Case details

Defense claimed crash caused by plaintiff’s unsafe left turn





Result type

Not present

back, facet syndrome, knee, knees, lower back, lumbar, neck, neurological, patellofemoral pain syndrome, reflex sympathetic, strain
On May 11, 2011, plaintiff Gail Schwartz, 53, a sales manager, was driving on southbound Sunset Valley Road, in Moorpark, when he slowed down to prepare for a left turn into a business driveway. At approximately 1:45 p.m., Schwartz was struck by a vehicle operated by Kulwinder Kaur, who was traveling north on Sunset Valley Road. Both vehicles were totaled in the accident, and Schwartz claimed to her neck, lower back, and both knees. Schwartz sued Kaur and the owner of Kaur’s vehicle, Maninder Pal Singh Lobana. Schwartz alleged that Kaur was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that Lobana was vicariously liable for Lobana’s actions. Lobana was ultimately dismissed from the case prior to trial. Schwartz claimed that while she was slowing down to prepare for a left turn into a business driveway, Kaur, who was traveling in the opposite direction, crossed over the center divider, causing her to take evasive action and turn left to avoid a collision. However, she claimed she was unable to avoid the impact. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that the area of impact noted in the California Highway Patrol report supported Schwartz’s allegation that Kaur crossed over the center divider before the impact. Kaur disputed liability, contending that the area of impact noted in the CHP report was inaccurate. Kaur claimed that Schwartz was already in the process of her left turn at the time of the accident. Thus, defense counsel argued that Schwartz failed to yield the right of way by attempting the turn when it was unsafe to do so., Schwartz was taken by ambulance to an emergency room. She claimed she developed bilateral knee patellofemoral pain syndrome and patellar tendinitis as a result of her knees hitting the dashboard. She also claimed she sustained a lumbosacral musculoligamentous strain and developed cervical facet syndrome as a result of the impact. Schwartz was ultimately diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome, also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy or causalgia, a chronic pain condition, of her lower left leg. On Jan. 16, 2012, Schwartz underwent arthroscopic surgery on her right knee. She then underwent three arthroscopies on her left knee on May 3, 2012, Oct. 8, 2012, and Feb. 11, 2013. In addition, Schwartz received seven injection procedures, consisting of epidural steroid injections at C6-7, C7-T1, L3-4 and L4-5; facet and medial branch block injections at L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1; radio frequency neurotomy at L3, L4 and L5; sympathetic block injections at L2, L3 and L4; and left femoral nerve block/lumbar sympathetic block injections. All surgeries and injections were performed at Valencia Surgical Center, inSanta Clarita. Schwartz alleged that she was off of work for nine months following the accident. She also alleged that she had worked out on a regular basis at Gold’s Gym prior to the accident and previously worked there as a personal trainer. However, Schwartz claimed that due to her condition, she can no longer exercise on a regular basis. Schwartz claimed that the CRPS will cause her lifetime pain and that she continues to use a brace on her left knee and a cane to ambulate. She also claimed that as a result of her continued pain, she continues to treat with a pain management specialist, who recommended that she undergo future surgery consisting of a surgical sympathectomy. Thus, Schwartz sought recovery of $285,343.68 in past medical costs and $2,452,800 in damages for her pain and suffering. She also sought recovery for her future medical costs, but waived her loss of earnings claim. Defense counsel contested the extent of claimed by Schwartz and contended that the great majority of Schwartz’s medical treatment was not necessary or reasonable. The defense’s orthopedic expert testified that Schwartz’s four knee surgeries were not necessary or reasonable, and that focused physical therapy could have corrected Schwartz’s knee complaints. The defense’s neurological expert testified that seven pain injection procedures were not necessary or reasonable. The neurologist also disputed the diagnosis of CRPS of the left lower leg.
Superior Court of Ventura County, Ventura, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case