasonable care would have only been up through June 2010. The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon testified that his reviews of Samet’s MRI did not yield any type of significant condition that would warrant lasting care, injections or surgery. Thus, he opined that eight to 10 physical therapy visits would have been normal, but that Samet took longer to have the physical therapy. The defense’s expert also reviewed, and disputed, the radiologist’s determination, which the plaintiff’s treating physician relied on for his testimony.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Chatsworth, CA

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