Case details

Defense claimed ankle fracture not caused by collision





Result type

Not present

ankle, back, cervical, cervical malleolus, fracture, neck, sprain, strain, thoracic
On June 23, 2016, plaintiff Elena Medina, 51, a florist, was driving on Pacific Coast Highway, in Wilmington, when her sport utility vehicle was broadsided by a vehicle operated by Karla Espinoza. There were no witnesses to the accident. Medina claimed to her right ankle, neck, shoulder, hips, and middle and lower back. Medina sued Espinoza, alleging that Espinoza was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Since Medina was underinsured, the case was brought under California Proposition 213, which prevents uninsured or underinsured drivers from obtaining pain and suffering damages, even if the accident was not their fault. Medina claimed that Espinoza made a left turn from a side street and struck the side of her SUV. Espinoza disputed liability based on the vehicle damage. She claimed both vehicles were already on southbound Pacific Coast Highway when Medina merged into her vehicle., Medina, who had fractured her right ankle in a fall 12 years prior, claimed that the subject crash aggravated her ankle and caused another fracture. She also claimed soft-tissue to her neck, shoulder, hips, and middle and lower back. On Oct. 4, 2016, Medina underwent a CT study, which was ordered by her treating orthopedist. Based on the study, the plaintiff’s treating orthopedist diagnosed a non-displaced fracture of the right medial malleolus and recommended a CAM boot to rest Medina’s ankle. The treater also discussed the possibility of a bone stimulator, if Medina remained symptomatic. Medina was also diagnosed with sprains and strains of her cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, and she received a series of epidural injections to her lower back. Medina sought recovery of $20,758.19 in past medical costs and $4,623.09 in property damage for her 1999 Ford Explorer. Defense counsel noted that no ankle fractures were seen on X-rays of Medina’s right foot taken one day after the accident, on June 24, 2016, and again on Aug. 23, 2016. Counsel also contended that signs of the fracture did not show up until the October 2016 CT scan, which was three months after the subject accident. Based on the when the fracture was first mentioned in medical records, defense counsel asserted that the ankle fracture was not due to the subject accident.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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